Sahara (1943)

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Released 21-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Gallery-Poster
Trailer-The Caine Mutiny; Bridge On The River Kwai; Guns Of Navarone
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1943
Running Time 93:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Zoltan Korda

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Lloyd Bridges
Bruce Bennett
Rex Ingram
Richard Nugent
Dan Duryea
Louis Mercier
J. Carrol Naish
Kurt Kreuger
John Wengraf
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $24.95 Music Miklos Rozsa

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Sahara is a little known film about World War II. Interestingly, it was actually filmed during the war and is relatively free of propaganda although it does clearly show the Allies as the good guys and the Germans as all evil Nazis. Bogart gives a characteristically excellent performance as the tough and smart tank commander who is not without feelings and he is well supported by the rest of the cast.

    This is the story of a ragtag group of soldiers in the Sahara desert during 1942. After the fall of Tobruk, an American tank crew consisting of Sergeant Joe Gunn (Humphrey Bogart), Waco Hoyt (Bruce Bennett) and Fred Clarkson (Lloyd Bridges) are in retreat from the enemy and on their way back to join the rest of  the Allied forces. Along the way they encounter a bombed army hospital and consequently pick up a British Army Doctor (Richard Nugent) who is accompanied by several British soldiers and a single French soldier. Before long they also meet Sergeant Major Tambul (Rex Ingram), a British Sudanese soldier, and his Italian prisoner Giuseppe (J. Carrol Naish). Shortly after they are attached by a German fighter plane which they proceed to shoot down, taking the pilot prisoner. Running short of water and fuel they set out to search for water and head south through the Libyan dessert looking for the well at Bir Acroma. Finding only a limited supply of water they soon find themselves defending both the water and their lives against a 500 strong detachment of Germans soldiers who are also desperate for the water.

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Transfer Quality


    This is quite a good transfer, the only significant problem being that the source material has not been restored and therefore contains a continuous stream of film artefacts.

    Except for the opening titles, which are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, the movie is presented at 1.33:1 and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced. This is very close the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1.

    No low level noise was seen. The sharpness was generally quite good but tended to vary somewhat from shot to shot. Shadow detail was also variable, normally being very good in the brighter scenes but lacking in the darker scenes, which tended to show any objects that were not well lit as large unrelieved areas of black.

    This is a black and white film. It exhibits a full grey scale.

    The transfer was free of MPEG artefacts. Only some very minor aliasing was noted on a couple of occasions. Film artefacts are present continually throughout the movie. These are mainly small white or black marks, however there are also occasional vertical scratches and larger marks. A hair appears at the bottom of the screen several times at around 39:00. Film grain is also noticeable at all times.

    The disc contains subtitles for no less than 20 languages. I sampled about 30 minutes of the English subtitles and while they are not perfectly accurate to the spoken word they extremely close.

    This is a single layered disc so there is no layer change to disrupt the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Given the age of the movie, the audio is in quite good condition and is free of the hisses, clicks and pops that are not unusual in movies of this vintage.

    Four audio tracks are included: English and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. I listened to only the English track.

    The dialogue was always easily understood although the quality, as you would expect for a forty year old movie, was quite dated and lacking in the dynamic range of a modern production. There were no obvious problems with the audio sync.

    The music by Miklos Rozsa  is very typical of war movies of this period and not particularly inspiring.

    Neither the subwoofer nor the surrounds are used with all the sound coming from the centre speaker.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are only a minimum of pretty average extras provided on this disc.


    The menu, provided in a ratio of 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, is static and without any accompanying audio.


    Stills of 6 advertising posters for the movie.

Theatrical Trailer

    Trailers are provided for 3 other World War II pictures: The Caine Mutiny (0:53), Bridge On The River Kwai (3:08), and The Guns Of Navarone (3:43). These are presented in various aspect ratios including 1:33:1 for The Caine Mutiny and 2:35:1 for the others. All the trailers lack 16x9 enhancement and the audio is mono.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    Single page filmographies for Director Zoltan Korda and cast members Humphrey Bogart and Lloyd Bridges.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Except for the addition of Italian and Spanish audio tracks on the Region 4 disc and some variation in subtitles, our disc is identical to that from Region 1.


    Sahara was a good but not great war movie, lacking the compelling drama of WWII films such as Bridge On The River Kwai or The Guns Of Navarone. Nonetheless, I'm sure it will be enjoyed by both fans of the genre and of Humphrey Bogart.

    The video quality is adequate but clearly shows its age.

    The audio quality is quite reasonable for a film of this vintage.

    The extras are very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Monday, August 26, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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