During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
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>
"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 28, 1950 with Burt Lancaster reprising his film role. 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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I rate this movie pretty highly and then I wonder, were Hollywood movies in the late 40s generally this good, in which case I'll have to see a lot more. "Rope of Sand" is so well made--the story clicks along, every shot is perfectly placed and serves the story, both day and night scenes in a desert are grandly photographed. The interiors are more elaborate than one might imagine, but Edith Head's costumes for Ms. Calvet guarantee that her character is irresistibly sexy. The cast has been gathered from across Europe and beyond--OK, some of them more difficult to follow than others--the supremely skilled actor, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre doing his elegant lowlife, Marais and Miranda singing in a nightclub. And of course young Burt Lancaster, both beautiful and doing the turns of his character. Credit then too to Paul Henreid, holding his own in a fight scene with Lancaster. And there's even a willingness to define South Africa by its racism, from the opening scene of a Black man being chased by converging trucks in the desert. I won't underline an inference about political economy.
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