Published on July 3rd, 2012 | by Chris0
The Desert Rats (1953)
Billed as a sequel to 1951's The Desert Fox, mainly on James Mason's reprisal of his role as General Erwin Rommel, The Desert Rats follows a band of Australians as they struggle to hold their position against the ever-increasing Nazi presence in North Africa in 1941.
And the overall verdict is that this is really a pretty damned good movie. Without going into too much detail, and spoiling it (although there isn't much to spoil)... it does not have that same 1950's "cheese" factor that was so prevalent.
Richard Burton's presence as English Capt. "Tammy" MacRoberts, along with his unlikely relationship to former teacher, now subordinate Private Tom Bartlett (Robert Newton) lend a certain depth to the story that would not have been there otherwise. Plenty of relevant introspection on the nature of war, and aging, and a few other things....
But for a 1953 picture, The Desert Rats does as much as it can during the combat scenes. They are as "real" as I think they would have allowed them to get back then. At least I was surprised at every turn by the non-predictable action and grade-A production. Even the sound didn't have much of the usual 50's "canned" feel to it.
As a tribute to the oft-overlooked Australian (and other allied) contributions to the war, especially in Africa, this picture really shines. And its just as a good Saturday afternoon matinee.
If there was a flaw, it was that the German dialogue was not subtitled. A step up from the British-accented English of the Germans in The Desert Fox, but it would have been helpful to know what they were saying. My German isn't that good. Maybe this was due to Netflix' instant streaming and a flaw with this program, I don't know. Still a black mark, but its still good enough to warrant a solid 7/10.
Desert Rats, The
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A British captain leads an Australian division against Field Marshal Rommel in Tobruk. Directed by Robert Wise.
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTMNT
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Original Release Date:
- Richard Burton
- James Mason
- Robert Newton
- Robert Douglas
- Torin Thatcher
- Factory sealed DVD
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It's a War Classic!!!,
This review is from: The Desert Rats (DVD)
Richard Burton rises from pommy brass Captain to Lt. Colonel in 30 minutes. The rest of the film is a gritty classic in B/W with Burton playing off of a former schoolteacher who is now part of the Australian Army, and a battalion that Burton ends up commanding. In the end, he wins the love and devotion of the Aussies (would you expect less) in a desert warfare classic.
I would have liked to see more balance with coverage of Rommel and his forces, equally distinguished desert warriors, but that is hardly a criticism of a film that stands on its Allied own. And I higly recommend it for your war classics collection--and it even stars a young great actor in his early prime, Richard Burton!
Excellent but dated,
This review is from: Desert Rats, The (DVD)
Excellent movies - not 5 stars only because of time - when made it would have gotten 10 stars.
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Summary: The Desert Rats follows a band of Australians as they struggle to hold their position against the ever-increasing Nazi presence in North Africa in 1941.