Release Year: 1967
Director: Arthur Hiller
Writer: Leo V. Gordon
Starring: Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Nigel Green, Guy Stockwell, Jack Watson, Percy Herbert, Norman Rossington, Liam Redmond, Heidy Hunt, Leo Gordon
Rating: Nominated for 1 Oscar: Best Special Effects.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #249, week 13 2019
A Canadian POW major (Rock Hudson) is rescued by a British military unit consisting of German Jews in order to help lead and attack Tobruk in Libya, the fuel depot of the Nazi desert forces.
In 1942 Rommel’s German troops were on the brink of gaining control of the whole of North Africa. Tobruk tells the (not historically correct) last desperate attempt to halt the progress of the German general nicknamed The Desert Fox. Hudson (Giant, 1957) stars as the Canadian POW who is rescued from captivity in order to lend his expertise for a tricky operation to enter the harbour town of Tobruk unnoticed and cut of Rommel’s fuel supply. The unit selected to perform the task consists of British soldiers and German Jews fighting for the Allied Forces. The idea is that the Germans pose as Nazis and bring the British with them into Tobruk as POWs. On the way to Tobruk, there is plenty of infight between the soldiers. The tensions between varies characters and fractions makes it even more admirable that they are willing to follow order to the death, if necessary, along side people they hardly know or trust. Matters are further complicated when two British spies are picked up in the desert and it becomes apparent that there is a traitor among the German Jewish soldiers. The film culminated in a gripping and action-filled battle. With good performances all around, a well-written script, and a combination of solid action and tense drama, this is a good World War II movie, although it is mostly appealing to those who already like war films.
The actual raid on Tobruk 13-14 September 1942 had many of the elements shown in the film but was a complete failure for the Allied forces.
Parts of the film was edited and reused in the Richard Burton film Raid on Rommel (1971).
Screenwiter Leo Gordon was also an actor and usually played homicidal villains and murderous characters. Sgt. Krug, His part in the film was one of the few times he played a good guy.
Picture Copyright: UIP