Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Sword in the Desert is set in Palestine during World War II. Dana Andrews plays an American seaman engaged in smuggling European Jewish refugees into the Holy Land, despite the restrictions levied by the British occupation troops. Fifth-billed Jeff Chandler makes his movie debut as an Israeli rebel leader; his performance garnered so much fan mail that Chandler was given a seven-year contract at Universal. Few of those letters came from Britain, where Sword in the Desert ran into distribution difficulties due to its blatant anti-British slant--especially as manifested in the underground radio broadcasts of leading lady Marta Toren. The principal complaint was that the British seemed to be the sole villains in the script, which virtually ignored the Arab resistance to the formation of Israel. Sword in the Desert represents a low-key warm-up to the blood-and-thunder excesses of Otto Preminger's 1960 Exodus.
freedom-fighter, rebel, refugee, sailor, Palestine, war