Play Dirty

Play Dirty is a 1968 film inspired by the exploits of the Long Range Desert Group. It was directed by André De Toth and written by Melvyn Bragg and Lotte Colin. It stars Michael Caine, Nigel Green and Harry Andrews.

Plot summary

It's WWII and Captain Douglas is a BP executive (Michael Caine) handling incoming fuels for the British Army in North Africa. It is comfortable life until a LRDG colonel (Nigel Green) is told he must put an officer in charge of a dangerous 'Dirty-Dozen-style mission' to destroy an Afrika Korps fuel depot 400 miles behind enemy lines.

Douglas, who is a fuels expert, is chosen to lead the group despite protesting that he is only port contractor with an honorary commission. Brigadier Blore (Harry Andrews) dismisses his pleas noting that the executive is wearing a British officer's uniform and is therefore subject to military orders.

Later Captain Leech (Nigel Davenport), the actual mission leader, tells the colonel he doesn't need or want Douglas. But the colonel reminds Leech that as a former officer, who has been recently imprisoned, he has no choice. Nevertheless he is promised an extra 2,000 British Pounds if Douglas comes back alive.

Disguised as Italian soldiers, the team trek and battle across Rommel's Africa towards the fuel depot.

The film climaxes in an infamous ending that is indicative of the movie's general cynical anti-war themes.

The movie is notable for several long -involving- and extended action sequences - often without dialog. Viewers may also remember the lethal -almost nihilistic- efficiency of Nigel Davenport's performance as Captain Leech.

Also noteworthy: a frank -pre-Stonewall- portrayal of homosexuality.


Nigel Davenport was initially cast in supporting role but was given the second lead after Richard Harris was fired.

External links

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