Published on July 3rd, 2012 | by Chris0
The Desert Rats (1953)
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.
The Desert Rats
In his second Hollywood role (between Oscar-nominated turns in My Cousin Rachel and The Robe), Richard Burton stars as a Scottish commando put in charge of a battalion of the 9th Australian Division defending Tobruk…
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: FOX Home Entertainment
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Original Release Date:
- Richard Burton
- James Mason
- Robert Newton
- Robert Douglas
- Torin Thatcher
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.