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Sahara (1943)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 11 November 1943 (USA)
After the fall of Tobruk in 1942, during the Allied retreat in the Libyan desert, an American tank picks-up a motley group of survivors but they face advancing Germans and a lack of water.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Fred Clarkson
...
Sgt. Major Tambul
Richard Aherne ...
Capt. Jason Halliday (as Richard Nugent)
...
Carl Harbord ...
Marty Williams
Patrick O'Moore ...
Osmond 'Ozzie' Bates
Louis Mercier ...
Jean Leroux, 'Frenchie' (as Louis T. Mercier)
Guy Kingsford ...
Peter Stegman
...
Capt. von Schletow (as Kurt Krueger)
...
Maj. Von Falken
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Storyline

Sergeant Joe Gunn and his tank crew pick up five British soldiers, a Frenchman and a Sudanese man with an Italian prisoner crossing the Libyan Desert to rejoin their command after the fall of Tobruk. They and the Germans are greatly in need of water. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

SENSATIONAL! DRAMATIC! EMOTIONAL! MEMORABLE! (original one-sheet poster) See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

11 November 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Port Said  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,300,000, 31 December 1943
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the 'Hollywood Reporter', this movies premiere was held at Camp Campbell (aka Fort Campbell) in Kentucky. This event was included as part of a program to celebrate the 1st Anniversary of the formation of the IV Armored Corps of the Army Ground Forces, United States Army. See more »

Goofs

One of the machine guns shown is an M1917A1 Browning belt fed, water cooled machine gun. The gun has an eight pint cooling system that is recycled via hose to a reservoir. In this film there is no hose or reservoir visible; even though the gun is fired at length. See more »

Quotes

Jimmy Doyle: [First Lines] U.S. tank detachment unit 5. Repeat message. U.S. tank detachment unit 5. Repeat. Over to you. Over.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In June, 1942, a small detachment of American tanks with American crews, joined the British Eighth Army in North Africa to get experience in desert warfare under actual battle conditions.

History has proved that they learned their lesson well - - See more »

Connections

Featured in Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! Susanna
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
Played on the harmonica by Patrick O'Moore.
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User Reviews

 
An excellent WWII movie
4 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

"Sahara" is interesting from several standpoints. First, it is an excellent drama, well acted and directed, with good production values. Second, it raises an interesting moral question. Third, it has implications regarding the main actor and his future movie career.

"Sahara," the story of a rag-tag group of soldiers fleeing from Rommel's Afrika Korps in a US tank, is enjoyable throughout. The cast is fine, representing a number of nationalities and even races. I think this is one of Bogart's better acting jobs, and J. Carrol Naish, Lloyd Bridges, Rex Ingram, Dan Duryea, and the others are equally good.

While this may be a propaganda film, it is no "our hero wipes out an enemy division without a scratch" potboiler. On the contrary, the decision made by Sgt. Joe Gunn (Bogart) to stay and fight a German regiment rather than heading for British lines is a desperate gamble little better than a suicide mission. This brings up my second point; the ethical question.

St. Gunn gets the idea to stay at the oasis they have reached in order to fight and delay a German regiment in hopes that such a sacrifice may help the Allied cause. He must convince the others, and one or two do not go along without some persuading. "I don't mind fighting and dying," one says, "but this is pointless." Well, that's the issue. How easy it is to find reasons NOT to stay behind and fight! Makes me appreciate the plight of our soldiers on Bataan and Wake Island, who had no choice. But this little band does stay and fight, and the story hangs on their decision.

My third point is a bit arcane, and has to do with Hollywood business practices of the 1940s. Bogart was, when this movie started production, about the biggest star in Hollywood. Remember, he had already made High Sierra," "The Maltese Falcon," and "Casablanca." Why then, did Warner Brothers lend him out to Columbia to do this picture? Columbia was still barely a second rank studio. What did they have to trade in return? Rita Hayworth? I don't think she made any films for Warners, but I may be wrong.

Lastly, it's interesting to note that Bogart, when he started his own company (Santana Productions) in the late 40s, signed a releasing deal with Columbia. I guess he must have been impressed with Columbia while making this picture, as well as "Dead Reckoning" (1947).

I strongly recommend "Sahara" to anyone who has not seen it. It's exciting action combined with interesting characterizations.


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