The Desert Rats (1953)

Approved   |    |  Action, Adventure, Drama

The Desert Rats (1953) Poster

Richard Burton plays a Scottish Army officer put in charge of a disparate band of ANZAC troops on the perimeter of Tobruk with the German Army doing their best to dislodge them.


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19 April 2009 | freemantle_uk
| Old-skool War-film
The North Africa Campaign, the Siege of Tobruk and the Desert Rats all have an important place in the British and Australian Psyche during and after the Second World War, and it took less then 10 years after the war for a film about the Siege to be made.

In 1941 British and Australian troops had control of the fortress town of Tobruk in Libya. Tobruk gets surrounded by German and Italian troops as the Axis tries to take Egypt and the Suez Canal. The British high command order the Australian General Leslie Morshead to hold Tobruk for 2 months to disrupt the German supply lines. Morshead was a clever commander, trapping German tanks to make them useless and made his troops fight a tough guerrilla campaign. The main focus of the film is on a British officer, 'Tammy' MacRoberts who is given command of a fresh batch of Australian troops, including his former school master. He has to train his troops to get them ready for the battle and first the bitter war.

The acting isn't that good, the Australian accents were awful and it would have been easier if their casted Australian actors. As well their seem to be an American officer with the British and Australians ones, I don't know why? What makes the film work is the war scenes. They are well done and you get to feel the action and sweat of battle. The film is also a short, tort experience. Also there is an historical inaccuracy; the Desert Rats was the name for the 9th Armoured Division of the British Army, not the 7th Australian Army. However Rommel did call the army the rats of Tobruk.

Personally I would like to see a new film about the war in North Africa because their are many interesting stories and battles, from the Battle of El-Alamein, the story of Rommel and Montgomery, Operation Touch, the Birth of the SAS, etc... The Siege of Tobruk would also make an interesting story for a modern film.

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