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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Tambul and Giuseppe first approach the American tank from a long distance away in the desert, they are being observed from the tank through binoculars. As they get closer, their images in the binoculars are looking to the side of the observer, instead of directly at him, and they walk past the observer and the binoculars, even though they are still very far from reaching the tank. See more »
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 »
"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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