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  • If you can accept the fact that Victor McLaglen is running an Irish Pub in Bengazi, Libya during the post World War II years, you'll swallow anything. Other than the fact that alcohol is forbidden to Moslems, I'm sure he's doing a great business.

    He and Richard Conte hear of a proposition from escaped convict Richard Erdman about some treasure buried in a mosque in the middle of the desert, they take off looking for it. Of course at the same time, Scottish police inspector Richard Carlson and McLaglen's daughter Mala Powers also go looking for them.

    They all wind up with a lot of angry Bedouins shooting at them. I mean they are trying to rob the tribe. How rude of the Bedouins to object.

    Bengazi played the bottom half of double bills when it came out and I'm sure the audience was praying for the main feature to start.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***SPOILERS*** Boring and sleep addicting film that has you struggle to stay awake to see it through to it's final and totally mind numbing conclusion. It, the film "Benghazi", has something to do with buried gold in the middle of the Libyan Desert that it's rightful owners a local Bedouin tribe seemed to have totally forgotten about. That's until some 10 years later when the just released from prison Selby, Richard Erdman, together with American far away from home, Buffalo NY, John Gillmore, Richard Conte with and without his shirt on, put their heads together and planned to recover it. It was Selby while a member of the British 8th Army in WWII in Libya who had stolen the gold from the Bedouin tribe and buried it a an abandoned and bombed out Mosque. Now together the two plan to grab the gold and check out of the country and start better lives for themselves playing craps & black jack on the gambling tables in Moneco.

    There's also the Irish bar owner Robert Emmett "Wild Bill" Donovan, Victor McLaglen, who's been estranged from his wife and daughter for some 15 years. It's when his daughter Aileen, Maia Powers, while on a pleasure cruse in the Mediterranean check into town that things started getting a bit serious between the cast of characters in the movie. Papa Bill got very guilt ridden in what he did by leaving both wife and daughter out in the cold and Aileen got very serious with American fortune hunter, for the Beouin gold, Gillmore and the top cop in town Insp. Levering, a Scotsman no less, played by the murdering his Scottish accent Richard Carson got very interested in what Gillmore & Selby were up to as well. That while he was as getting romantically interested in Aileen Donovan!

    ***SPOILERS*** movie limped along to it's final conclusion with the cast trapped in the desert Masque surrounded by some 50 Bedouin tribesmen intent on massacring them. In the end the gold digging, who in fact dug the hidden gold up, Gillmore came to his senses after being shot and decided to return the gold to it's rightful owners the Bedouin tribesmen. Thus allowing everyone still alive in the Mosque to go free. The big surprise in the movie is why the Bedouin tribesmen didn't just ask Gillmore & Co. to return the gold to them in the first place! Since being surrounded with no hope of being rescued what choice did they have and what else could they have possibly done!
  • andy-34516 May 2003
    Warning: Spoilers
    In the first few minutes Bengazi earns a weak 4 rating and then gets worse.Richard Conte looks for gold in a desert and ends up finding that happiness is in his own back yard.On the way he meets characters suffering from improbable Scotch and Irish accents.Another of his difficulties is that, in a ruined building, he is being attacked by a band of desert nomads.He drives them off by firing a machine gun into the darkness of the night.Fortunately these nomads are not very smart (They attack the building on one side only - The side with the machine gun). Mini-spoiler coming: Warning to all minor characters - Never ever say what you want done with your body if you die. If you do so you will be dead before the end of the reel. A generous 2 rating.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    German-born director John Brahm marks time with the standard-issue adventure saga "Bengazi," starring Richard Conte, Victor McLaglen, Mala Powers, Richard Carlson and Richard Erdman. This dialogue-laden, sand-swept search for buried treasure in post World War II Libya is as contrived as its cardboard characters. RKO Radio Studios released "Bengazi" after "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) and it adheres to the greater good formula that "Treasure" established where the good guys lost their hard fought fortune to native elements. Scenarists Louis ("Villa!!") Vittes and Endre ("Twenty Bucks") Bohem have fleshed out one-time writer only Jeff Bailey's yarn and done little to make it either exciting or meaningful. The story is predictable, straightforward, but ultimately downbeat. The dialogue is--on the whole—of nothing worth quoting. Conte gets the best line when he encapsulates his character: "You know, the army grabbed me when I was a kid. Out of the army all that was left was a big wide open space in the middle of the road." The best thing about "Bengazi" is the ironic twist that allows our anti-hero hero to locate the loot.

    The physical production, on the contrary, is top-notch. Cinematographer Joseph Biroc, director Robert Aldritch's long-time lenser, makes "Bengazi" look better than it deserves with his widescreen 'Superscope' lens. Biroc's atmospheric black & white cinematography looks outstanding. Jack Okey's art direction deserves as much praise as Alfred E. Spencer's set decorations. The cast is capable, but they play trivial characters with which we have no sympathy. Whatever epic proportions "Bengazi" assumes in this trim 78 minute melodrama is due more to Biroc's black & white lensing than an action-packed plot.

