Black SplatSahara (1943)

"Stick around if you want, Let the Nazis mop you up. You can spend the rest of the war in a prison camp in Berlin."

Sahara - Sgt. Joe Gunn of the US Tank Corps

Description: Humphrey Bogart as Sgt. Joe Gunn gives a stranded British soldier a piece of his mind in the motion picture Sahara (1943).

Sgt. Joe Gunn is the leader of U.S. tank detachment Unit 5 stationed in North Africa during World War Two. After the fall of Tobruk, Gunn heads south across the Sahara desert in search of Allied troops.

When Sgt. Gunn comes upon five British soldiers, one of the Brits says,"You won't get anywhere in that old scow. As soon as it's daylight, they'll blast the gizzards out of her."

In his defense, Gunn replies, "Oh, I'm sorry you feel that way about her. She's a good tank, a tank with a full crew got a lot better chance of that a bunch of men on foot."

"That's a matter of opinion," the Brit responds, "I'd sooner stick it out here that run away in a tin hearse." Sgt. Gunn takes umbrage to his remark and says:

"Now wait a minute professor. There's just three things wrong with that statement. First, were not running away, we're obeying orders. Second. She's not made of tin. And third, She's no hearse. She's an M-3 air-cooled job that can cross two hundred miles of desert as easily as you'd walk around that Piccadilly Circus of yours I don't want to stand here arguing with you. Stick around if you want, Let the Nazis mop you up. You can spend the rest of the war in a prison camp in Berlin. But not me. When I go into Berlin I'm going to riding that tank. The same one that's standing there with the name Lulu Belle written on her. I'm sorry I blew just now, cept that crack the guy made about my tank, kinda burned me. She's a good tank. I'll tell you once again. We just got it over the radio we're surrounded and the only way out is south. That's the way we're going."

The Brits change their mind and follow. During their journey across the Libyan desert, the tank unit collects additional passengers, including a French soldier and a Sudanese soldier with an Italian prisoner named Guiseppe (J. Carroll Naish) and Captain von Schletow (Kurt Kreuger) a German pilot shot down during a strafing gun on Gunn's party.

Sahara - Guiseppe, an Italian soldier pleads for mercy

At one point, Sgt. Joe Gunn decides to abandon the Italian in the desert. The soldier follows behind pleading and shortly Gunn welcomes the Italian back in his group.

Guiseppe's fire for battle has long since gone out and he tells his new comrades of his dislike for Germany's leader and explains the differences in ideology between his own Italian soldiers and those of the Nazi regime:

“But are my eyes blind that I must fall to my knees to worship a maniac who has made of my country a concentration camp, who has made of my people slaves? Must I kiss the hand that beats me, lick the boot that kicks me, no! I rather spend my whole life living in this dirty hole than escape to fight again for things I do not believe against people I do not hate. As for your Hitler, it's because of a man like him that God - my God - created hell!"

"Italians are not like Germans—only the body wears the uniform and not the soul! Mussolini is not so clever like Hitler. He can dress his Italians up only to look like thieves, cheats, murderers. He cannot, like Hitler, make them feel like that. He cannot, like Hitler scrape from the conscience the knowledge that right is right and wrong is wrong, or dig holes in their heads to plant his own ten commandments: Steal from thy neighbor! Cheat thy neighbor! Kill thy Neighbor!"

In search of water, Gunn finds a well but it has but a mere trickle. Aa German scouting party arrives to claim the well so Gunn negotiates "water for food" and "water for guns" deals until the standoff ends and a fight ensues that kills many on both sides.

Sahara - Sgt. Joe Gunn fires on the Germans

As the soldiers fought, their prisoner, Captain von Schletow escapes but is killed by Sudanese Sgt. Tambul (Red Ingram). Earlier, the Captain had called Tambul a 'nigger" Disgusted, Gunn told the arrogant Nazi to "Wipe that smile off your puss or I’ll knock your teeth through the top of your head."

Gunn and his surviving troops win the battle for the water hole as the thirsty Germans surrender and crawl to get a drink from the well. Ironically, one of the shells fired in the struggle exposed a large pool of water beneath the surface and so Gunn disarmed the Germans, and shared the water with his enemy captives.

Later, with prisoners in tow, Gunn continues his march and soon encounters Allied Troops and learns that Rommels Afrika Korps has been routed at El Alamein.

Sahara - Movie Poster

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