Cast & Crew
Antoine Vallin, the owner of an oasis in Africa, is involved in smuggling gold across the desert for delivery to European currency merchants. Certain merchants, alarmed that the price of gold is falling, hire a gunman, Pérez, to put an end to Antoine's venture by hijacking the next shipment. Pérez then employs two attractive adventuresses, the hard-drinking, war widow Françoise Lignières and journalist Karine Salstroem, to spy on Antoine as they journey together on a steamer from Marseilles to Casablanca, where Antoine is to meet the camel caravan that will transport more of the gold. During the voyage, Antoine and Karine become lovers, but Juan, Antoine's associate in Morocco, learns of the plot against him and tries to warn him. When Karine finds out about Juan's intentions, she informs Pérez. After the trio arrives in Marrakesh, one of Pérez' agents kills Juan before he can reach Antoine. Françoise, never having intended to become involved in murder, tells Karine that she wants to abandon their assignment. As Karine is now in love with Antoine and fears competition from the beautiful Françoise, she encourages Françoise to return to France. Later, although Antoine becomes suspicious of Karine and is beginning to fall in love with Françoise, he decides to take Karine with him to find the man in charge of a camel caravan, which is about to leave with a cargo of gold. When Françoise realizes that Pérez intends to kill Antoine, she tries to get word to him through the camel driver, but the driver is killed before he can inform Antoine. After Karine drugs Antoine, she, Pérez and his men take over the caravan and start to unload the valuable cargo. Upon recovering, Antoine, a former pilot, takes off in his old plane, flying low in order to stampede the camels. Karine and Pérez are killed in the stampede. When Antoine lands, Françoise rushes into his arms and they begin a new life together.
Hubert De Givenchy
Darryl F. Zanuck
Oasis was produced in German and French-language versions only. The English-language version eventually exhibited in the U.S. and Great Britain was a shortened (by sixteen minutes) dubbed version of the French-language release. According to the April 20, 1955 Variety review of the German version, titled Oase, Carl Raddatz portrayed "Antoine Vallin" and Pierre Brasseur, who played that role in the simultaneously shot French version, played a brief role as a doctor.
Because no copies of any of the versions were available for viewing, the summary above is based upon a studio synopsis and reviews of the English-language version released in the U.S. The film was not registered for copyright protection in the U.S. New York Times and Hollywood Reporter news items of September 10, 1954 reported that Darryl F. Zanuck, Twentieth Century-Fox production chief, had finalized arrangements for Oasis to be shot in Morocco in German and French-language versions. Studio documents indicate that Twentieth Century-Fox entered into a partnership with Roxy-Film GMBH, Munich, whereby Fox supplied 75% of the film's projected $814,000 budget and the German company supplied 25%. The extent of the participation of a French company, Criterion Films, in the film's production has not been determined. Zanuck made this, and other similar deals, to persuade European producers to make more extensive use of the studio's new CinemaScope process.
According to modern French sources, Savin Couelle and Max Schaffner were part of the art direction crew and Robert Christides contributed to set decoration. The Variety review credits photography of the German version to Adolphe Charlet although he was the camera operator for Roger Hubert, who is credited with photography on the French and English-language versions. The review also mentions that French actress Michèle Morgan was dubbed in the German version and that her character is killed with the others in the camel stampede. A modern French source implies that she was also killed in the French version. Contemporary German sources credit Fritz Rotter with "dialogue" and add Bechara, Helmut Weiss, Herbert Weicker, Paul Montis and Hans Morhat to the cast, but the contribution of Rotter to the completed picture and the appearance of the actors in the finished film have not been confirmed. Studio records indicate that Hans Jacoby wrote an early treatment for the film.
According to documents in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection in the AMPAS Library, the PCA found the characterization of the leading man unacceptable because his smuggling activities go unpunished. The PCA believed that this could be overcome by simply dropping the two references to smuggling, thereby implying that "Antoine" is merely transporting the gold.
The Variety review indicates that Oase ran 95 minutes when it opened in Germany in March 1955. According to a modern French source, Oasis ran 100 minutes at its Paris premiere in April 1955. The English-language version, running 84 minutes, opened in London, England in March 1956, but was not reviewed by Hollywood trade press until January 1957. Oasis played in Los Angeles as second feature to The True Story of Jesse James in March 1957 and appears not to have opened in New York until July 1960 when the New York Times review complained of the "inanities of the script" and noted that "Twentieth Century-Fox, which financed this early European foray into CinemaScope five years ago, would have been better advised to leave it in mothballs."