Pssst, want to check out Five Graves to Cairo in our new look?
- 96 min.
- Billy Wilder
- Thriller, War
- Rating *
- Votes *
- 5.3% (1:19)
SiskoidNo, Five Graves to Cairo did NOT happen - it's based on a 1917 play, redressed for World War II's oft-neglected North African front - but that shouldn't matter. A British soldier finds his way through the desert to a small town hotel in Egypt and impersonates a member of the staff to fool the Germans, but his plans are complicated by the French maid who has her own designs on Rummel. It makes for a pretty cool spy thriller, with lots of reversals, cracking dialog worthy of the stage, and the sense that, yes, it MIGHT have happened. Billy Wilder starts us off on striking images of a "haunted" tank, opening up the world early - you hardly notice that we're then pretty much stuck in the same ratty hotel. And though made during WWII, it's surprisingly critical of the war effort, through the maid in particular who sees both sides as equally guilty of the suffering, though you could also take the point of the picture to be the justification for personal sacrifice for the betterment (or safety) of the whole. The Germans are "swine" but as honorable as the British (which is to say, partly), while the lone Italian is a comedy figure, probably because Mussolini was already on the outs, and Italians were rehabilitated as cousins to the Ally cause. Or according to this, foolish patsies, not at fault, but not to be admired either. It's the weakest part of this, broaching caricature where the rest of the film lives in grayer areas. 7 months ago
Ray AnselmoAn excellent war film, with engaging characters, excellent cinematography and one of the most striking opening scenes I've ever seen. Hard to believe this was only Billy Wilder's third film as a director - but then you consider in the next two years he'd do Double Indemnity and The Lost Weekend ... 9/10 1 year 9 months ago
nick-samuelNot a masterpiece but a decent effort from Wilder, on par with Stalag 17 as a solid 6 or 7 / 10 War thriller. 11 years 11 months ago
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In 4 official lists
This movie ranks #334 in Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series
Eureka!'s The Masters of…334
This movie ranks #405 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
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This movie ranks #723 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
Halliwell's Top 1000: Th…723
This movie ranks #1075 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
Jonathan Rosenbaum's Ess…1075