The Desert Rats (1953)

They crawled their way across the blazing sands of Africa... to turn disaster into victory!

Richard Burton plays a Scottish Army officer put in charge of a disparate band of ANZAC troops on the perimeter of Tobruk with the German Army doing their best to dislodge them

Come out of your holes you desert rats!
The Desert Rats is directed by Robert Wise and written by Richard Murphy. It stars Richard Burton, Robert Newton, Robert Douglas, Torin Thatcher, Chips Rafferty and James Mason. Music is by Leigh Harline and cinematography by Lucien Ballard.
The follow up to The Desert Fox (it's not a sequel) from two years earlier, was in essence an attempt to readdress the balance after The Desert Fox annoyed certain quarters with its admiration for what a great soldier Field Marshal Rommel was. So here we have the battle of Tobruk orchestrated by the astute Robert Wise, the plot is simple, but the characterisations are most certainly not, with lead men Burton and Newton terrific.
This important part of the war is given mature treatment, with the battle sequences realistically staged and the tactical nous of allied force leaders rightly given credence. Sadly Mason is barely in the picture, which is more frustrating when you witness the extended scene that is shared between Mason and Burton, a British film fan's dream right there. While elsewhere it should be noted that this is, perhaps inevitably, not an accurate history lesson, so students of Tobruk don't be basing your thesis on this telling.
Still, a good quality war pic for sure. 7/10

20th Century Fox by Robert Wise, Richard Murphy.
Stars: Richard Burton, James Mason, Robert Newton, Robert Douglas.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, War

Keywords: world war ii rommel


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