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The Black Tent (1956) More at IMDbPro »

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The Black Tent -- Set in the African desert, a British soldier romances the native chief's daughter and helps the tribe fight off Nazi attack.


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Bryan Forbes (screenplay)
Robin Maugham (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Black Tent on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
July 1957 (USA) See more »
In the African desert, a British soldier romances the native chief's daughter and helps the tribe fight off a Nazi attack. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
The Mystery Is How They Could String It Out For Two Hours See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Donald Sinden ... Col. Sir Charles Holland

Anthony Steel ... Capt. David Holland
Anna-Maria Sandri ... Mabrouka ben Yussef (as Anna Maria Sandri)

André Morell ... Sheik Salem ben Yussef (as Andre Morell)
Terence Sharkey ... Daoud Holland

Donald Pleasence ... Ali
Ralph Truman ... Maj. Croft
Anthony Bushell ... Ambassador Baring
Michael Craig ... Sheik Faris
Paul Homer ... Khalil ben Yussef
Anton Diffring ... Senior Nazi Officer
Frederick Jaeger ... Koch - Junior Nazi Officer
Derek Sydney ... Interpreter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bryan Forbes ... Dying Soldier (scenes deleted)
Alan Coleshill ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Nanette Newman ... Mabrouka (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
Brian Desmond Hurst 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Bryan Forbes  screenplay
Robin Maugham  screenplay
Robin Maugham  story

Produced by
William MacQuitty .... producer (as William Macquitty)
Earl St. John .... executive producer
Original Music by
William Alwyn 
Cinematography by
Desmond Dickinson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Alfred Roome 
Casting by
Weston Drury Jr. (uncredited)
Art Direction by
George Provis 
Costume Design by
Beatrice Dawson (dresses)
Makeup Department
Eddie Knight .... makeup artist
Iris Tilley .... hair stylist
Production Management
Edward Joseph .... production manager (as Teddy Joseph)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Stanley Hosgood .... assistant director
Patrick Clayton .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Bert Gaiters .... property master (uncredited)
Jack Stephens .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Gordon K. McCallum .... sound recordist
Dudley Messenger .... sound recordist
Don Sharpe .... sound editor (as Donald Sharpe)
John Salter .... boom operator (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Dudley Lovell .... camera operator
Norman Gryspeerdt .... still photographer (uncredited)
Reg Pope .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Paul Wilson .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dorothy Edwards .... wardrobe supervisor: women (uncredited)
Bert Simmonds .... wardrobe supervisor: men (uncredited)
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
Other crew
Arthur Alcott .... production controller: Pinewood Studios
Beryl Booth .... continuity
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
93 min | USA:83 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

Art Director George Provis had designed a pool for the nuptial bathing scene, the location oasis having only a small well. Producer William MacQuitty was aware that the pool would ever after be a useful water supply for the Bedouin and instructed that it be built sturdily for permanency. The village headman saw the producer's generosity differently--he saw the pool as desecrating the oasis and insisted that it be removed. It was, and the Sahara Desert regained 100 square meters of lost sand.

====NOTE: The following isn't a Trivia item as much as it is reminiscences from a member of the cast, but that person is never identified. He or she needs to be, otherwise there is no way to determine if this information is true or not.====

I had the good fortune to be involved in the filming. I was sixteen and had gone to Libya as a young actor for desert location scenes prior to shooting interiors at Pinewood Studios .

I recall that tragic circumstances made the off-camera events as memorable as those fly-blown Sahara shooting-days. A couple of days after my arrival at Idris airport the once-daily flight from London's Heathrow ended in tragedy when a BOAC DC4 Argonaut crashed in flames on landing killing fifteen and badly injuring many of the forty-seven on board. Idris facilities were about what you'd expect of one of the world's poorest nations with an international terminal that looked like it was the film set from Bogart's 'Casablanca' and the boys and girls at the Wheelus Field USAF base the other side of Tripoli had mobilized immediately, with helicopters ferrying the injured to the military hospital.

A few days later, at a break in the filming schedule, I visited the base with a young woman survivor of the crash.. Tearful eyes all round including those of the chopper-boys filled with laughter when Rosemarie discovered the bouquet they had given her was swarming with ants which had joined the blooms somewhere locally. An international incident was narrowly avoided when this naive British visitor took a photograph of his beautiful companion. I had not noticed that the background included some tents and several large aircraft. I still have the Zeiss camera which I had bought cheaply a couple of days before, just a museum piece now in our age of digital photography but I always remember that day when I had to hand over the film to the fierce military policeman declaring us off-limits. Actually he turned out to be quite an affable sort who having executed his official task seemed more than happy to assist my companion who had discovered that the ants were now invading her blouse. Uncle Sam's Military Police are clearly up to anything the day throws at them and the Snowdrop produced some magic mosquito cream which he applied liberally to her neck. His enthusiasm for the task knew no bounds and soon it was the turn of the visitor gently to point out what was off limits. Apart from the loss of my pictures it was a memorable day with hospitable hosts, an air-conditioned day that offered a welcome contrast to the sweltering Sahara filming days that lay ahead. Happy days! All captured in Love,Life and Moving Pictures, tales of the Black Tent location. Find it at Amazon.See more »
Anachronisms: The road where the ambush takes place is clearly a post - war build, having asphalt and neat chicane.See more »


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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
The Mystery Is How They Could String It Out For Two Hours, 13 September 2010
Author: CHRISTOPHER HEATH from United Kingdom

This film can be summed up as follows: sumptuous photography; turgid plot; wooden acting.

The mystery is how they could string it out for two hours. The story is that there isn't a story - it's just a travelogue across the Libyan desert. Michael Craig, who was hot property in British cinema back then, is a blacked-up Arab sheik and has no lines that I can remember. Blink and you miss him. I just couldn't work out what Anthony Steele would see in the love interest. Donald Sinden looks as though he has the mood of someone who has got out of bed the wrong side every morning of the shoot.

The only thing that must have stopped this from bombing at the box office was the novelty for the cinema-going public in grey, smog-ridden 1950s Britain of seeing 'real', 'desert' sand in colour, something they could have done on the sea front at Clacton or Bournemouth.

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