Under Two Flags (novel)
In financial distress because of his own profligacy and the loss of an important horse-race on which he has bet extensively, and falsely accused of forgery, but unable to defend himself against the charge without injuring the "honour" of a lady and also exposing his younger brother (the real culprit), Cecil fakes his own death and exiles himself to Algeria where he joins the Chasseurs d'Afrique, a regiment comprising soldiers from various countries, rather like the French Foreign Legion.
After Cecil's great childhood friend and the friend's beautiful sister show up in Africa, and after a series of melodramatic self-sacrifices by Cecil and by the young girl Cigarette, a "child of the Army" who sacrifices her life saving Cecil from a firing squad, the main conflicts are resolved and the surviving characters return to England to fortune, title, and love.
The book has also served as a basis for a number of stage and film adaptations.
- Under Two Flags, a 1901 Broadway play by Paul M. Potter that ran for 135 performances at the Garden Theatre, starring Blanche Bates and Maclyn Arbuckle, staged (directed) by David Belasco, and produced by Charles Frohman.
- Under Two Flags (1912 film), a 1912 film
- Under Two Flags (1916 film), a 1916 film starring Theda Bara
- Under Two Flags (1922 film), a 1922 film directed by Tod Browning
- Under Two Flags (1936 film), featuring Ronald Colman, Claudette Colbert, Victor McLaglen and Rosalind Russell
Classics Illustrated # 86 Under Two Flags is an excellent adaptation with outstanding comic art by Maurice del Bourgo.
- The Forgotten Female Aesthetes: Literary Culture in Late-Victorian England, by Talia. Schaffer; pp. x + 298. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press
- Mantle, Burns, and Garrison P. Sherwood, eds., The Best Plays of 1899-1909, (Philadelphia: The Blakiston Company), 1944, pp. 387-388.
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