Not sure how everyone else goes into making Thursday Movie Picks lists but I do it by heart. I don’t look through any sort of online lists, exceptions being those period-themes which I suck at, and only rarely do I look at my own Letterboxd list. So most of my movie recommendations are listed from memory and so here are three completely different desert movies I thought of.

1.THE MUMMY, 1999

Before the Tom Cruise remake hits the cinemas this summer I wanted to praise the original remake (there isn’t anything that isn’t a remake, it seems) with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. I love that movie! It’s fun, quick, witty and for a 10 year old, scary as hell! It’s been years since I last saw it but I remember scenes from this movie, I remember the bugs, I remember the laughs – it’s just one of those nostalgic movies from my childhood that I will always praise, no matter how many remakes they make.


I didn’t realise both movies were from the same year but here you go, two desert movies released in 1999 and recommended in my list. Do I remember it as well as I remember The Mummy? No. But I remember it was fun and funny, and George Clooney looked hella good! And honestly, I think that despite his good career after Three Kings, this is probably my favourite David O. Russell film out there, because it is rewatchable and it doesn’t feature Jennifer Lawrence.


I thought I had recommended Mad Max: Fury Road before but when I looked at all my TMPs, I discovered that it seems I haven’t. So here we go, the latest, the most awesomest, the coolest movie ever to take place in the desert – Fury Road. Would any action movie ever come close to the sophistication and thrill behind Fury Road? Well, they can try, but I think nobody can go against George Miller’s beloved hit from 2 years ago – this movie is just high above the rest. And I’ll never forget how I dragged my flatmate to see it, despite her not really wanting to see it, and her literally gasping for air 10 minutes into the film – she loved it!



  • I had forgotten about The Mummy! I’ve seen the first two and they were entertaining enough, never bothered with the third one. Mad Max Fury Road was amazing. I still haven’t seen Three Kings in its entirety.

    • Sorry to answer so late but yeah, I almost forgot The Mummy too! But with the upcoming remake I think I will revisit this one again.,..maybe.

  • I LOVE The Mummy! It is such a fun ride with Fraser full of derring-do and Rachel Weisz enchanting-this is the first place I remember seeing her and I’ve been a fan ever since. John Hannah is a hoot as her goofy brother and the action exciting.

    I wasn’t as fond of Three Kings as you. It was okay but once was enough and haven’t thought much about it since.

    Fury Road is just about everywhere. I liked it more than I expected but can’t see myself returning to that particular well anytime soon.

    Since many films are set in the desert I tried to find one each in a different genre-musical, Western & war-for a little variety.

    The Desert Song (1953)-Sometimes a movie is just so wildly miscast that you love it more for its faults than its strengths, that’s the case with this operetta. The basic story goes like so: There’s a civil war between Morocco’s Berber and Arab populations in the early 1900’s. French Foreign Legionnaire Gen. Birabeau arrives with daughter Margot (Kathryn Grayson) in tow to check the war’s progress while Arab Sheik Yousseff schemes to discredit the mysterious opposition leader El Khobar (Margot’s tutor in disguise) while Margot and El Khobar fall in love. Simple enough but what ratchets up the absurdity factor is that the Sheik is played by Raymond Massey, famous for playing Abraham Lincoln!, while El Khobar the Berber rebel leader is Gordon MacRae…that’s right Curley from Oklahoma!! If you can look beyond that the strapping Gordon and the lovely Kathryn are in great voice and the score is terrific but if you’re looking for realism look elsewhere.

    Rawhide (1951)-Feisty young Vinnie Holt (Susan Hayward) traveling with her orphaned niece Callie is stranded at the remote stagecoach stop “Rawhide Pass” in the acrid desert of the old West with stationmaster Sam Todd (Edgar Buchanan) and his assistant Tom Owens (Tyrone Power) when the cavalry won’t permit her to proceed through dangerous territory because of a stage robbery. After the soldiers leave, Jim Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe) bluffs his way into the station saying he’s a guard but is actually one of the escaped convicts responsible for the robbery. His three fellow escapees quickly appear intent on stealing the gold shipment due in the next day. After killing Sam they must keep Tom and Vinnie, who they mistakenly believe is his wife, alive to carry out their plan. As the four men turn on each other Tom & Vinnie work together to try and escape. Tight suspenseful Western.

    Five Graves to Cairo (1943)-British Corporal John Bramble (Franchot Tone) is the lone survivor of a battle against Rommel’s army on the Egyptian border. Wandering through the desert he finds a remote hotel assuming a false identity to elude capture. Arriving shortly after is General Rommel himself (Erich von Stroheim) who takes Bramble for a German spy and lets slip hints of his secret strategy, the ‘five graves’ to Cairo-hidden excavations of supplies to enable survival across the desert. It’s up to Bramble to find a way to get word of the plan to the Allies and perhaps change the tide of the war.

  • Fury Road is the ultimate pick here. I think it was during the sandstorm when I knew I was watching something special

    • It is I think the one you don’t forget to mention when you think of deserts, it is a must. I know when the first gasp from the audience happened, which was pretty early on.

  • Great picks! The Mummy is such a freakin’ awesome movie – adventurous, action-packed, romantic. Rick and Evelyn are one of the best movie couples ever.

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