Play Dirty

Synopsis: The Dirty Dozen meet the Stiff Upper Lip. A British Petroleum executive (Michael Caine) is assigned to work with the British Army in North Africa handling port duties for incoming fuels. This gives him the official rank of Captain in the British Army. The Colonel (Nigel Green) in charge of the Dirty Dozen is told he must have a British officer accompany his men on a dangerous mission 400 miles behind the German lines and is saddled with the Petroleum executive, who tries to argue his way out by saying that his contract states he is to only work port duties. That argument is lost on the Brigade Commander (Harry Andrews) who simply points out that the executive is wearing a British uniform. The real leader of the Dirty Dozen (Nigel Davenport), a released prisoner himself, doesn't need or want the British officer, who's supposed to be in charge, but he's promised an extra 2,000 British Pounds if he gets him back alive. Disguised as Italians, their trek across Rommel's Africa includes meet
118 min

Papers please, sir.

You want to see my driving license?

My friend won't be needing any.

Papers in order, sir.

What happened to Kaminsky, McDonald,

Akhmed, the two Maltese?

I brought back the young officer,

as you told me.

I left the others behind.

And what went wrong this time?

We got within 20 miles,

then I was spotted by a couple of snipers.

And what happened

to Lieutenant Evans exactly?

He was just unlucky.

Get yourself cleaned up.

I want to talk to you.

Brigadier Blore is waiting, sir.

- You're not going to change, sir?

- Into what?

Another one down the dilly.

So far, Masters,

you have cost the British Army 42,000

in what you call miscellaneous costs.

Plus 17 jeeps, 24 trucks,

a small fortune

in ammunition and supplies

and the lives of three British officers.

Forty-three of my men

have been killed also, sir.

Your total requisition

for the past 12 months has been 124,563.

Yes, sir.

You've sent eight missions

behind the German lines,

and you've achieved nothing.

Colonel Masters, you are a luxury

we cannot afford.

My work over the last 12 months

has been a preparatory exploration

into the techniques

which I intend to employ.

The experience

of the great commanders of the past

who have fought over

this very same territory

will ultimately prove invaluable.

Modern warfare

has nothing whatever to do

with the activities

of Alexander the Great or Hannibal.

The principles of desert warfare

have not changed.

The principles of getting value

for your money haven't changed either.

Masters, your outfit

is disbanded forthwith.

Captain Attwood will go back with you,

and you will hand over to him.

- You yourself will take a week's leave...

- Yes, sir. find yourself a suitable uniform.

I know that you have to wear mufti,

but you might shave occasionally.

Yes, indeed, sir.

You will then take over command

of the prisoner of war camp at Sidi Barrani

with effect from the 17th.

I have located, through my contacts

with the Mujabra tribesmen,

the perfect target for my kind of operation.

Where the hell

did you get this photograph?

It appears the Mujabra tribesmen

have learnt how to use

the Brownie cameras I supplied them with.

This camp is about 400 miles

behind the enemy lines.

Precisely. You can't get there, but I can.

Two men are going to stop Rommel.

One of them is Adolf Hitler,

who cannot give him enough fuel,

the other is me,

who's going to blow up the little he has.

Masters, I shall give you one more chance.

Thank you, sir.

This time you've got to succeed.

I shall put the expedition

under the command of a British officer.

But British officers

don't understand my method, sir.

Do as I say, and this time I want him back.

- Yes, sir.

- Alive.

If I must have an officer, sir,

could he be someone

who knows something about pipelines,

petrol installations, that sort of thing?

- We'll see if we have someone to spare.

- Yes, sir.

Don't forget, Masters,

this is your last chance.

Thank you, sir.

- I'll send them back to you.

- Yes, sir.

- Ask Watkins to come in, would you?

- Yes, sir.

Alan, I had an idea.

Take a look at that and that.


There must be millions of gallons in there

by the look of things.

- Rommel's?

- Yes.

There. About 400 miles behind their lines.

I got the location pretty accurately

from some of my Mujabra tribesmen.

Actually, they took

the photographs for me.

- Like to go and blow it up?

- We'll give you a show, sir.

Rommel is here.

His lines of communication

are really extended,

so we're going to hit him hard.

Now, if you can destroy

the bulk of his fuel supplies

at that moment,

it might make all the difference.

We'll try, sir.

Rommel's gonna be defeated

by two men, Watkins.

Adolf Hitler,

who can't give him enough fuel,

and me, because I'm gonna blow up

what little he has.

By the way, I'm sending a decoy group

ahead of you.

- You know Masters' bunch?

- Not those gangsters, sir.

Yes, they set off a day before you.

Same route, same orders.

If there's any trouble, let them catch it.

Not particularly pleasant, sir.

You leave in two days, Watkins.

Good luck.

Thank you, sir.

Well, that's that.

What about the British officer

for Colonel Masters, sir?

Oh, completely forgot.

Tell them to find a spare captain

from somewhere.

Yes, sir.

Oh, yes, and I suppose he'd better

know something about petrol.

Yes, sir.

Where can I find Captain Douglas, Sarge?

- Who?

- Captain Douglas.

Up there.

- Captain Douglas, sir?

- Yes.

Colonel Homerton would like to see you

in his office, sir.

Colonel Homerton said immediately, sir.

Tell Colonel Homerton

I'll be there in an hour.

I have to finish unloading the fuel.

As you say, sir.

- You're late.

- I know. What's up?

I don't know, honestly.

- It's not...

- No. No.

Wish me luck.

- You sent for me, sir?

- Yes.

Captain Douglas is on loan

from British Petroleum.

He's worked for seven years

as a field engineer

with the Anglo-Iranian branch.

- So, you know the desert?

- Yes.

- A little.

- Excellent.

Captain Attwood here

is from HQ, Special Forces.

They want an officer

with some experience of fuel supplies

to take command of a rather unusual unit.

May I point out, sir,

that the arrangement

with British Petroleum

was that I stay in port areas.

What are you wearing?

British uniform, sir.

British Petroleum uniform?

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Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg, (born 6 October 1939), is an English broadcaster, author and parliamentarian. He is best known for his work with ITV as editor and presenter of The South Bank Show (1978–2010), and for the Radio 4 discussion series In Our Time. Earlier in his career, Bragg worked for the BBC in various roles including presenter, a connection that resumed in 1988 when he began to host Start the Week on Radio 4. After his ennoblement in 1998, he switched to presenting the new In Our Time, an academic discussion radio programme, which has run to over 800 broadcast editions, and is a popular podcast. He was Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1999 until 2017. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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