Rommel has the British in retreat on his way to the Suez Canal. All that stands in his way is Tobruk, held by a vastly out numbered force of Australian troops. Richard Burton leads these troops on daring raids against Rommel, keeping him off balance as they earn the nickname 'The Desert Rats'. Written by
Derek Picken <email@example.com>
The character Bartlett (MacRoberts' former schoolmaster) is portrayed as an alcoholic whose drinking caused him many troubles. Sadly, this was actually the case for the actor playing him, Robert Newton. He became increasingly unemployable due to his drinking, was declared a bankrupt in absentia, and would die just 3 years after this film. The cause of death was announced as a heart attack but was widely believed to be multiple alcohol-related causes. See more »
During the last few scenes in the dugout, the characters all appear in various states of dirty, dusty, and disheveled, but the radio telephone, papers, and lanterns are all perfectly clean and orderly. See more »
Field Marshal Erwin von Rommel:
Now, MacRoberts, l respect your pride in this little rat hole you call Tobruk, but don't insult my intelligence by telling me that if it stood in my way, l couldn't crush it like that!
Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts:
lf you can crush Tobruk, crush it. But don't tell me it isn't a constant threat to your supply line, that it isn't an open sore in your side, or that you can take Egypt without first smashing it.
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Opening credits prologue: 1941 LIBYAN DESERT NORTH AFRICA See more »
Original music by Christina Macpherson (1895)
(Based on the Scottish tune "Craigielee", music by James Barr, with words by Robert Tannahill)
Revised music by Marie Cowan (1903)
Lyrics by A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson (1895)
Played during the opening credits and often in the score See more »
The North Africa Campaign, the Siege of Tobruk and the Desert Rats all have an important place in the British and Australian Psyche during and after the Second World War, and it took less then 10 years after the war for a film about the Siege to be made.
In 1941 British and Australian troops had control of the fortress town of Tobruk in Libya. Tobruk gets surrounded by German and Italian troops as the Axis tries to take Egypt and the Suez Canal. The British high command order the Australian General Leslie Morshead to hold Tobruk for 2 months to disrupt the German supply lines. Morshead was a clever commander, trapping German tanks to make them useless and made his troops fight a tough guerrilla campaign. The main focus of the film is on a British officer, 'Tammy' MacRoberts who is given command of a fresh batch of Australian troops, including his former school master. He has to train his troops to get them ready for the battle and first the bitter war.
The acting isn't that good, the Australian accents were awful and it would have been easier if their casted Australian actors. As well their seem to be an American officer with the British and Australians ones, I don't know why? What makes the film work is the war scenes. They are well done and you get to feel the action and sweat of battle. The film is also a short, tort experience. Also there is an historical inaccuracy; the Desert Rats was the name for the 9th Armoured Division of the British Army, not the 7th Australian Army. However Rommel did call the army the rats of Tobruk.
Personally I would like to see a new film about the war in North Africa because their are many interesting stories and battles, from the Battle of El-Alamein, the story of Rommel and Montgomery, Operation Touch, the Birth of the SAS, etc... The Siege of Tobruk would also make an interesting story for a modern film.
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