Great ensemble piece
Recently saw this on TV. I tuned in on a whim and was delighted I did.
It features a really good line up of mid 50's talent and some lustrous
black and white photography. It seemed to me a forerunner of the later
"mission" movies which became the norm for WW2 films in the following
There were a couple of hard hitting -for the time- action sequences,
which were crisply filmed and edited. There was a smattering of
officers v men tension, mostly supplied by Attenborough in his cheeky
chappy guise. And a fantastic sequence of a lone British soldier
waiting by his machine gun for German half-tracks to appear over the
crest of the dunes.
My only slight problem with the film is the heroic display by one of
the officers towards the end. It felt like a throwback to earlier, more
genteel values, not in keeping with the tone of the rest of the piece.
Apart from that, well worth a look. Would make an good double bill with
De Toth's later Play Dirty..
An underrated, well-acted, British war genre movie
Sea of Sand ( Desert Patrol ) is seldom mentioned in the context of great
British war movies but deserves to be since it is an underrated and well
acted example of the genre ( and, incidentally, one of my favourite films ).
The movie at one and the same time, conforms to the
familiar aspects of the genre but also manages to put a \'spin\' on them since
the subject matter - the experiences of the volunteer Long-Range Desert
Squadron who operated independently far behind enemy lines - allows for
characters who are more than familiar war-movie stereotypes.
The cast are uniformally excellent, especially veteran character player
Percy Herbert whose death scene is extremely moving. Clashes of class, rank
and experience are familiar elements from other films
of the genre but are here rendered a little more interesting and
unpredictable. Director Guy Green never made his mark but on the evidence of
Sea of Sand had plenty of talent and was good at getting the most out of his
actors. Simple heroics are eschewed - though heroism is at the core of the
film\'s denouement and anyone who derives pleasure from seeing British acting
staples like Michael Craig, John Gregson, Richard Attenborough and Percy
Herbert have a treat in store..