Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lesley Selander|
|Produced by||Howard W. Koch|
|Screenplay by||Danny Arnold|
George W. George
George F. Slavin
|Based on||Punitive Action|
by John Robb
J. Carrol Naish
|Music by||Paul Dunlap|
|Edited by||John F. Schreyer|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Desert Sands is a 1955 American adventure film directed by Lesley Selander and written by Danny Arnold, George W. George and George F. Slavin. The film stars Ralph Meeker, Marla English, J. Carrol Naish, John Carradine, Ron Randell, John Smith and Keith Larsen.
The film was released on November 18, 1955, by United Artists. The film was based on the 1954 novel Punitive Action, one of a series of French Foreign Legion novels written by John Robb. Unlike many Foreign Legion films the film was set in the 1950s.
A strong force of mounted tribal Arabs launches a surprise attack on a French Foreign Legion fort in the North African desert, having previously intercepted and brutally massacred a relief column en route to the fort. After an Alamo-like battle, the more numerous Arabs capture the fort. Addressing the surviving Legionnaires as captives, the Arab leader makes passing reference to Pan-Islam as a motivation for the attacks.
Various sub-plots ensue, until eventually another Legion relief column approaches the fort, unaware that it has been captured. The Arabs create the appearance that all is well and ambush the relief column as it enters the fort. Meanwhile, the captive Legionnaire survivors from the original garrison escape and join the fighting. Another all-out, Alamo-style shootout follows, but this time the reinforced Legionnaires are victorious. The French flag is raised over the fort once again as the captured Arab survivors are led away.
- Ralph Meeker as Capt. David Malcolm
- Marla English as Princess Zara
- J. Carrol Naish as Sgt. Diepel
- John Carradine as Jala the Wine Merchant
- Ron Randell as Pvt. Peter Ambrose Havers
- John Smith as Pvt. Rex Tyle
- Keith Larsen as El Zanal
- Lita Milan as Alita
- Philip Tonge as Cpl. Sandy Mc Tosh
- Peter Mamakos as Pvt. Lucia 'Lucky' Capella
- Otto Waldis as Gabin
- Jarl Victor as Lt. Gina Mackie
- Mort Mills as Woloack
- Aaron Saxon as Tama
- Nico Minardos as Gerard
- Albert Carrier as Ducco
- Terence De Marney as Kramer
- Peter Bourne as Weems
- Peter Norman as Dr. Kleiner
- Joseph Waring as Dylak Spokesman
- Bela Kovacs as Maj. Henri Panton
- Vagg, Stephen (August 10, 2019). "Unsung Aussie Actors – Ron Randell: A Top Twenty". Filmink.
- "Desert Sands". TV Guide. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "Desert Sands (1955) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Crowther, Bosley (November 19, 1955). "Screen: Foreign Legion; Gory 'Desert Sands' Bows at Palace". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
- p. 174 Weaver, Tom A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers McFarland, 25 Feb 2010