6.7/10
145
9 user 4 critic

Sword in the Desert (1949)

Approved | | Action, Drama, History | 31 October 1949 (Sweden)
In 1947, with only months remaining until the partition of British-administered Palestine, an American freighter captain smuggles European Jewish refugees ashore under the nose of the British authorities.

Director:

George Sherman

Writer:

Robert Buckner
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dana Andrews ... Mike Dillon
Märta Torén ... Sabra
Stephen McNally ... David Vogel
Jeff Chandler ... Asvan Kurta
Philip Friend ... Lt. Ellerton
Hugh French ... Maj. Sorrell
Liam Redmond ... Jerry McCarthy
Lowell Gilmore ... Maj. Stephens
Stanley Logan Stanley Logan ... Col. Bruce Evans
Hayden Rorke ... Capt. Beaumont
George Tyne ... Dov
Peter Coe ... Tarn
Paul Marion Paul Marion ... Jeno
Marten Lamont Marten Lamont ... Capt. Fletcher (as Martin Lamont)
David Wolfe ... Gershon
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Storyline

Cynical freighter captain Mike Dillon hopes to take the money and run after helping to smuggle Jewish refugees ashore in pre-Israel Palestine. But against his will, he's drawn into the escalating fight between British occupation forces and the founders of Israel. In a battle doubly terrible because the audience sympathizes with both sides, how long can Mike remain a bystander? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Their story is written in the burning sands and Bullets Sing the Fame of Their Deeds !

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1949 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Desert Legion See more »

Filming Locations:

Monterey, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jeff Chandler, a Jew whose real name was Ira Grossel, was extremely proud of his Jewish heritage. Kurta was the only explicitly Jewish character he ever got to play in his career. See more »

Quotes

Col. Bruce Evans: What an extraordinary people. Do they think we relish our position as policemen in this god-forsaken land?
Maj. Stephens: Perhaps they prefer that we forsake it, Sir - and let God police it.
Col. Bruce Evans: But we have agreed to leave, if they can reach an agreement with the Arabs on partition. But if we pull out before there's an agreement between them, the entire Middle East may go up in flames. And with it, the world. No, Stephens, this isn't a Jewish or Arab or British problem. This is the problem of all mankind.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Young Man with a Horn (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shallow but Recommended as a Curioso and Reference for Today
3 October 2014 | by LeonLouisRicciSee all my reviews

Obscure and Somewhat Shallow, this Attempt at Shedding Some Light on the Contemporary Middle East-Palestine-British-Israel Situation/Conflict in 1947 is Hardly Anything More than a Lopsided Account of a Few Boatloads of Refugees Being Subjugated in the British Controlled Region.

As Entertainment, it is an OK Movie. As History Not so Much. At the Time the British were so Incensed that the Film was Banned in that Country for Decades. Elsewhere this Hot-Button Movie was Barely Seen and the Distribution was Minimal and Forget TV. That is Until Recently Thanks to TCM. So there is a Chance to See it Today.

The Cast Playing Mostly Stereotypes does OK with the Material but it is Heavy-Handed Most of the Time and the Christian Persuasion with the Christmas Time Setting, the Carol Singing, and the Heaven Sent Ending is Hokey, but was a Cheap way of Swaying Folks to the Cause.

It is a bit Creepy when the British put the Jewish Refugees, Including Children with Raggedy Ann Dolls in Tow, in a Barbed Wire Encampment (more heavy-handedness), that must have Weirded Out Post War Audiences and Angered More than a Few People. The British were Definitely Portrayed in this Film as Nazi-Lite.

There are a Few Lines from British Commanders about Not Wanting to Be There. "We should let God police the area." Overall it is Worth a Watch for its Place in Hollywood History. A "Lost" Curioso that Certainly hasn't "Lost" any of its Relevance if You Look at Today's Headlines.


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