The Black Tent (1956) and Bengazi (1955): The Image of Arabs in Two post-Empire Journeys into the Deserts of Libya




Film, Post-Empire, Arabs, Libya


These two little known films are both part of the cycle of post-imperial films dealing with the decline of the British Empire. They are perhaps the only films set in or near the historical period of the British Military Administration of Libya after 1945.  The Black Tent frequently gets lumped in with the genre of World War II British war films.  Bengazi marks the cinematic journey of the actor Victor McLaglen from The Lost Patrol (1934) to Bengazi (1955), his career encapsulating the beginning and end of the Hollywood British Empire film genre. Both films contain redemptive dramatic journeys into the deserts of Libya involving the loss of British imperial male power.  The case studies of The Black Tent and Bengazi show the beginnings of new post-empire film genres and new mentalities toward the Arab “Other” that partially promotes a decolonization of western cinema.

Author Biography

Richard Andrew Voeltz, Cameron University Emeritus

Professor Emeritus of History, Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma


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How to Cite

Voeltz, R. A. (2018). The Black Tent (1956) and Bengazi (1955): The Image of Arabs in Two post-Empire Journeys into the Deserts of Libya. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 7(1), 169–188.