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Tobruk Rais in

big battle film

By LEE CARROLL, in Hollywood

Hollywood big-budget wartime drama ! "The Desert Rats" is a film with a strong Australian interest.


Chips Rafferty, Charles Tingwell, Michael Pate, and John O'Malley play

main feature roles in the film, which recounts the ex- ploits of Australian servicemen in the Middle East during

World Wnr II.

Chips Rafferty flew to Hollywood specially to play the role of an Australian ser- geant in the film.

Telling the Allied side of the Libyan desert campaign during World War II, "The Desert Rats" is said to be Hollywood's answer to critics of "The Desert Fox." This controversial wartime movie of last year starred James Mason in a tough but warm- hearted conception of Nazi

CHIPS RAFFERTY, watched by a newsman, stoops low to enter a com- mand post in "The Desert

Rats" on location.

Field-Marshal Erwin Rom- mel.

Star of the new film is Welsh actor Richard Burton,

who plays a sadistic British '

officer attached to an Aus- 1 tralian unit.

Arrogant in kh?ki and scar-

let regimentals, James Mason , plays the Rommel role again. 1 This time he gives a brief, vastly different interpretation

of the character.

English film and stage star Robert Newton portrays a British-born ranker in the A.LF.

The Australian Ninth Di- ( vision is clearly identified in 1 battle scenes, and almost all of | the Allied troops depicted arc 1


"The Desert Rats" does not ยก attempt to retell the story i of the Eighth Army in ' Africa. It deals only with the i siege of Tobruk and the men of the Tobruk garrison in the anxious days of 1941 when the Libyan coast town was isolated by Rommel's Afrika Korps.

An American, Richard Murphy, wrote the script for "The Desert Rats." During the war Murphy was a liaison officer with the Ninth Division in New Guinea, after its withdrawal from the Middle East in 1942.

Together with first-hand ex- perience of Australian service- men in combat, Murphy is said to have a comprehensive knowledge of their way of living and their slang.

Battle sequences were shot near Borrego Springs, a Cali-

fornian desert town