Escape From Zahrain is the story of a small group of people fighting for survival and their ideals under physical and emotional stress.
It is also the story of an ambulance. Initially, it is a handsome vehicle, gleaming canary yellow under the Arabian sun.
At the end – after providing protection and conveyance for a group of strangers flung together in hair-rasing adventures – it is a smouldering mass of twisted metal.
At the outset, the vehicle is captured by two revolutionary leaders (Yul Bryner and Sal Mineo) and used for their desperate flight for freedom across desert and mountains to the Persian Gulf (although the movie was actually shot in the Mojave Desert in California).
With it, they capture a nurse (Madlyn Rhue) and also carry as passengers a hot-blooded American embezzler (Jack Warden), a sadistic murderer (Tony Caruso) and a timid, gentle Arab (Jay Novello).
James Mason (an old friend of British director Ronald Neame) makes a brief humorous cameo appearance. He accepted the part for old time’s sake on the understanding that his name would not be mentioned in the credits or in publicising the film.