Men With a Mission! Great Disaster Film!
I've liked Stewart's early films from the Golden Age of Hollywood but he is more subdued in this picture. His plane, barely able to fly as it is, hits a sandstorm somewhere in the Sahara Desert, on his way to an oil field. The men aboard are mostly all miners. In fact, a few get killed in the first ten minutes of the film, but I digress!
Playing the pilot who blames himself is well worth the watch. Stewart underplays this as well as using his fists with those who wish to oppose him. Despite his protests, some of the crew want to build a new plane out of the old wreckage, since they'd rather "die while doing something" than die and do nothing.
Some of the men go crazy with the heat and wanting to be rescued. Borgnine practically recaptures his acting ac*men he got from his Academy award-winning film "Marty" (1955) as he freaks out and runs into the desert than put up with his pals on the plane.
The scene with the meeting of the Arab traders was fascinating - I won't spoil it, but it was played from the aspect of the survivors and the horrific ending for a couple of the crew will gross you out. Much better than the remake, which went into what happened and how in detail, leaving nothing to the imagination.
Richard Attenborough as the stuttering, drunk pal of Stewart's, as he tries to cope with his friend's obstinance and getting him to see that there is some hope in this desert of despair.
Bottom Line: Big name stars, under-appreciated bit of entertainment from Warner Bros. The unlikely event of a plane crashing with just enough needed inside the plane to make a new one, and a psychological study of men under strain and lacking hope, far from any rescue. Worth a rental!