‘Sahara‘ is a 1943 World War 2 film directed by Zoltán Korda who also co-wrote the script with John Howard Lawson. The film was made by Columbian Pictures and based on the novel ‘Patrol‘ written by Philip MacDonald with elements from the Soviet propaganda film ‘Thirteen.’ I have not read the novel nor seen the Russian movie, so I will focus on this movie specifically.
Sgt. Joe Gunn (Humphrey Bogart) and his tank crew Waco Hoyt (Bruce Bennett) and Jimmy Doyle (Dan Duryea) get separated from their unit after the fall of Tobruk, but they are given general withdrawal orders over the radio. They run into British medical officer Captain Jason Halliday (Richard Aherne), French Corporal Leroux (Louis Mercier), and others in their unit who survived their base being bombed. Halliday decides to give command to Gunn since he is a soldier, not a medic. They encounter Sudanese Sergeant Major Tambul (Rex Ingram) and his Italian mechanic prisoner, Giuseppe (J. Carrol Naish) before shooting down the Nazi pilot von Schletow (Kurt Kreuger) who kills one of their men. The group decides to travel to an abandoned fort where a well is located. Though they find the fort’s well, it is almost depleted, but trouble looms. A Nazi regiment is heading their way and the men must decide whether to fight or flee.
Humphrey Bogart is an amazing actor and it truly shows in this movie. He is spectacular as Gunn and definitely is convincing as a soldier trying to keep his men alive. I also enjoyed Rex Ingram’s role in the movie. He was excellent and I applaud his acting skills. The rest of the cast is superb as well and I liked watching them as they performed on screen.
The story is also good. A lot of war films try to glamorize the violence of war, but this film does not. It manages to show heroism while also showing the reality of war. It was not needlessly gory, but it definitely showed how war is a tragedy and there are nuances to the decisions that are made in war. This film highlights this.
In particular, there is a scene where the Nazi pilot is arguing with his fellow prisoner, the Italian mechanic. The two have a short, but enthralling scene where they debate their country’s role in the war. It was poignant and showed just how evil the ideologies of the Axis Powers were. It was one of the most notable scenes in the movie.
One of the other things I liked was that the movie did not try to prolong its story. It did not add unnecessary scenes or story arcs, but kept it tight and focused on the Allied soldiers trying to stay alive in a desperate situation. This only enriched the film and made it more watchable.
Bottom line, Sahara is a fantastic film that captures the tragedy of war but also highlights the heroism of the World War 2 soldiers thanks to powerful performances by the actors.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: War violence, Disturbing elements
FAVORITE QUOTE: You heard my offer. Water for guns.
Check out the trailer below:
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