5.2/10
277
10 user 4 critic

The Black Tent (1956)

Not Rated | | Drama, War, Romance | July 1957 (USA)
In the African desert, a British soldier romances the native chief's daughter and helps the tribe fight off a Nazi attack.

Writers:

Robin Maugham (story), Robin Maugham (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Donald Sinden ... Col. Sir Charles Holland
Anthony Steel ... Capt. David Holland
Anna Maria Sandri ... Mabrouka ben Yussef
André Morell ... Sheik Salem ben Yussef (as Andre Morell)
Terence Sharkey Terence Sharkey ... Daoud Holland
Donald Pleasence ... Ali
Ralph Truman Ralph Truman ... Maj. Croft
Anthony Bushell ... Ambassador Baring
Michael Craig ... Sheik Faris
Paul Homer Paul Homer ... Khalil ben Yussef
Anton Diffring ... Senior Nazi Officer
Frederick Jaeger ... Koch - Junior Nazi Officer
Derek Sydney ... Interpreter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bryan Forbes ... Dying Soldier (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

In the African desert, a British soldier romances the native chief's daughter and helps the tribe fight off a Nazi attack.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Tenda Negra See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Rank Organisation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian actress Anna Maria Sandri's English was so poor that her dialogue had to be completely dubbed by Nanette Newman, wife of the film's screenwriter, Bryan Forbes. Forbes himself played a dying enemy soldier, a role that took three days to shoot, but the footage ended up on the cutting room floor See more »

Goofs

The road where the ambush takes place is clearly a post-war build, having asphalt and neat chicane. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lawrence of Libya, or love among the ruins between Tobruk and El Alamein
3 November 2017 | by clanciaiSee all my reviews

Brian Desmond Hurst made many great films but was not much of a director. He often took care of immensely great and interesting stories with great action and fascinating intrigue and had a knack for getting outstanding music to them as well, but his films are annoyingly impersonal, as if he didn't care about the actors but just focused on getting it all done and the story told. This is one of those films, typical of him, telling a great story, featuring characters of considerable interest, but coming out with only a very conventional and almost expressionless product. He just couldn't dramatize.

There are many other assets to this film, though, like the photography with the epic and extremely romantic environment, the most romantic scenes taking place in the ruins of an ancient amphitheatre, the most spectacular part of the film, and dwelling long on a very comprehensive Libyan wedding among the bedouins. We don't have many films from Libya, this is from long before the days of Khadaffi and Isis and all that jazz, and what you are shown is a paradise among the bedouins in the shadow of the dramatic turnings of the second world war by Tobruk and El Alamein.

What especially lifts this film is the splendid music by William Alwyn adding another dimension of colours to the already resplendently colourful film, enhancing especially the romantic scenes with that extra touch which the actors and dialogue are not able to provide.

The script is by Bryan Forbes together with the author of the novel, Robin Maugham, and there is nothing wrong with the script, the saga being so humanly interesting as it is, but such a tale could have been made so much more of. It's the stuff of Lawrence of Arabia, Rudolf Valentino's sheiks and even of Charlton Heston's Moses in the desert.

Of course you come to think of Hurst's other films, like "Dangerous Moonlight" (with the Warsaw Concerto), "Simba" (of Mau-Mau in Kenya), the Malta Story with Alec Guinness, Hungry Hill and The Lion has Wings, and they all suffer from the same thing: great stories, but crippled by lack of flesh to the bones, as if the director thought the actors were of secondary importance to the epic.

Nevertheless, it's definitely worth giving a chance, for its exotic settings, its great story (with a surprisingly apt end), its splendidly coloured desert environments, its romance among the ruins, and its very vivid music, the most alive part of the film.


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