Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
June, 1942. The British Army, retreating ahead of victorious Rommel, leaves a lone survivor on the Egyptian border--Corporal John Bramble, who finds refuge at a remote desert hotel...soon to be German HQ. To survive, Bramble assumes an identity which proves perilous. The new guest of honor is none other than Rommel, hinting of his secret strategy, code-named 'five graves.' And the fate of the British in Egypt depends on whether a humble corporal can penetrate the secret... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In different shots, the pepper and salt shakers on the table in front of Rommel change positions, inexplicably, as he taunts his captives with his plan. See more »
[checking his guidebook entry about the hotel]
You have a native cook by the name of Berek.
Terek, sir. Terek. Yes, sir. But he ran away this morning. With the British to Alexandria.
[checking the guidebook]
You have a wife.
Oh, yes, sir. Yes. But *she* run away. Yes, sir.
With the British to Alexandria?
No, sir. With a Greek to Casablanca.
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Shot in 1943, this movie gives you what you deserve : some sort of propaganda. But at that time, how many movies could afford to be so unrespectful ? Even if the allies are good and the axis forces evil, they are not depicted as a cliché. For example, Rommel, who was certainly the only "healthy" German general, is full of spirit, always has a good word and is well educated. Erich von Stroheim gives a nice shape to this character. In the meantime, Mouche, the little French maid, is tortured between Pétain and the image of allies. She remembers that "French soldiers were left behind by English ones in Dunkerque and captured or killed". What a stupifying sentence in 1943. But Billy Wilder is cunny enough to say what he had to say owing to his humour. And the screenplay is so clever that for anybody interested in the period (and even if you're not), this movie is worth seeing.
"We shall take that big fat cigar out of Mr. Churchill's mouth and make him say Heil." Erwin Rommel in Five graves to Cairo !
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