Synopsis: An American tank crew is crossing the Sahara Desert during World War II as part of an ordered retreat and joins up with the remnants of a British unit. Encumbered by two prisoners of war, the group finds temporary relief at a remote watering hole. They plan to continue on but, when they learn a German battalion is approaching, decide to dig in and hold the enemy off despite overwhelming odds.
Movie Review: Sahara (1943)
A review of the 1943 war movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lloyd Bridges.
I'm actually not that big of a fan of war movies in general. This is because most tend to rely on the same tired cliches and tend to be somewhat predictable as a result. And, if there's something I don't like my movie to be, it is predictable.
As a result, when I started watching this movie a couple days ago, I figured I would lose interest after a few minutes. But, it ended up surprising me.
Unlike many other movies, this one did not fall into the same, predictable story line I was expecting. In fact, when they decided to dig in and protect the well (which, by the way, was actually dry, the Germans just didn't know that) in the hopes of delaying the Nazi advance, I really wasn't expecting it. When I started watching it, I figured they would get trapped. I was surprised when they stuck around voluntarily.
I honestly also wasn't expecting the movie to end the way it did. I had envisioned a couple different potential endings and they didn't even come close to what actually ended up happening. That doesn't happen very often, so I was pleased by that.
The fact they did face such overwhelming odds also kept the story interesting. There were only a few of them to start with and, as they died one-by-one and ran low on ammunition, it did cause the suspense to build up.
Plus, unlike many other movies in this category, the action was pretty steady. Even before they ended up taking refuge at the watering hole, they faced starvation, dehydration and various other dangers, including being attacked. I can't tell you the number of times I've turned off a movie like this just because I was getting bored early on. That definitely did not happen this time around.
One thing the film did do that I've seen from other movies in this genre is it kept the various characters somewhat one-dimensional. They were all good soldiers and, on occasion, they revealed some minor detail about them. But, there wasn't much of a back story.
In fact, even Bogart's character, the main hero in the film, lacked depth. We aren't told much about his life before the war, what his plans are after the war, etc. And, as a result of that, it was really hard to care too much if and when one of them ended up killed.
It probably would have been a little better had the movie taken the time to give us a little more background about the people who were so willing to face overwhelming odds and take on what was pretty much a suicide mission. However, overall, I did think this was a good film and enjoyed watching it despite the fact it was part of a genre I really don't normally enjoy.
My Grade: A