Lion of the Desert

The two lines that are followed from first to last constitute the logic of the film. The issue is never in doubt, once the first reel has established the premise.

Benito Mussolini in his palace, Omar Mukhtar in his dooryard, the text of one is conquest, the other’s a verse of the Koran on the sun and moon in their courses. Gen. Graziani fulfills the expectation of this in a final bit of feminine wrath against his prisoner.

And the entire beauty of the film is the exposition of Graziani and Mukhtar in the field, displaying their lines of action and reaction, until the dispensation of Providence strangles Mukhtar.

The purported existence of a director’s cut extending the running time from 160 to 206 minutes is undoubtedly a boon.