Sahara (S) (Columbia Classics) product details page

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Sahara (S) (Columbia Classics)

Humphrey BogartBruce BennettLloyd Bridges

Director: Zoltan Korda

rated: NR

- Violence, Questionable for Children

released: December 11, 2001

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Zoltan Korda's Sahara was one of the more exciting action movies to come out of World War II, with a brace of fine performances and a plot -- derived, in part, from The Lost Patrol as well as from a Soviet-made documentary entitled The Thirteen -- that has been reused at least a dozen times since (most directly in a solid western called Last of the Comanches). But it was also a movie that helped its director find his own "voice" as a filmmaker, and stands as a uniquely leftist (but not communistic) action film to come out of Hollywood in the middle of World War II. Director Zoltan Korda was the left-leaning brother in the filmmaking family led by Alexander Korda, and throughout the 1930s had been forced to sublimate his own ideological leanings to those of his far more conservative brother. Zoltan was an action film director without compare, but while he was working under Alex, the dramatic content of his movies always ended up pro-imperialist and little more than patronizing to Africans. (This could be seen most clearly in his Sanders of the River, a movie that Zoltan intended as sympathetic to the African people, but which Alex recut and reshot to reflect a demeaning attitude that so offended its star, Paul Robeson, that he never made another movie for the Kordas and spent years apologizing for having been in it.) Sahara, made for Columbia Pictures rather than for Alexander Korda, was the movie where Zoltan's sympathies with colonized and oppressed peoples finally broke out into the open, and his antipathy toward British imperialism finally manifested itself. The hero is American, portrayed in low-key fashion by Humphrey Bogart. He's almost an archetype, a cool, clear-thinking tactician, unencumbered by racial or class prejudice, and immediately takes charge of the contingent of British soldiers on the run from the Germans, telling them how to survive, how to fight and, in many ways, how to live. The British aren't depicted as evil so much as aloof in terms of their officer class, and motivationally out of reasons for fighting the Germans. The movie is a subtly ideological work with a heavy emphasis on action, and it gave Bogart (as well as Bruce Bennett and Dan Duryea) a chance to play uniquely clear and richly heroic roles. The filmmaker would later bring Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country to the screen at a time when few people outside of South Africa knew or cared about the racial divisions in that country. Bruce Eder, All Movie Guide

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