Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness, suspicion and cameraderie. The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on ... See full summary »
A World War I British Army patrol is crossing the Mesopotomian desert when their commanding officer, the only one who knows their destination is killed by the bullet of unseen bandits. The patrol's sergeant keeps them heading north on the assumption that they will hit their brigade. They stop for the night at an oasis and awake the next morning to find their horses stolen, their sentry dead, the oasis surrounded and survival difficult. Written by
Erik Gregersen <email@example.com>
The release of the almost complete version on DVD allows viewers to compare it with the edited 1949 re-release. Eliminated in the shorter version is an early shot of Boris Karloff with a book of poetry about the desert, Paul Hanson's reminiscing about J.M. Kerrigan's and Alan Hale's earlier days in the service, and Victor McLaglen and Wallace Ford sharing cigarettes and recalling their wives and sweethearts. Apparently, a boxing match between Hale and Sammy Stein immediately following the death of Billy Bevan, before they all draw lots, is still missing. See more »
As the plane is circling the encampment, you can see tire marks in the sand. See more »
[after telling the Sergeant that Brown has left]
He wrote something in my Bible... for you.
Deserted, hunh? Insubordinate swine! Bilged out! Left us like a rat when we needed every man! Why didn't you tell me? You're a party to this, you know! Well, get your rifle and get out of here. You take his place.
[With a crazed look in his eyes]
Yes, Yes, that's it, Sergeant! Yes!
[Reading Brown's note]
'Sorry, Sergeant, but Quincannon was right. He knocked one off for Jock. I'll get another for Matlow. ...
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The second film version of an archetypal adventure story is arguably the best despite some dated elements; John Ford deftly handles the proceedings and Max Steiner's stirring score - which at times foreshadows his later one for CASABLANCA (1942) - is a major asset. The solid cast of character actors is highlighted by Boris Karloff's remarkable turn as a religious fanatic who is slowly driven crazy by the amorality of his comrades and the futility of their struggle against unseen Arab attackers. The film can not only be seen to form part of the "British Empire" sub-genre of adventure films - with THE LIVES OF A BENGAL LANCER (1935), THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (1936), THE FOUR FEATHERS (1939) and GUNGA DIN (1939) being its most notable contemporary examples - but, if one were to stretch it a bit, also paves the way for more modern stuff like John Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976). It's unfortunate that nowadays, only the 66-minute reissue version seems to be available rather than the original, full-length 74 minute version. Over 20 years ago, I missed my one opportunity to watch this one on Italian TV and have been on the lookout for it ever since; however, I did manage to catch two similarly-themed wartime actioners, BATAAN (1943; with Robert Taylor) and SAHARA (1943; with Humphrey Bogart) over the years which were quite good in their own right. Curiously enough, Cyril McLaglen had played the same part played here by his brother Victor in the earlier 1929 British film version.
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