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Hollywood made few movies about the desert conflict during World War II--and curiously, two that they did (Five Graves to Cairo is the other) were remakes of films set elsewhere. John Howard Lawson based his script on a prewar Russian film (Lawson would later be blacklisted, incidentally) about a military patrol besieged by Asian bandits. The situation readily lent itself to a wartime parallel and became one of the most engrossing story lines of its era. A U.S. tank crew and their commander (Humphrey Bogart), separated from the main force, make their way through the desert, accumulating a veritable United Nations of stragglers as...