Sundown (1941)

Approved  |   |  War, Drama  |  31 October 1941 (USA)
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In 1941, a mysterious Somaliland native woman helps the British against the Nazis.



(adaptation), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Carl Esmond ...
Abdi Hammud
Bishop Coombes (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Gilbert Emery ...
Jeni Le Gon ...
Emmett Smith ...
Kipsang's Wife


Englishmen fighting Nazis in Africa discover an exotic mystery woman living among the natives and enlist her aid in overcoming the Germans. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Her beauty was a challenge to adventure !


War | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 October 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cuando muere el día  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Woody Strode. See more »


Zia's caravan uses Bactrian camels (two humps) which are native to central Asia. The camels found in Northern Kenya and Somalia are dromedary camels. See more »


Referenced in The Man with Bogart's Face (1980) See more »


O God Our Help in Ages Past
Words by Isaac Watts and music by William Croft
Sung in church at the London church service
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Sun Has Set Permanently On This Film
14 August 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Sundown is a wartime morale boosting film that has not worn well over the years. The only thing eternal about it is Gene Tierney whose beauty is ageless.

Gene's an exotic Arab woman who comes into an outpost now run by the British in what is now Somalia. The British have recently taken it over from the Italians in Africa and Bruce Cabot is running the civil administration. Coming to handle the military end is Major George Sanders of the British army.

There's some Germans running guns to a tribe who have really not taken to white man's rule and the administrators have to put a stop to this before it all gets out of hand. Besides the people mentioned could it be the Dutch trader Carl Esmond, the former Italian administrator Joseph Calleia, or the white hunter Harry Carey. If you can't figure it out you haven't seen too many of these films.

I can't understand for the life of me why Bruce Cabot was in this film. He doesn't attempt any kind of British accent because that would make him look more ridiculous. How many members of the British colony were asked to do this script and must have turned it down. He has one scene where he talks about when this war is over Africans will truly be free. That wouldn't have gone over well with the management at 10 Downing Street whose prime minister said he was not going to see the British Empire dissolved on his watch.

To make sure you got the point after the main action of the film is over with cast members in the congregation, Cedric Hardwicke plays a vicar who is also George Sanders father. In a burned out bombed out church just like in Mrs. Miniver he gives an inspiring war speech in true Hardwicke eloquence.

This United Artists release produced by Walter Wanger got three Oscar nominations. I will say Wanger did not satisfy himself some studio back lot African sets. The films was shot on location in New Mexico to simulate the Somali desert and got a deserved black and white cinematography Oscar nomination for it. Sundown's other nominations for best music score and best art and interior sets.

All this talk about the good work of British colonialism is too much for today's audience. Just look at Somaliland now and see what it has become. But Sundown certainly gave young Gene Tierney an opportunity to look beautiful and exotic on the screen. I doubt this film will get a remake.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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