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"Desert Victory" is a first rate documentary of the El Alamein-Tripoli phase in the Eighth Army's North African advance. It translates the newspaper headlines of the past months into specific and personal detail; it shows, in the determined action and tense faces of the men themselves, how the Eighth Army halted its retreat, "dug in" to hold off Field Marshal Rommel, and knocked his "invincible" strategy into a cocked hat by breaking through the German panzer wall and advancing some 1400 miles through desert dust and mud.
Four British cameramen were killed in the filming of "Desert Victory" and the movie is a tribute to their selfless daring as well as to the sweated courage of the Allied force and the strategic wisdom of its leadership. The camera is not on the fringe of the ground attack; it dashes into the midst of it. It is not high above the air attack; it swoops down with it. The commentator's job becomes unimportant because the action rarely needs to be explained; it can be seen close up.
Supplemented with helpful maps and views of the terrain, "Desert Victory" tells its story impressively but simply. It can look at both sides of the struggle thanks to the shots stolen from German cameramen. It can portray an Allied victory thanks to the Eighth Army.
Also showing is "Hello, Frisco, Hello" with Alice Faye, John Payne, and Lynn Bari. The costumes for the lavish Barb'ry Coast shows-within-show are designed for technicolor, to say nothing of Alice's blue eyes, which regularly fill with tears. "You'll Never Know" is on the musical bill of fare. The talent is rationed.
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