The Black Tent
|The Black Tent|
British theatrical poster
|Directed by||Brian Desmond Hurst|
|Produced by||William Macquitty
Earl St. John
|Written by||Bryan Forbes
Anna Maria Sandri
|Music by||William Alwyn|
|Distributed by||Rank Organisation|
|Box office||1,351,181 admissions (France)|
The Black Tent is a 1956 British war film directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Donald Sinden, Anthony Steel, Anna Maria Sandri, André Morell and Donald Pleasence. It is set in North Africa, during the Second World War and was filmed on location in Libya.
During the British retreat through Libya, British officer Captain Holland takes shelter with a Bedouin tribe and marries the sheik's daughter. After the war his younger brother, who had believed him to be dead, learns that he may be alive in Libya - prompting him to set out and search for him.
The film begins with a tank battle where blond-haired Captain Holland (Anthony Steel) is sprawled unconscious in the dunes. When he comes to, he walks over the dunes until collapsing near a Bedouin encampment at an oasis. He is found by the sheik's daughter, Mabrouka (Anna Maria Sandri), who takes him to the camp which consists of several black tents.
The film skips forward to a point after the war when Captain Holland's brother, Colonel Sir Charles Holland (Donald Sinden), is guided into the desert by Ali (Donald Pleasence) in search of his brother. They were drawn by a promissory note that had been given by Captain Holland to Bedouins for their assistance and eventually cashed. Sir Charles eventually comes across the Bedouin camp and is entertained by the camp's chief, Sheik Salem ben Yussef (André Morrel) and sees a young blond boy in the camp. Later, the Sheik becomes angry at Sir Charles's line of questioning about his brother, the boy, and note and asks them to leave. Before they leave, Mabrouka gives Ali a sock containing Captain Holland's diary which Ali then gives Sir Charles. The film skips back in time to recount the story within the diary.
Captain Holland, having been tended by Mabrouka, recovers. He learns that Mabrouka is the daughter of the sheik and is betrothed to Sheik Faris (Michael Craig) from another tribe. When a German reconnaissance vehicle is spotted, Captain Holland hides in some Roman ruins. The senior German officer then finds Holland's service revolver in a tent.
Mabrouka and Captain Holland become romantically involved to the obvious annoyance of Sheik Faris. He colludes with the Germans who return to the camp where Holland kills them and Faris. The romance between Captain Holland and Mabrouka deepens and they marry.
Learning of the British victory at El Alamein, Captain Holland seeks to return to the British lines but finds out his wife is now pregnant. A group led by the Sheik and Captain Holland travel towards the British lines but came across a column of retreating Italian vehicles. Captain Holland sustains a fatal injury rescuing the Sheik.
The film returns to the present day with the Sheik handing Sir Charles a letter with his brother's will bequeathing his estate to his son. Sir Charles discusses this with his nephew but the boy decides to remain with the tribe and burns the letter.
- Donald Sinden as Colonel Sir Charles Holland
- Anthony Steel as Captain David Holland
- Anna Maria Sandri as Mabrouka ben Yussef
- André Morell as Sheik Salem ben Yussef
- Terence Sharkey as Daoud Holland
- Donald Pleasence as Ali
- Ralph Truman as Major Croft
- Anthony Bushell as Ambassador Baring
- Michael Craig as Sheik Faris
- Paul Homer as Khalil ben Yussef
- Anton Diffring as Senior German Officer
- Frederick Jaeger as Koch
- Derek Sydney as Interpreter
The film used the site of the Roman ruins at Sabratha in Libya, which is by the sea, although the plot suggests that the camp is deep in the Libyan desert. This is a plot device to provide a bit of eye candy to the viewer and a reason for the Germans to visit in small numbers, like regular tourists.
- The Black Tent at the Internet Movie Database
- Brian Desmond Hurst, official legacy website of the director with filmography including The Black Tent
- http://www.lovelifeandmovingpictures.com The Black Tent location, Pinewood Studios tales and other happenings. Fatal air crash.
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