Sand, Heat and Desperation.
Taken from the 1964 novel of the same name by Elleston Trevor (The Quiller Memorandum), this is a true post war classic film. Directed by Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) he brings us a vision of despair, fortitude, hope and hard decisions brought to you by a stellar cast. Sit on the edge of your seat and watch the Masters of Cinema #149.
Post-war Libya and it is oil time and pilot Fran Towns (James Stewart, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much) is piloting Arabco’s twin-engine Fairchild C-82 Packet cargo plane flying from Jaghbub to Benghazi along with his navigator Lew (Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park, Ice Cold in Alex, The Great Escape).
Flying along with them are oil workers and some British army personnel consisting of Capt. Harris (Peter Finch, Sund Bloody Sunday)) and Sgt. Watson (Ronald Fraser, The Wild Geese) of the British Army; Dr. Renaud (Christian Marquand, The Longest Day), a physician; Heinrich Dorfmann (Hardy Krüger, A Bridge to Far), a German aeronautical engineer; Mr. Standish (Dan Duryea, Winchester73), an oil company accountant; and several oil workers that include Trucker Cobb (Ernest Borgnine, The Wild Bunch, Escape From New York), a mentally-disturbed foreman; Ratbags Crow (Ian Bannen, The Hill), a mean-spirited, sardonic Scot; Carlos (Alex Montoya, The Appaloosa) and his pet monkey; and Gabriel (Gabriele Tinti, Rider on the Rain).
Towns and Lew know that these old flying crates always have something wrong with them and today’s little niggles are a broken radio and faulty regulators, as a nervous Lew takes the controls whilst Towns goes to check on something Lew had spotted. But when Towns gets back there is a new problem, a sandstorm. They are soon surrounded and have to go with the flow until one of the engines fails and they have to set the plain down.
With no radio to call for help, they work out that they were blown way off course to be in the search area of search planes.
They have plenty of food even if it is dates, but it is the water, with 10 – 15 days worth, which will cause the most problems.
Morale is always a killer and sitting around doing nothing in the blistering heat of the day and it is Dorfmann that has a mad idea of pulling the plane apart and rebuilding it as a single engined plane as the parts are compatible with his plan.
There are issues between Towns and Dorfmann, maybe it is post-war prejudices but for the morale of the men he begrudgingly agrees.
How will the men deal with the huge task ahead and survive the heat of the day and the cold of the night, will they survive the hostile locals?
Now on Blu-ray and comes with a host of special features and a new 18 page booklet.