12 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.


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




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)


A few years after the end of WW2, Colonel Sir Charles Holland is summoned to the Foreign Office on a matter regarding his brother's wartime disappearance. Recently uncovered evidence points out to the fact that his brother, Captain David Holland, may still be alive somewhere in the Libyan desert. With a promise of unofficial help and local Libyan contacts from the Foreign Office, Colonel Holland sets-out for Tripoli. There, a contact man gives him a local guide to take him to a Bedouin camp in the desert where his brother was last seen. A three-day ride by camel brings Colonel Holland to the camp of Sheik Salem Ben Yussef and his tribe. Inviting the Colonel to enjoy the camp's hospitality, the Sheik initially denies having heard about Captain David Holland. However, after his daughter, Mabrouka Ben Yussef, secretly gives the Colonel papers that had belonged to Captain David Holland, the Colonel pesters the Sheik with a barrage of direct questions. Infuriated, the Sheik orders Colonel ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The desert ablaze ... with Passion and Violence.


Drama | War | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Art Director George Provis had designed a pool for the nuptial bathing scene, the location oasis having only a small well. Producer William MacQuitty was aware that the pool would ever after be a useful water supply for the Bedouin and instructed that it be built sturdily for permanency. The village headman saw the producer's generosity differently--he saw the pool as desecrating the oasis and insisted that it be removed. It was, and the Sahara Desert regained 100 square meters of lost sand.

====NOTE: The following isn't a Trivia item as much as it is reminiscences from a member of the cast, but that person is never identified. He or she needs to be, otherwise there is no way to determine if this information is true or not.====

I had the good fortune to be involved in the filming. I was sixteen and had gone to Libya as a young actor for desert location scenes prior to shooting interiors at Pinewood Studios .

I recall that tragic circumstances made the off-camera events as memorable as those fly-blown Sahara shooting-days. A couple of days after my arrival at Idris airport the once-daily flight from London's Heathrow ended in tragedy when a BOAC DC4 Argonaut crashed in flames on landing killing fifteen and badly injuring many of the forty-seven on board. Idris facilities were about what you'd expect of one of the world's poorest nations with an international terminal that looked like it was the film set from Bogart's 'Casablanca' and the boys and girls at the Wheelus Field USAF base the other side of Tripoli had mobilized immediately, with helicopters ferrying the injured to the military hospital.

A few days later, at a break in the filming schedule, I visited the base with a young woman survivor of the crash.. Tearful eyes all round, including those of the chopper-boys, filled with laughter when Rosemarie discovered the bouquet they had given her was swarming with ants which had joined the blooms somewhere locally. An international incident was narrowly avoided when this naive British visitor took a photograph of his beautiful companion. I had not noticed that the background included some tents and several large aircraft. I still have the Zeiss camera which I had bought cheaply a couple of days before, just a museum piece now in our age of digital photography, but I always remember that day when I had to hand over the film to the fierce military policeman declaring us off-limits. Actually, he turned out to be quite an affable sort, who having executed his official task seemed more than happy to assist my companion who had discovered that the ants were now invading her blouse. Uncle Sam's Military Police are clearly up to anything the day throws at them and the Snowdrop produced some magic mosquito cream which he applied liberally to her neck. His enthusiasm for the task knew no bounds and soon it was the turn of the visitor gently, to point out what was off limits. Apart from the loss of my pictures, it was a memorable day with hospitable hosts, an air-conditioned day that offered a welcome contrast to the sweltering Sahara filming days that lay ahead. Happy days! All captured in Love, Life and Moving Pictures, tales of the Black Tent location. Find it at Amazon. See more »


Sabratha, the Roman ruins are by the sea, whereas it is established that the Bedouin camp is in the desert. See more »

User Reviews

Great scenery, terrible plot
30 January 2003 | by duncankennettSee all my reviews

Even as a fan of Donald Sinden, this is only an OK offering. The most enjoyable part has to be the amazing locations, set in Libya. The original story was obviously a long novel that was a real struggle to compress into a script

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Release Date:

July 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Tent See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Rank Organisation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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