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The Steel Lady

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Steel Lady
Directed byEwald André Dupont
Screenplay byRichard Schayer
Story byAubrey Wisberg
Produced byGrant Whytock
StarringRod Cameron
Tab Hunter
CinematographyFloyd Crosby
Edited byGrant Whytock
Music byArthur Lange
Emil Newman
Edward Small Productions
World Films
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • October 9, 1953 (1953-10-09) (United States)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Steel Lady (also known as Treasure of Kalifa) is a 1953 American action film directed by Ewald André Dupont starring Rod Cameron and Tab Hunter.[1] In the film, four Americans are stranded in the deserts of North Africa. They discover a buried German tank dating to World War II, and they attempt to cross the desert with it. But they are attacked by Bedouins, who want to retrieve stolen jewels from the tank.

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Four American oil company employees crash-land in the desert of North Africa. They have limited food and water, no radio, no way to repair the plane, and with no hope of rescue, face a slow death. One of the crew eventually spots the antenna of an antenna sprouting from the sands. Digging down, they discover it belongs to a German tank from World War II, complete with mummified crew, lost in the dunes ten years before, out of water, fuel, and supplies.

After burying the German crew, they attempt to repair their radio with parts from the tank and manage to tell the outside world that they are alive. However, the transmitting tube burns out just as they are about to relate their latitude.

They dig out the tank, clean it up, and decide to use the gasoline left in the plane to drive out of the desert. They need to sacrifice some of their water for the tank's radiator, but eventually get it running and choose to drive to a French Foreign Legion outpost over a hundred miles away. Along the way, Barlow—one of the foursome—discovers a hidden storage bay in the tank which contains jewels. However, he does not tell the others.

En route, the Americans come across a Bedouin oasis. The Bedouin leaders recognize the tank; its occupants had stolen the jewels during the war. Pretending to be gracious hosts, the Bedouins offer horses and a cargo camel, along with food and water, in exchange for the tank. The four men agree to the exchange.

Before leaving the oasis, Barlow secretly returns to the tank to retrieve the jewels. However, while doing so, he drops a jewel onto the floor of the tank. During the night, the Bedouin leaders search the tank and find the jewel. This tells them that the Americans know about the treasure. They go to their visitors and demand the jewels. Monahan, the leader, does not know about Barlow's find. The Bedouins demand to search their visitors, so Barlow begins to fight and the Americans flee to the tank and drive away. Larsen is wounded but gets aboard the tank.

The Americans, now low on water, come across a wounded native in the desert; he claims to have been hurt when his camel fell upon him. He mentions a well 10 km (6.2 mi) away and directs them to it. But he is one of the Bedouins, who has merely faked an injury, and now leads the tank into a trap: When he and the three healthy Americans leave the tank, his comrades approach it. However, Larsen, wounded but still aboard the tank, fights them off with its machine gun. Monahan and the others hear the gunfire and return to the tank. Barlow is wounded by gunfire and Monahan carries him back to the tank. As they drive off, their radiator is punctured and water leaks out; they cannot escape. In the ensuing stand-off, the Americans are holed up in the tank, fighting off periodic attacks from the Bedouins in the surrounding hills.

Larsen eventually cannibalizes the radio-receiving tubes to craft a transmitting tube. They get the radio to transmit and send out a mayday. The call is heard and a company plane lands amid gunfire from the Bedouins to rescue the Americans. While Larsen and Evans run to the plane, Monahan tries to pull Barlow out of the tank. However, Barlow—realizing that he is too wounded to make it—pushes Monahan off and locks himself in the tank. He then uses the machine gun to cover for Monahan running to the plane. Barlow presumably dies as the Bedouins rush onto the tank to capture it. The other three—who retain the jewels—are flown to safety. During the flight, they recall how Barlow, though greedy and a drunkard, ended up as a worthy fighter who helped save the others.



Tab Hunter made the film under a two picture deal with producer Edward Small. (The other film was Gun Belt.) Filming started in December 1952.[2] The German tank is a US M24 Chaffee, somewhat disguised to appear like a Panzer Mk. III.


The film was released on a double bill with Captain John Smith and Pocahontas.[3]

Variety said "plot idea has some novelty to help the action and the picture will drive its purpose as a dualer."[4]

See also


  1. ^ The Steel Lady at the TCM Movie Database
  2. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Nov 18, 1952). "Perilous Voyage' Will Star Ralston and Brady; Cameron Desert Battler". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
  3. ^ "Adventure Keynotes Two-Feature Program". Los Angeles Times. Nov 18, 1953. p. A9.
  4. ^ "The Steel Lady". Variety. 14 October 1953. p. 6.

External links

This page was last edited on 29 May 2024, at 01:48
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