    "Bengazi" opens with John Gilmore (Richard Conte of "The Violent Professionals") and Basim (Jay Novello of "The Conspirators") stealing a British Army lorry. Stiff-necked British Criminal Investigation Department Inspector Levering (Richard Carlson of "Flat Top" with a 'wee' Scots accent) organizes a search. He starts with Donovan's Bar owned by hulk-like Robert Emmett Donovan (Victor McLaglen of "The Informer") and Donovan assures Levering that he lives only for peace and quiet. When a brawl erupts during their conversation between other bar patrons, Donovan—in the most amusing moment in the movie—thunders at them at the top of his lungs to behave. They behave. Levering wants to see Donovan associate Gilmore. Gilmore picks that moment to saunter nonchalantly into the bar. Levering informs Gilmore about the consequences for theft of government vehicles. He inquires into Gilmore's whereabouts for the last couple of hours, and then quizzes him about the scratches on his hand. Gilmore invents a tale about a scrape with a blond, Nora Neilson (Hilary Brooke of "Invaders from Mars") who clawed him. Levering tries to question Ms. Neilson. Gilmore walks into her bedroom and explains to the Inspector that not only is Neilson a Swede but also that she doesn't speak English. Levering departs, and Neilson asks Gilmore where he has been for the last couple of hours.

    Selby (Richard Erdman of "Objective, Burma!") enters the story at this point as an unshaven, ex-army soldier on parole after having served two-and-a-half years in prison for nearly killing a Bedouin. The Army gave him a chance to leave the country, but he refused and his refusal has always bothered Levering. Selby is just being released after serving a three month sentence for violating his parole. What's more, Levering worries about Selby's interest in the desert. He assigns a policeman, James Macmillan (Albert Carrier of "Major Dundee"), to watch Selby day and night.

    Meanwhile, Gilmore and Selby rendezvous quietly at a barber's chair in an open-air market and then relocate to a sauna where Gilmore doesn't plan to put himself at risk for Selby. Anyway, Selby assures Gilmore that the gold is buried at a mosque in the desert where the Arabs hid it during British General Montgomery's push during World War II. They agree to leave at midnight. The last character to appear in the first half of the movie is Aileen Donovan (Mala Powers of "Rage at Dawn"), Donovan's daughter that he hasn't seen in fifteen years. Levering confronts her at the point of embarkation, scrutinizes her papers and has boys carry her luggage.

    Meantime, a suspicious Donovan checks Basim's stable. He discovers the pinched lorry from a pool of motor oil on the floor. Donovan confronts Gilmore about the lorry. Gilmore cuts him in for a third of "tribal gold buried somewhere out in the desert." When they leave for the desert, Gilmore and Donovan learn Selby has murdered Macmillan. "Bengazi" lumbers off to a slow start, but Brahm does an adequate enough job of peeling back the layers of the plot like skin off an onion. Finally, Macmillan's murder heightens the drama as much as Aileen's appearance brightened the action. Now, Levering must pursue them.

    About forty minutes later, when our protagonists reach the isolated mosque, the Bedouins pin them down with rifle fire. Not even the machine gun in the lorry can stand off this army of hidden tribesmen. Of course, it doesn't help that Gilmore wastes his limited supply of ammunition on targets he cannot see. Selby becomes the first on-screen casualty, forty-two minutes into the action. Eventually, Levering and Aileen show up in a plane. They land when they see Donovan's signal fire, and the Bedouins destroy their aircraft, trapping them with Gilmore and Donovan at the mosque. Levering takes a slug in the leg. The villains here are largely unseen Bedouin tribesmen. They're crack shots with rifles and know how to conceal themselves. They pick off Donovan about sixty minutes into the story. In other words, the Bedouins constitute a phantom army until they emerge in numbers late in the final quarter hour. Earlier, Carlson antagonized the protagonists before he joined their ranks to survive a massive Bedouin attack. Gilmore redeems himself for his greed at a fadeout with a selfless act of sacrifice.

    The protagonists don't win in "Bengazi," they barely survive.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Minor Spoilers *** Filmed in SUPERSCOPE, according to the opening credits! definition and history at Richard Conte and Victor McLaglen were pretty big stars, for their day.... McLaglen had won the Oscar for "The Informer" waaaay back in 1935. Here, Gillmore (Conte) and Donovan (McLaglen) team up to find the buried gold in the desert hills of Libya. After snitching a truck, the group, including Donovan's daughter (Mala Powers) end up in the middle of Libya to find the buried gold... "somewhere" in the desert. A plot-hole for me was the time and expense the army spent on looking for a stolen truck, out in a huge desert. and did no-one try to talk the daughter out of heading into the desert, where they might be locating and removing stolen gold? I guess the policeman Levering wanted to follow her to see where dad had gone to. maybe he thought she would be able to talk her dad out of causing more harm ? anyway...moving on.

    Some scenes were filmed in the deserts of Yuma and around the Salton Sea, California. The ending was almost a little too "fairy-tale-ish"... i wondered if the book ended the same way, or had been made more viewer-friendly for the audiences at the time. What we end up with seems a little unlikely... but whatever. This 1955 version does not seem to be at all related to the Italian, 1942 film "Bengasi". Directed by John Brahm, who had worked extensively with Hitchcock. Bengazi is pretty good. Only 4.9 rating on IMDb, but that's after about a hundred votes so far. It must have been pretty exotic for the viewer to think maybe they were seeing the real deserts of Libya.
  • Our protagonists meet at a gin joint located in North Africa. With some jaunty piano music playing in the background, they trade lines. It might remind you of another film starring Bogie.

    The local police authority tries to intervene in the plot, working from his noirish office, where a desk fan casts long shadows.

    The female lead, played by Mala Powers, sports an accent and some resemblance to Ingrid Bergman.

    Eventually, the action moves from its Casablanca-like setting to the middle of the vast desert, where an old mosque is being swallowed by the sands next to a small oasis. It's treasure they seek.

    Greed drives this vehicle about selfishness and sacrifice and what might even be love. The "action", if we can call it that, is sparse. The actors are less than compelling. And the plot of this second feature offers no one you might consider a hero.