Bengazi


1h 19m 1955
Bengazi

Brief Synopsis

Three shady characters team up to search for Nazi gold in the African desert.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
Flight from Bengazi
Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Crime
Release Date
Sep 14, 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Panamint Pictures, Inc.; RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Yuma Desert, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.00 : 1
Film Length
7,095ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

One night in Bengazi, Libya, American exile Johnny Gilmore and his Arab cohort Basim sneak into a British government compound and steal a truck. The next day, Scottish-born Inspector Levering of the Criminal Investigation Department drops by a bar owned by Johnny and Robert Emmet Donovan, his hard-drinking Irish partner. Levering suspects that Johnny and Donovan, known gunrunners and schemers, are behind the truck robbery, but they both deny any involvement. Levering then questions English convict Selby, who is awaiting release from jail after serving a few months for parole violations. Levering asks Selby why he violated parole and went twice to the desert, but Selby refuses to answer. After he is released, Selby meets Johnny in a steambath and informs him that the truck is to be used to transport gold out of the Sahara. Selby explains that, during the war, Arabs stashed the gold in a deserted mosque and he intends to claim it with Johnny's help. Later, at the airport, Levering interrogates Donovan's daughter Aileen, who has just arrived from Dublin. Aileen is unaware of her father's activities and is annoyed by Levering's questions. Meanwhile, Donovan, who is not in on Selby's deal, learns where the truck is being kept and threatens to expose Johnny to Levering unless he includes him in the scheme. Johnny agrees, then is pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Aileen. Not having seen his daughter in fifteen years, Donovan also is startled by Aileen, but embraces her with love. That evening, Donovan tells Aileen that he has to accompany Johnny to the desert because the younger man has threatened to expose Donovan's criminal past unless he helps out with an illegal scheme. Concerned, Aileen talks privately with Johnny, insisting that he leave her father alone, but Johnny merely kisses her in response. Aileen slaps Johnny, then sees Levering, who has come by the bar to ask her for a date and offer his help. Aileen considers telling Levering about Johnny and her father, but stops herself. Before departing in the truck with Johnny and Selby, Donovan gives Aileen a plane ticket to Tripoli, promising to join her there soon. While stopped in the desert, Selby reveals that he murdered a policeman who was following him, prompting Johnny to slug him in frustration. Donovan breaks up the ensuing scuffle and reminds them of their mission. Later, in Bengazi, Levering demands that Aileen tell him where her father went and, when she refuses to answer, orders her not to leave Bengazi. The next day, in the desert, a police airplane flies overhead, but Johnny, Donovan and Selby cover the truck with a white sheet, obscuring it in the sand. Soon after, in Bengazi, Levering's underling, Walsh, reports that the truck has not been spotted, so Levering tells Aileen she is free to go. Back in the desert, the men finally reach the mosque, and while Johnny and Donovan are drinking from a water hole in a nearby oasis, Selby steals into the mosque. Moments later, however, Selby stumbles out and collapses, a knife stuck in his back. While Johnny hunts for Selby's attacker, Donovan stays with Selby and tries to get him to reveal the gold's location. Selby dies, however, and Johnny, aware that the assailant is a Bedouin, sets up a machine-gun on the mosque wall, anticipating an assault by the entire tribe. Shots are fired at them and, although they cannot see their attackers, Johnny and Donovan respond with machine-gun fire. A stalemate soon is reached, and the next morning, Johnny and Donovan discover that their truck is gone. At the Bengazi airport, meanwhile, Levering intercepts Aileen as she is about to depart for Tripoli and orders her to fly with him to the desert. When Donovan sees the plane approaching, he sets a fire to attract attention. As soon as the plane lands, the Bedouins shoot at it, causing a gas tank explosion that kills Walsh, the pilot. Levering, Aileen and Peters, another officer, dash to the mosque, where Johnny and a stunned Donovan admit they have food but no water. Parched and angry, Aileen risks her life to reach the water hole, followed by Johnny. There, Aileen questions Johnny about his life, and he admits that he stayed in Africa after the war because he feared the boredom of his home town. That night, a guilt-ridden Donovan runs from the mosque to draw fire, so that Johnny and Aileen can get back to the mosque. As the Bedouins fire on Donovan, Johnny and Aileen scurry back to the mosque, but Donovan is killed. After Donovan is buried, the Bedouins resume their attack, and Levering is shot in the leg while going for the machine-gun. Despite his injury, Levering gets to the machine-gun and quiets the Bedouins momentarily. While Aileen bandages his wound, Levering talks wistfully about his childhood in Scotland and is about to propose marriage when the Bedouins again fire on them. Johnny responds with a few machine-gun shots, then reveals that they are out of ammunition. Sure they are doomed, Aileen and Johnny confess their love for each other. Early the next morning, Johnny finds Peters shot to death and starts to bury him inside the mosque. While digging, he discovers the gold-filled box and, ignoring the cries of Aileen and Levering, carries it outside. Although the Bedouins shoot him in the shoulder, Johnny keeps staggering toward them, finally offering them the gold in exchange for Aileen's and Levering's lives. At the mosque, Aileen weeps for Johnny, then is overjoyed when the Bedouins appear on the horizon, leading Johnny back, along with the truck. After Levering tells Aileen that she and Johnny are free to go, Aileen runs to embrace Johnny.

