Sahara (1943)

Sahara (1943)

“We must get water.”

An American tank sergeant (Humphrey Bogart) and his crewmen (Bruce Bennett and Dan Duryea) — working alongside a British medical officer (Richard Aherne), a French corporal (Louis Mercier), and four other soldiers in the North African desert — pick up an Italian deserter (J. Carrol Naish), a Sudanese sergeant (Rex Ingram), and a German prisoner-of-war (Kurt Kreuger). Soon water supplies run low, and Bogart must successfully convince encroaching German forces that he has enough water to trade for rifles.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Deserts
  • Dan Duryea Films
  • Humphrey Bogart Films
  • Lloyd Bridges Films
  • Rex Ingram Films
  • World War II
  • Zoltan Korda Films

Zoltan Korda helmed this WWII-era fighting flick focused on both the need for international cooperation to defeat fascist enemies, and the prime necessity of water — the source of life — above all else. Bogart is suitably grizzly and no-nonsense as Sgt. Joe Gunn (what a name!), whose love of his tank “Lulubelle” is compared to that of a man for his horse.

The situations he and his men encounter — enemy forces both within and without, but first and foremost a constant search for water — are deftly handled, with plenty of tension and close calls:

Perhaps most satisfying are the character arcs given to supporting characters Naish and Ingram, who each contribute in a vital way to the survival of the crew while enduring racism and xenophobia.

Fine location shooting and atmospheric cinematography (by Rudolph Mate) make this an exciting “good show”, and well worth checking out.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Strong performances by the ensemble cast

  • Rudolph Mate’s cinematography

  • Fine location shooting in the Borego Desert

  • The exciting climax

Must See?
Yes, once, as an overall good show. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


  • Good Show


One thought on “Sahara (1943)

  1. First viewing. Agreed; must-see – compact, compelling, intense; a “good show” indeed!

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