Rope of Sand (1949)

Genres - Adventure, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Surprisingly violent for 1949, Rope of Sand is a middling adventure yarn -- nothing special, but certainly entertaining enough when there's nothing else on the tube. As is so often the case, it's the screenplay that keeps Rope from being a better film. All of the ingredients for a good thriller are here, but they're slightly stale. They also seem to be thrown in somewhat at random, not because the story demands it but because the writers couldn't really come up with anything better. Director William Dieterle does the best he can with the material, and his work is fine -- but he still can't keep the film from dragging a little too often. Also working against the film is the female lead. Corinne Calvet is attractive and has some appealing qualities, but she's too weak a presence to hold such a key role, especially against an actor of such power as Burt Lancaster. Fortunately, the rest of the cast are more than up to their roles, and the contributions of Lancaster, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, and Paul Henreid are the biggest assets of the film. Lancaster, Rains, and Lorre are good playing familiar roles, but the big surprise is Henreid, who's cast against type as a sadistic villain -- and plays the role with great brio.