Film Details

Also Known As
Flight from Bengazi
Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Crime
Release Date
Sep 14, 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Panamint Pictures, Inc.; RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Yuma Desert, Arizona, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.00 : 1
Film Length
7,095ft (9 reels)

Articles

Bengazi


This recycling of plot points from Casablanca (1942), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Lost Patrol (1934), and Desert Nights (1929) - whose adaptor, Endre Bohem, shares a writing credit here - was the work of reliable director John Brahm. The German émigré had kicked off his film career with a 1938 remake of D.W. Griffith's silent Broken Blossoms and he made a reputation for himself in Hollywood by remaking existing films and giving tired formulas a stylish brush-up. Following the success of Universal's The Wolf Man (1941), Brahm helmed the 20th Century Fox copycat The Undying Monster (1942) before turning his attention to a 1944 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger. Brahm eventually drifted to television but not before banging out this second feature for RKO Radio Pictures. In Bengazi (1955), Richard Conte and Victor McLaglen play expatriate gunrunners whose scheme to salvage a cache of Nazi gold from a ruined Muslim temple deep in the Libyan desert is upset by the arrival of McLaglen's daughter (Mala Powers) and an attack by angry Bedouins. Richard Carlson costars as a Scottish inspector who is determined to put the partners out of business but who must join forces with them in order to make it out of Bengazi alive. The film was photographed by Joseph Biroc, who later became Robert Aldrich's cinematographer-of-choice (Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Flight of the Phoenix, Ulzana's Raid) and capped his distinguished career with such Hollywood send-ups as Blazing Saddles (1974) and Airplane! (1980).

By Richard Harland Smith
Bengazi

Bengazi

This recycling of plot points from Casablanca (1942), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Lost Patrol (1934), and Desert Nights (1929) - whose adaptor, Endre Bohem, shares a writing credit here - was the work of reliable director John Brahm. The German émigré had kicked off his film career with a 1938 remake of D.W. Griffith's silent Broken Blossoms and he made a reputation for himself in Hollywood by remaking existing films and giving tired formulas a stylish brush-up. Following the success of Universal's The Wolf Man (1941), Brahm helmed the 20th Century Fox copycat The Undying Monster (1942) before turning his attention to a 1944 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger. Brahm eventually drifted to television but not before banging out this second feature for RKO Radio Pictures. In Bengazi (1955), Richard Conte and Victor McLaglen play expatriate gunrunners whose scheme to salvage a cache of Nazi gold from a ruined Muslim temple deep in the Libyan desert is upset by the arrival of McLaglen's daughter (Mala Powers) and an attack by angry Bedouins. Richard Carlson costars as a Scottish inspector who is determined to put the partners out of business but who must join forces with them in order to make it out of Bengazi alive. The film was photographed by Joseph Biroc, who later became Robert Aldrich's cinematographer-of-choice (Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Flight of the Phoenix, Ulzana's Raid) and capped his distinguished career with such Hollywood send-ups as Blazing Saddles (1974) and Airplane! (1980). By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Flight from Bengazi. Although a March 28, 1955 Los Angeles Times news item states that John Tucker Battle wrote the original screenplay for the picture, no other source lists him, and his contribution to the completed film, if any, has not been determined. A May 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item lists Suzanne Ridgeway as a cast member, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a mid-September 1955 Hollywood Citizen-News news item, desert scenes were shot in the Yuma Desert in Arizona, where an Arab mosque was constructed. Panamint Pictures was co-owned by producers Sam Wiesenthal and Eugene Tevlin.