In the North African campaign a British straggler manages to pass himself off as a waiter at the hotel commandeered as Rommel's headquarters. He has thoughts of assassinating Rommel but his cover may have an even better use.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Charles Brackett (screenplay), Billy Wilder (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Franchot Tone ... Cpl. John J. Bramble / Paul Davos
Anne Baxter ... Mouche
Akim Tamiroff ... Farid
Erich von Stroheim ... Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Peter van Eyck ... Lt. Schwegler (as Peter Van Eyck)
Fortunio Bonanova ... Gen. Sebastiano
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

AS BIG...AS EXCITING...as the world-shattering events that inspired it! (Print Ad- The Journal, ((Wood River, Ills.)) 21 October 1943) See more »

Genres:

Thriller | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book "The Great Spy Films" by Leonard Rubinstein, " . . . this film was released in early 1943 shortly after the British victory at El Alamein [in North Africa] and incorporated some footage from that battle in its closing scenes, besides providing an imaginative explanation for that success." See more »

Goofs

Rommel is consistently depicted as disdainful of Sebastiano, and the Italians in general. In fact Rommel appreciated the aid of the Italians, and consistently encouraged their commanders, such as his counterpart Field Marshal Count Ugo Cavallero, to perform at their best effort. See more »

Quotes

Cpl. John J. Bramble: [Visiting Mouche's gravesite] Hello, Mouche.
[Bends down]
Cpl. John J. Bramble: Perhaps I should bend down so you can hear me better. I brought you that parasol, Mouche, from a shop. They swore it was real ivory. Let's hope so.
[He opens the parasol and places it on her grave]
Cpl. John J. Bramble: It will give you some shade until we come to take you back, where there are trees and leaves, and rivers, dew on the grass. Don't worry, Mouche, we're after 'em now. When you feel the earth shake, it'll be our tanks and our guns and our lorries. ...
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Connections

Referenced in Shadows of Suspense (2006) See more »

User Reviews

 
Warlike adventure with thriller , suspense and historic events
9 May 2008 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This picture was a popular hit in the time, concerning about historical deeds, as well as intrigue, action and comedy. In June 1942 things looked black indeed for British Eight Army. It was beaten, scattered and in flight Tobruck had fallen and the rats of desert were besieged . The victorious General Rommel(Erich Von Stroheim) and his Africa Korps were pounding the British back and back toward Cairo and the Suez Canal. On July first 1942, Rommel and his Afica Korps reached El Alamein, as far east as they ever got. The film is set on an Arab Hotel called Hotel Imperial, where its proprietary Farid(Akim Tamiroff) accords to let a British soldier named Bramble(Franchot Tone) assume the identity of a deceased barman. There finds a French chambermaid named Moush(Anne Baxter) whose interest is in obtaining her brother out of a Nazi POW camp . Then, she asks to German lieutenant(Peter Van Eich) to win her brother's release. But the dead waiter results to have been a German spy , so Bramble tries to know where the Nazi supply depots have been stashed. Later Bramble is assigned one mission in Cairo, and on September seventh 1942, a new made Lieutenant bought a parasol at a little shop in Cairo. On October twenty fourth to the skirt of a bagpipe General Montgomery's Eight Army launched its counter offensive .

The film displays suspense, intrigue, action as well as lots of humor and wartime feats. Excellent performances, special mention Erich Von Stroheim as one of his prestigious roles as Nazi general and Fortunio Bonanova as an Italian singer official. Interesting script by Charles Brackett; Billy Wilder also collaborated on the screenplay and is based on the play 'Hotel Imperial' by Lajos Biro. In 1938, started the famed friendship between Charles Brackett and Austrian born Billy Wilder, following his initial hit there the former year with very funny 'The major and the minor' and prospered on such movies as 'Hold back the dawn, Ball of fire and Ninotchka', before they became a director-writer-producer tandem with Billy Wilder doing the film-making . The movie packs an evocative cinematography in black and white by magnificent cameraman John B. Seitz. Atmospheric musical and appropriate musical score by the master Miklos Rozsa. This highly successful motion picture is perfectly directed by the classic Billy Wilder. Rating : Better than average, well worth watching.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

12 July 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Five Graves to Cairo See more »

Filming Locations:

Yuma, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$855,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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