It may not be a very good film, but as Raymond Durgnat demonstrates in A Mirror for England, it's an interesting account of 'Britain's sense of inferiority in the post war world'. After the fall of Tobruk in World War II, a battle-fatigued army captain (Mills), a sergeant-major (Andrews) and two nurses drive an ambulance back to Alexandria. On the way they pick up a Dutch South African officer (Quayle) who does everything brilliantly. He's pointedly tougher and more sensible than the suicidally, and manslaughterously, hysteric captain. He's pointedly stronger than the strong sergeant-major, and he's also, it seems, a brilliant diplomat (twice persuading ugly-looking panzers who've captured them to release them). Even when they've found out that he's a German spy, they reckon he's a decent chap as well, having saved their lives several times over. So they save his, by pretending he wasn't in Allied uniform when they caught him. The capability ranking is unmistakeable: Germans or colonial, top; loyal NCO, next; English officer last.
Cast and crew
J Lee Thompson
TJ Morrison, Christopher Landon
John Mills Harry Andrews Anthony Quayle Sylvia Syms Diane Clare Richard Leech Liam Redmond