« Merin Coats - A Spoonful of Sugar | Main | Jasmine Omorogbe- Sahara Reflection »

Sahara- Ashley Bergman

Sahara's most touching scene depicts one of the caucasian men sitting down in the well with the token black man discussing how their cultures differ, especially in regards to how many wives they're allowed to have. The black man reveals, however, that he only has one wives, when the white man expresses surprise, the black man says, "We both have things to learn from each other". Okay so maybe it was more hokey than touching, but it paints perfectly what the Office of War Information wanted to promote to the world. That is, that Americans, in sharp contrast to the Germans and their Aryan race, were accepting of everyone with arms wide open and open to learning more about each other.

Sahara has a relatively wide array of representation of other races. The German man they capture even expresses his distaste of such inferior races in a nice juxtaposition between the good Americans and the evil Germans. Bogie even gives the enemies water just to show us just how compassionate Americans are even to the undeserving. The Americans treat everyone fairly and give everyone they run across a chance to save themselves by going with them and their tank, even an Italian prisoner of war.

However several blanket statements are made that counteract the movie's attempt to show us just how wonderful these Americans are. The best example is when one of the crew says, when talking about the five hundred Germans they're fighting, "We're stronger than they are. . . they've never known the dignity of feeling". That scene seemed to contradict what the filmmakers had previously been going for: Americans are openminded and nonjudgemental. Yet it was probably what the Office of War Info wanted-- to promote the hatred of the Germans while still showing that the Americans were so much better than the Germans, even at the risk of hypocrisy.

Perhaps Sahara was not so realistic in terms of racial makeup but that wasn't the point of the movie. It was meant to be entertaining while still patriotic, meant to inspire ordinary citizens to wave the flag proudly and perhaps even enlist in the army and be cool like Bogie. It was also meant to show the Germans in an extremely negative light and show Americans as martyrs.