Two years ago, hunting guide Mike Davis was with a client who trespassed on diamond company land and found a rich lode; Paul Vogel, sadistic commandant of company police, beat Mike nearly to death but failed to learn the location. Now Mike is back in Diamantstad, South African desert, and manager Martingale has a better idea: he hires delectable adventuress Suzanne to ferret out Mike's secret. But she soon finds she's playing with fire.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In her biography, Corinne Calvet confesses that she did not understand what William Dieterle said, because of his heavy German accent. So she asked her co star Burt Lancaster to translate for her. See more »
The title "Rope of Sand" refers to the Sahara Desert, however the setting is "Southwest Africa" and Capetown is mentioned several times - these geographical features lie at opposite ends of the continent (the Sahara in the north). See more »
This part of the desert of South Africa, where only a parched camel thorn tree relieves the endless parallels of time, space, and sky, surrounds like a rope of sand the richest diamond-bearing area in the world -- an uneasy land where men inflamed by monotony and the heat sometimes forget the rules of civilization.
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Rope Of Sand is one of those films that as Burt Lancaster said he did for the poke. It's a routine action/adventure film that some have said is a Casablanca reunion. Also it was Corinne Calvet's first American feature.
But besides Lancaster and Calvet the cast includes Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, and Paul Henreid. Rains is playing his role as a diamond magnate as if Captain Renaud had retired from the army and went to South Africa to make his fortune in diamonds. Rains is the elegant sophisticated head of a diamond cartel and for amusement he likes to manipulate people. Lorre plays a kinder, gentler version of Ugarte I doubt he would murder two German couriers for letters of transit, but he might pick their pockets.
But Paul Henreid is as about as far away from the courageous anti-Nazi freedom fighter Victor Laszlo as you can get. He's the brutal commandant of the diamond police. Yes the Union of South Africa did have such an outfit with police powers to protect one of the country's most valuable resources for the nation and most assuredly for the mine owners. You'll see this also in Sands Of The Kalahari and Gold, both films set in apartheid South Africa as this was.
Lancaster plays a guide who finds a cache of diamonds and gets a beating at the hands of Henreid and his storm troopers. Rains would like to get his hands on the diamonds also and cut Henreid out as he personally can't stand him, but he's useful on occasion. After Calvet who plays a prostitute tries the old badger game on him unsuccessfully Rains hires her to work on Lancaster to divulge his secret. She also goes to work on Henreid as well.
But as what usually happens Burt's charming ways get to her all leading to an inevitable climax about her and the diamonds.
The title Rope Of Sand refers to the desert surrounding where the diamond mines are. It's a decent enough action adventure film made more enjoyable by a great cast of the best supporting players around.
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