Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

Five Graves to Cairo (1943), directed by Billy Wilder.

Quick changes in this film: a tank without a driver in the trackless desert, then a sole survivor crawling to an isolated town. Wait, will it be a farce? To evade the Germans he pretends to be a waiter at the hotel, but it turns out the real waiter was a German agent. Which is dangerous but a chance for quality spying.

It turns darker. Anne Baxter (age 20 and looking it) is a French woman who will do anything for the German officers to get her brother out of prison. Sex work? Betrayal of a British soldier in hiding?

In some ways it's similar to a wartime romantic comedy thriller like Night Train to Munich (1940), but we have fewer laughs and no happy ending.

We see the legend of Rommel already in effect, almost contemporary with the events. Erich von Stroheim plays him as rather Prussian.

Wilder's second American film. Miklós Rózsa score.

Turner DVD-R. I could have used subtitles; the cast uses thick German, French and Arabic accents. Franchot Tone briefly attempts a British accent and then gives up; just as well.