Rope of Sand

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I watched Rope of Sand on the TV of Sand, while sitting on the Futon of Sand. And slept through most of it, darn. So I got up early and watched it downstairs on the Computer of Sand. Much better.

No subtitles, though. What the hell. Well, I got the gist.

You'll notice something right away about this 1949 movie it reunites a bunch of actors from Casablanca: Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, and Paul Henreid. (Also, thanks to IMDB's collaboration search tool: Georges Renavent, uncredited in both movies.) Rains and Lorre play very similar characters to their Casablanca roles, Henreid very different. And according to IMDB:

Hal Wallis and screenwriter of "Rope of Sand" saw it as a re-teaming of Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. The producer of "Casablanca" did not get the stars but managed to recruit supporting players Claude Rains, Paul Henried, and Peter Lorre.

That would have been neat. We got Burt Lancaster and Corinne Calvet instead.

It's set in South Africa. Henreid plays Vogel, a sadistic mining company cop, dedicated to protecting the diamonds that poachers might retrieve out of the desolate company-owned forbidden zone. That's his job, but really, he just enjoys inflicting pain on people.

Then arrives a man Vogel tortured but failed to break years back: Mike Davis (Lancaster). He had found a fortune in diamonds out there in the desert wastes, but their secret location stayed with him.

In the background: company man Arthur Martingale (Rains), who despises Vogel but must keep him around. He gets acquainted with Suzanne (Calvet), variously described as a "Capetown trollop" and "French harlot". However, you just know that under about three inches of mud there beats a heart of gold. Martingale hires Suzanne to worm the diamonds' location from Mike.

There's a lot of betrayal, violence, sweating, sadism, smoking, cheating at cards, late-40s sex. If you can stay awake, it's a lot of fun.

Last Modified 2020-12-25 5:29 AM EST