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Two years ago, hunting guide Mike Davis was with a client who trespassed on diamond company land and found a rich lode; Paul Vogel, sadistic commandant of company police, beat Mike nearly to death but failed to learn the location. Now Mike is back in Diamantstad, South African desert, and manager Martingale has a better idea: he hires delectable adventuress Suzanne to ferret out Mike's secret. But she soon finds she's playing with fire. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In her biography, Corinne Calvet confesses that she did not understand what William Dieterle said, because of his heavy European accent. So she asked her co star Burt Lancaster to translate for her. See more »
During his first discussion with Burt Lancaster's character (a hunting guide), Peter Lorre's character mentions that the hunting guide had been leading an expedition to "kill a lion" during his earlier mishap - there are no African lions in the Sahara, which is the "Rope of Sand" mentioned in the film's title. See more »
This part of the desert of South Africa, where only a parched camel thorn tree relieves the endless parallels of time, space, and sky, surrounds like a rope of sand the richest diamond-bearing area in the world -- an uneasy land where men inflamed by monotony and the heat sometimes forget the rules of civilization.
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The cast makes this one worth watching: Burt Lancaster, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains (at his silkiest), Peter Lorre, Sam Jaffe. The character Corinne Calvet plays is a screenwriter's dream since she's likely to spark unexpected changes in each of the male characters, but as an earlier contributor pointed out, Calvet isn't up to the part. It's hard to believe that a man such as Burt Lancaster's character could become so smitten with her.
The South Africa setting adds interest to the proceedings and the plot uncoils in skillful fashion until the last reel or so when the rush toward climax becomes somewhat delayed and diffused.
Burt Lancaster's whipping at the hands of Paul Henreid no longer includes details mentioned in the book "Sadism in the Cinema," which implies that some footage has been cut from prints. Even in abbreviated form, however, the scene conveys the hint that the real emotional bond in the movie is not between Lancaster and Calvet but between Lancaster and Henreid. Henreid's brutally sublimated desire for Lancaster is certainly understandable since Burt never looked better than he does here.
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