Sahara (1943)

Directed by Zoltan Korda

This is one of many movies Humphrey Bogart did in the 1942 to 1944 period. The most notable, of course, was Casablanca. This one, Sahara, is another story set in the middle of World War II, when it was made.

It’s essentially an action-adventure story with a couple of set propagandist scenes to stir up the country for the war effort.

Humphrey Bogart plays Humphrey Bogart as a tank commander. This means he does the Bogie business of sucking the teeth, sucking a smoke, being cantankerously tough and quite heroic.

In terms of acting, this one wasn’t much of a stretch for him.

Humphrey Bogart in Sahara.

Stefan Kanfer in his book Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart argues that Bogart was an actor who needed a director.

Without strong direction, Bogart fell too easily into what worked for him in previous movies, the end result seeming as if he mailed in his performance.

While Sahara is not a great movie, and despite the obvious audience manipulation, it’s still a good action film though perhaps not for everyone. It’s solidly a war movie. (I don’t recall having seen one woman in it.)

A band of allies make a stand against the Nazis in the desert and come out on top despite incredible odds, but not without their losses.

Humphrey Bogart in Sahara.

Shot in black and white, the movie manages to communicate a gritty quality that is appropriate for the film (some of which actually comes across due to some poor film elements).

Some scenes, particularly stock footage, are quite poor though overall the image is average to good (given its age).

Sahara is a far cry from the best Bogart films, and it’s far from a standout performance from Bogie, but it’s enjoyable in its way though perhaps more for those who are Humphrey Bogart fans or war film buffs.

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