Bitter Victory

Synopsis: In North Africa during World War II, Major David Brand is assigned to lead a British commando raid into German-held Benghazi to retrieve whatever documents they can lay their hands on at the German headquarters. His number two will be Capt. Jimmy Leith who speaks Arabic fluently and knows Benghazi well. Brand also learns that his beautiful wife Jane and Leith were lovers before the war, creating tension between the two. Brand is untested in battle and freezes at a critical moment, losing the respect of his men. After the raid, the trek back is arduous and takes its toll on the men. It also results in only one of the two senior officers surviving.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Nicholas Ray
Production: Sony Pictures Entertainment
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
82 min

I'll let you have some more information

as soon as I know myself. All right?

Thank you, Mokrane. 11:00

tonight. Don't forget.

- The General will see you now, Maj. Brand.

- Thank you.

Excuse me.

- You're late, Wilkins. Where have you been?

- Talking to the Major.

I don't understand it, sir.

He doesn't seem to like me.

Hurry up and try and get

used to this Arab costume.

We taking a little trip, are we?

What do I do with this lot?

Michael, you tell him.

There's a commando

operation tomorrow at 1830.

It's to go behind the lines.

Surprise the Germans at Benghazi.

Plan all worked out?

Not quite.

We only received final

instructions an hour ago.

- You can call on me at any time, sir.

- That's good.

I know you've always wanted action.

You may be the man to command this operation.

It is paperwork, after all.

- Do you speak Arabic, by the way?

- I'm afraid I'm not very good at languages.

I left South Africa, but I

never got rid of my accent.

Your knowledge of German will help, anyway.

It's a great opportunity

to show what you can do...

and a chance of quick promotion, too.

We'll let you know later tonight, say, 10:00.

Thank you, sir.

Hello, Leith.

I thought the fan should

cool the Colonel's head...

and not the flies on the ceiling.

Yes, of course.

- Would you like to come in now, Jimmy?

- Yes, thank you, Mike.

- Maj. Brand, sir.

- Yes?

It's your wife, sir.

- What's happened?

- Nothing's happened, sir. She's here.

- Here?

- Yes, sir.

She landed in Heliopolis an hour ago.

- Where is she now?

- She's waiting at your hotel, sir.

Thank you.

Will you have a cigarette?

No. No, thank you, sir.

- Well?

- It's a very difficult operation.

But you think it's got a chance?

One in a million.

- Does that mean you're against it?

- Of course not.

You do know Benghazi well, don't you?

Yes, I spent two years

in Libya before the war.

But you were on archaeological

work then, weren't you?

Andover's expedition?

No, that was in India. It was

more fashionable in those days.


- Do you speak Arabic?

- Yes, sir.

- German?

- No, sir.

Are you considering me

for this operation, sir?

We'll let you know that in good time.

Very well, sir. I'm not a

regular officer like Maj. Brand.

I'm a volunteer. Good night, sir.

Good night.

- Good night, Michael.

- Good night, Jimmy.

I want it.

- Did you tell him about Brand?

- No, sir. He saw him outside.

I told you he's no fool.

He caught on right away.

No fool. You didn't tell

me he was hardly civilised.

He knows the desert, sir.

He's lived with the people,

he speaks their language.

Brand's got over 15 years' service. And

he'll know all about those documents.

You don't think he's been

behind a desk for too long?

- He's commando-trained.

- So is Leith.

- Leith hasn't been in the battle.

- Neither has Brand.

I can't be expected to find the right

man for this at 20 minutes' notice.

Anyway, Brand will have

more authority over the men.

Leith's... He...

He's an intellectual.

And besides, he's Welsh.

It's MO4's idea, sir.

They're going to surprise

Benghazi with 200 men...

let the prisoners out of the

cage. We've got 10,000 there.

Then bring the navy over from Malta and...

Ml5 says there aren't

any POW cages in Benghazi.

They're all 200 miles to the south.

Hello, Leith. Come on.

I want you to meet my wife.

Jane, this is Capt. Leith.


- Won't you sit down, please?

- Thank you.

You've been top-secret, Mrs. Brand.

Your husband hasn't spoken a word about you.

- How long?

- It's almost as old as the war.

That's quite old.

- We all have short memories nowadays.

- Maybe it's for the best.

What'll it be?

- Whisky, please.

- Two.

Mixing drinks, Jane? Three whiskies.

I wonder why people have short memories.

Do they forget what they want

to forget, or don't they care?

- What do you think?

- They don't care.

Haven't you ever cared deeply about anything?

- Yes.

- What was it?


Careless talk costs lives.

So does careless silence.

This isn't top-secret.

I cared once.

- It happened before the war.

- Yes?

The first time I went to Libya,

helping to excavate a Roman city.

I've never cared about anything much since.

What about the war?

That's something you have

to survive, like love.

Is that what you told Gen. Paterson tonight?

Yes, but he didn't agree.

Apparently he has some elaborate

plan to prevent my survival.

- They're considering you, too?

- What are you two talking about?

This is top-secret...

so we'd better have a little careful silence.

To us, Jane.

To us.

Good Lord, I forgot.

I'll take you back to the

hotel. I won't be long.

- Then I can wait for you here.

- I'll look after her, Brand.

All right.

An officer can't keep GHQ waiting...

to know how many camels were born this week.

See you later, dear.

You don't understand. Here.

To your marriage, Jane.

Thank you, Jimmy.

Friday, August 25, 1939.

00, in front of the British Museum.

Like every Friday.

You never came.

I waited an hour, and then I telephoned.

No answer.

I've never had an answer.

I had to go back to Libya.

You knew I had to go.

But why did you have to

do it that way, Jimmy?

Why did you have to run away?

Because I was afraid of you.

- If I'd stayed...

- If you stayed?

Jimmy, why didn't you stay?

So you married a major?

- So I married a major.

- Why?

I loved him.

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René Hardy

René Hardy (31 October 1911 – 12 April 1987) was a member of the French Resistance during World War II. Hardy was born in Mortrée, Orne. Having rendered dedicated and valuable service as a member of the resistance group Combat, he was nevertheless suspected of being instrumental in the arrest of Jean Moulin, General Charles Delestraint and other resistants. Despite later being acquitted in two separate trials, those suspicions have never gone away. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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