Five Graves to Cairo Reviews
The story concerns resilient British Corporal J.J. Bramble (Franchot Tone of "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer") is the member of an Allied tank crew. Everybody in the armored vehicle is dead and the tank careens through the desert over one dune after another until Bramble regains consciousness and bails off it. Confused and delirious from his long walk in a broiling sun, he wanders aimlessly through the sands and finds himself at an oasis hotel. Unfortunately for Cpl. Bramble, the British have pulled out and the Afrika Korps are pulling in to occupy the joint as their new headquarters. The hotel owner Farid (Akim Tamiroff of "Topkapi") and his chambermaid Frenchwoman Mouche (Anne Baxter of "All About Eve) try to persuade Bramble to get out while he can. Bramble refuses to leave. He assures them that he will shot either as an enemy soldier or as one that they cannot afford to furnish water. While the Germans swarm into the hotel and dictate the new arrangements for the owners and the new boarders, Farid hides Bramble behind the registration counter. Later, Farid and Mouche watch in horror as the Germans move the counter to another spot in the room. Bramble remains hidden in the counter while all of this is transpiring. Bramble hears them talk about a waiter named Davos who worked for Farid. It seems that Davos died in an explosion. Bramble dons the waiter's uniform and slips into his shoes, shoes designed for a man with a clubfoot.
Surprisingly, the Germans seek out Davos because he is an elite German spy with a well-deserved reputation, but nobody knows him by face. Nevertheless, the Germans accept him as the spy and plan to infiltrate him into Cairo. Meanwhile, Bramble meets an opera-singing Italian general and plans to steal his automatic pistol so that he can shoot Rommel. Several British officers‚??now prisoners-of-war‚??are shown into Rommel's company. Farid warns Bramble that the British were well-acquainted with Davos and would recognize him without fail. Bramble makes contact with one British officer while serving him liquor and the officer orders Bramble not to kill Rommel. Later in the evening, Rommel sits down to dine with the captured British officers and answer their twenty questions. Afterward, he reveals that he posed as an archaeologist before the war and execrated five secret supply dumps, the "Five Graves to Cairo", for the conquest of Egypt. has buried armaments at five sites inside Egypt that will enable him to carry the fight to the British and capture Cairo. The tension in "Five Graves to Cairo" grows partially out of Bramble's masquerade as Davos and the reality that the real Davos lies dead and buried under the rubble under the cellar. Inquisitive Rommel aide Lieutenant Schwegler (Peter van Eyck) discovers Bramble's treachery during an RAF air raid. Bramble and he struggle and he kills Schwegler. Bramble is certain that the Germans will find out about him. One of the subplots deals with Mouche trying to obtain information about her only living brother in a German concentration camp. Schwegler takes advantage of her desperation to learn something, anything about her brother. She accepts blame for Schwegler's killing and the Germans smuggle Bramble as Davos off to Cairo. Bramble receives a promotion to a lieutenant in charge of a tank for his excellent undercover work.
This is a great film with some nail biting suspense!
Director Billy Wilder (who also co-wrote the screenplay) capitalized on this historic battle for his 2nd Hollywood film, FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO - which actually takes a fictionalized account of the behind-the-scenes events leading up to the actual battle itself. I think it's fascinating how the story in the film meshes with real life events and gives an added dimension to this wartime propaganda film...and as propaganda - the film succeeded in boosting morale of filmgoers at the time, I'm sure - but it's blend of drama, suspense and comedic moments ensure that moviegoers today will still find it a treat.
Corporal John Bramble (Franchot Tone) is the lone survivor of a british tank crew. During the opening credits we see a lone tank rumbling over sand dunes, apparently with it's accelerator stuck and the crew either dead or passed out. A half-conscious Bramble manages to climb up to the top hatch only to be ejected from the tank as it crests a dune. Bramble wanders the desert until he comes to a town deserted by it's inhabitants for fear of the advancing Nazis. Delirious from heat-stroke, Bramble mistakes a deserted inn for British headquarters. Inn-keeper Farid (Akim Tamiroff) and his french-born maid, Mouche (Anne Baxter) hears the noisy intruder in the lobby and investigates. Farid is quick to render aid to Bramble...but not so Mouche - as she has grown to hate the British due to events stemming from the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.
Bramble passes out in the lobby just as the Nazis arrive in town and Farid does his best to hide him...as for Mouche - she suggests they turn him over to the Nazis and be done with him - lest they face the firing squad for harboring an enemy.
Representing the Nazis is Lt. Schwegler (Peter Van Eyck), a young and handsome Aryan who is General Rommel's top aide. Schwegler is in charge of setting up the inn as temporary lodging for the General and his staff. The ever-nervous Farid reluctantly welcomes the business...but Mouche has her own agenda regarding the Nazis.
Erich Von Stroheim portrays General Rommel here. I think it's very interesting how Rommel has such a prominent role in this film. He isn't the stereotypical nasty Nazi as seen often in other wartime propaganda films. There is a bit of depth to his character here at least...
Director Stroheim will team up with Billy Wilder again seven years later in the classic SUNSET BLVD.
I really don't want to mention anything more about the story because the film does take some interesting twists along the way. You'll have to find out for yourself what the "Five Graves" are...
8.5 / 10
Una muy buena peli mayormente liviana pero con varios momentos de tensiůn y un desenlace nada esperado
I quite enjoy this film and look forward to watching it again in the near future.