1950s The Desert Rats (1953)

Published on July 3rd, 2012 | by Chris

0

The Desert Rats (1953)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On July 3, 2012
Last modified:October 3, 2012

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.


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 Desert Rats, The
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Description

A British captain leads an Australian division against Field Marshal Rommel in Tobruk. Directed by Robert Wise.

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTMNT
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Richard Burton
  • James Mason
  • Robert Newton
  • Robert Douglas
  • Torin Thatcher

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Film About A Classic War Story That is Quite Accurately Told., October 8, 2013
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This review is from: Desert Rats, The (DVD)
I knew what I was getting when I ordered it. It is from a diffirent era of movie making. Many of the British actors fought in WWII, and knew they were telling and important story that needed to be told right.They were great actors and they did exactly that.The story was one of the valor of all comprising that battle group, which eventually made its way down to the most frightened coward of the entire brave force; who, in the end gave his life to save his brothers in arms so they could live a little while longer.

The story is one of Strategy and Heroism, as great as that of the Spartans at Thermopillae. The Allied General was as smart as his German Counter Part, rightly figuring out Rommel's plans and tactics to effectively thwart or reduce the affects of Rommels attacks. The movie titles should be reversed. The Desert Fox should have been the Desert Rat, because this group of Aussies, Brits, etc. lived and fought out of foxholes holding off Rommel and his Afrika Corps for... Read more
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Character-Driven Film w/Guns Blazing!, February 13, 2010
By 
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This review is from: Desert Rats, The (DVD)
Desert Rats

This is a fictionalized story of the defense of Torbruk by a green band of Aussies under the command of a British commander, Tommy (played by Richard Burton).

The Aussies are green alright, and they're grousing about their Brit commander and though they try to do the right thing, they're often chastised by Tom. Tom is of the mind that disobedience to orders or to follow your heart, rather than being cold and calculating can mean death to the battalion.

Regardless, he softens a bit, especially with one of the men who used to be his school teacher back in the day, a man who admittedly is a coward, and who tries to guide Tom through this rough time.

James Mason reprises his role as Rommel, the supreme German commander. Mason does not get a lot of "air time" in this film, but when he does he does it so well. Unlike "Desert Fox", his commanding presence, and near perfect German is admiring.

The realistic war scenes, the... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great reenactment, daring commandos, realistic, really enjoyed watching history., February 15, 2015
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This review is from: The Desert Rats (Amazon Video)
Fantastic reenactment of the Siege of Tobruk at the Northern tip of Libya at the port of Tripoli in 1941. The Australian 9th Division outlasted Rommel for 242 days preventing him from overtaking the Suez Canal and choking off the vital supply port. These men were out numbered and out armed. So they went on nightly raids as deadly, ruthless commandos, in order to stifle and set back the enemy. Marvelous, realistic movie, filmed only 12 years after the actual event in the desert. It was a pleasure to watch actual history and not some glamorized, over done hollywood embellishment.
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The Desert Rats (1953) Chris

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.

3.5


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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