Rent Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

3.6 of 5 from 78 ratings
1h 33min
Rent Five Graves to Cairo Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
John J. Bramble (Franchot Tone), the sole survivor of a British tank crew, makes his way to a desolate town where he is given refuge by a hotel owner (Akim Tamiroff) and a French chambermaid (Anne Baxter) as they prepare to receive General Erwin Rommel (Erich Von Stroheim) and his German staff. Posing as a hotel waiter, Bramble attempts to infiltrate Rommel's inner circle and report their battle plans to the Allies...
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , Clyde Jackman, , , , Bill Mussetter, , Peter F.U. Pohlney
Directors:
Producers:
Charles Brackett
Writers:
Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Lajos Biró
Others:
John Seitz, Doane Harrison, Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte, Bertram Granger
Studio:
Odeon Entertainment
Genres:
Action & Adventure, Classics, Drama, Thrillers
BBFC:
Release Date:
10/11/2014
Run Time:
93 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
None
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.37:1
Colour:
B & W
Bonus:
  • Image Gallery
BBFC:
Release Date:
17/08/2020
Run Time:
96 minutes
Languages:
English LPCM Mono
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.37:1
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Archival interview with Billy Wilder discussing his early films, including 'Five Graves to Cairo'
  • "Five Graves to Cairo" episode of Lux Radio Theatre, originally aired in 1943, starring Franchot Tone and Anne Baxter
  • Theatrical Trailer

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Reviews (2) of Five Graves to Cairo

Another Walk on the Wilder side - Five Graves to Cairo review by CH

Spoiler Alert
27/04/2020

"Avanti!" That cry, of inviting somebody to enter a room, provided the title for one of Billy Wilder's last films and was uttered throughout it by Jack Lemmon. It is uttered but once in Five Graves to Cairo (1943). Neither film is among Wilder's most widely known - but they deserve to be.

In both cases, his scripts developed, even transformed others' original work. In the case of Graves, this was a story by Lajos Biro twice filmed previously as Hotel Imperial. (Biro's script for Knight Without Armour is wonderful.) In all cases, the plot turns around a small hotel caught up in events where a border town finds itself between opposing armies.

The script by Wilder and Charles Brackett transplants this to somewhere in the Sahara, with an opening scene which suggests that a torrid drama is about to ensue. A tank rumbles (do tanks ever so anything else?) across the hilly desert sands, its throttle jammed on forward by a dead man's foot as somebody, apparently dead, falls from the back and turns out to be the dashing Franchot Tone. His accent is distinctly American, but, no matter, for he acquits himself well as a member of the British Forces, one who, moreover, worked in the Bank of England and sported a bowler hat before signing up.

All this he explains to a French maid, played with a mixture of the romantic and sinister by Anne Baxter, who has her own reasons for remaining with the hotel's owner after the German aircraft forced everybody else out the previous night. For all this opening drame, Graves is a film of interiors - brilliantly and darkly shot by John Seitz - and, this being Wilder, much banter which does not slow down the drama.

Although there are many who appear briefly and uncredited in the film, it is essentially a chamber work, turning around a few characters - something which, along with its humour, it has in common with Casablanca. That might make it small scale, but larger than life was Field-Marshall Rommel, played magnificently by Erich von Stroheim. Never has there been such a lunch as the one to which he invites some captured British officers and invites them to put twenty questions to him, which he partly answers by dint of salt and pepper pots. The performance is no caricature but, even in the midst of war, depicting the events of 1942, shows why he commanded a certain respect from both sides (and figured in the title of one of Spike Milligan's war memoirs).

What might be forgotten is that Rommel was one of those implicated in the plot to kill Hitler in 1944. What with the Field-Marshall's popularity among the Germans, Hitler realised that it was expedient to allow him to swallow a cyanide pill rather than be shot, and it all passed off as heart failure.

What one would like to know, however, is whether - one way or another - Rommel got to see this depiction of himself by brilliant émigrés on the West Coast. He would not have been displeased, and perhaps could have explained the assertion that he did not like a woman to bring him breakfast in bed.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

War Tone - Five Graves to Cairo review by NO

Spoiler Alert
10/08/2020

Clever plot if a bit far fetched,but good film for that period.Glad it was in B&W ,more dramatic although ending pred ictable.I have seen

Tamiroff in many films & he always plays a good part.I did not realise that Franchot Tone had been in so many films ,but as they were

before my time ,I have not seen them.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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