The Last Outpost (1935 film)

The Last Outpost is a 1935 American adventure film directed by Charles Barton and Louis J. Gasnier and written by Charles Brackett, Frank Partos and Philip MacDonald. It is based on F. Britten Austin's novel The Drum. The film stars Cary Grant, Claude Rains, Gertrude Michael, Kathleen Burke, Colin Tapley, Margaret Swope and Billy Bevan. The film was released on October 11, 1935, by Paramount Pictures.[1][2]

The Last Outpost
Directed byCharles Barton
Louis J. Gasnier
Produced byE. Lloyd Sheldon
Screenplay byCharles Brackett
Frank Partos
Philip MacDonald
StarringCary Grant
Claude Rains
Gertrude Michael
Kathleen Burke
Colin Tapley
Billy Bevan
CinematographyTheodor Sparkuhl
Edited byJack Dennis
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 11, 1935 (1935-10-11)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States


In Kurdistan during World War I, Michael Andrews (Cary Grant) is a British officer captured by Kurds, imprisoned, and awaiting execution. The local Turkish commander (Claude Rains) helps Andrews escape and confides that he is a British intelligence officer (initially "Smith," later named as John Stevenson) in disguise. The two set out to warn friendly villagers of a pending Kurdish attack. After a difficult river crossing, and after Andrews flirts with a married tribal woman, Stevenson returns to espionage. Andrews, who has hurt his leg, goes to Cairo for medical treatment. There, Andrews falls in love with his nurse, Rosemary Haydon (Gertrude Michael), who ultimately refuses Andrews by saying she's secretly married to an unnamed man she'd known briefly a few years before.

Andrews transfers to the Sudan, where his patrol takes over a fort after finding that its troops had been massacred. Meanwhile Stevenson goes back to Haydon—revealed as his wife—who confesses her love for Andrews. Stevenson requests a transfer to the Sudan to confront Andrews. Shortly after Stevenson reaches the fort, thousands of African tribesman attack it. Realizing that a handful of men can't hold the fort, Andrews, Stevenson, and their troops set out over sand dunes and eventually enter the jungle with the tribesmen in hot pursuit. British troops appear out of nowhere, deus ex machina, defeat the tribesmen, and rescue Andrews. Stevenson, mortally wounded in the battle, dies a hero's death, presumably leaving Andrews free to marry widow Haydon.



Nomadic footage

The Last Outpost borrows stock footage from earlier productions, notably Merian C. Cooper's 1925 silent ethnographic documentary Grass—A Nation's Battle for Life. The spectacular river-crossing and mountain-climbing scenes are a genuine record, filmed by Cooper, of traditional Bakhtiari migrations in Iran.

Critical response

Writing for The Spectator in 1935, Graham Greene gave a mixed review, describing the first half-hour of the film as "remarkably good" and the remaining 40 minutes as "quite abysmally bad". Greene praised the direction and camerawork of the first part as employing a "fine vigour to present a subject which could not have been presented on the stage", and he praised the acting of both Rains and Grant. The second part of the film (after Grant's character descends the mountain pass to Cairo and Rain's character returns to fight the Kurds) Greene described as "padded out [...] by the addition of a more than usually stupid triangular melodrama of jealousy and last-minute rescue".[3]


  1. F.S.N. (1935-10-05). "Movie Review - The Last Outpost - At the Paramount". Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  2. "The Last Outpost (1935) - Overview". 1935-10-04. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  3. Greene, Graham (24 November 1935). "The Last Outpost". The Spectator. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. pp. 37–38. ISBN 0192812866.)

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