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The Desert of the Tartars (1976)
"Il deserto dei tartari" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  29 October 1976 (Italy)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,197 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 14 critic

As his first assignment, lieutenant Drogo is sent to an isolated fortress on the borders of a desert and of a range of high mountains. The mission of the garrison is to prevent a possible ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(novel), (story) (as Andre G. Brunelin) , 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lieutenant Giovanni Drogo
...
Colonel Giovanbattista Filimore
Giuliano Gemma ...
Major Matis
Helmut Griem ...
Lieutenant Simeon
...
General
Francisco Rabal ...
Marshal Tronk
...
Colonel Nathanson
Laurent Terzieff ...
Lieutenent Pietro Von Hamerling
...
Major Dr. Rovine
...
Captain Ortiz
Shaban Golchin Honaz ...
Private Lazare
Giuseppe Pambieri ...
Lieutenant Rathenau
Bryan Rostron
Kamran Nozad ...
Captain Sern
Manfred Freyberger ...
Caporal Montagne
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Storyline

As his first assignment, lieutenant Drogo is sent to an isolated fortress on the borders of a desert and of a range of high mountains. The mission of the garrison is to prevent a possible incursion by the fearsome Tartars, coming from beyond the desert. Some fellow officers are eagerly awaiting an attack; some no longer want to believe in it; others take advantage of the vague threat to further their career. All of them are sacrificing everything -- health, youth, friends, family -- for a distant military ideal: leading the defence against the onslaught of the enemy. But in the vast emptiness surrounding the fortress, nobody has ever sighted the Tartars... Written by Eduardo Casais <casaise@acm.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 1976 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Le desert des Tartars  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In West Germany and other countries the film was released under titles which mean translated back "The Desert of the Tatars". Obviously the editors in these countries missed that the original title does not refer to the actual Tatarian people but to the ancient Greek-Roman mythological "Tartars" (from the ancient Greek word "tartaros"). So "Tartars" in this context is not an outdated spelling of "Tatars", but an intended metaphor referring to the historical idea, that there are a people "coming from hell". See more »

Quotes

Drogo: I was sent here by mistake.
Le médecin-major Rovin: Here or elsewhere, we're all somewhere by mistake.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Marvellous Film Experience
14 June 2008 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

I just saw this film a few days ago and it had a very strong impact on me. I was extremely impressed by Zurlini's "Girl with a suitcase" and "violent Summer" (The excellent NoShame release - grab it if you do not already have it!)but this film is the work of a very mature director.

Zurlini has the confidence to slow everything down. The camera-work is stunning (the location in Iran is breathtaking, magical). The acting is extraordinary - this film is a meeting place for some great actors. There is often little dialogue and so we feel accutely the presence that these actors have - Gassman, Perrin, Trintignant, Gemma, Von Syndow etc. For me so much of the film is about the feeling that is created not the specifics of the storyline. The actors have a wonderful sincerity - a lot of eye contact demonstrates the closeness that these people feel at a human level.

The story - I have not read the novel therefore I do not claim to have any clear idea of the exact message but for me the film is about the feeling it creates. It made me reflect. Not so much on understanding the meaning but on the characters themselves and the various emotions we have as humans.

I did however feel that the pace and feeling of the film changes after Perrin is sent back to the fort after his request for a transfer is declined. A lot of the peacefulness of the film goes and a more agitated atmosphere prevails.

Nothing is made clear - mystery prevails. The final shot of the approaching horsemen is unforgettable. Morricone's score is top-rate.

Altogether an extraordinary work - images, characters and acting that that left a strong impression on me. I am very curious to see more Zurlini.

I have the Italian DVD of this film. I am very tempted to buy the NoShame DVD for the quality of their releases and the extras.


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

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