30 January 2006 | Snow Leopard
Solid Drama With Interesting Settings & a Good Cast
Interesting settings and a good cast contribute significantly to this solid drama about intrigue in the desert during the Second World War. In features Gene Tierney in a role that, while perhaps slightly oddly cast, makes particularly good use of her elegant beauty, and also gives her a good variety of material to work with.
The story starts with George Sanders, as a by-the-book British official, sent to take over a desert outpost previously run in a rather lax manner by Bruce Cabot's character. The two have to work out their disagreements over native policy while tracking down an Axis plot to supply arms to unfriendly natives. Tierney comes in as a half-Arab, half-English owner of an extensive trading network, bequeathed to her by her father. Both sides are naturally eager to have her work with them.
It's a good setup, and in general it makes good use of it. There are some good action scenes, but there is also some substance in the character development and in the cross-cultural interactions. The pace is steady, though it might miss a couple of good opportunities to switch into high gear, since there is never a feeling of any particular urgency until quite close to the end.
Sanders and Tierney are both in very good form, which is almost enough in itself to make the movie worth seeing. The story is good, and there is hardly a moment when something of interest is not going on.