HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Arabesque But Professor, Is It Really Nece-
Year: 1966
Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Alan Badel, Kieron Moore, Carl Duering, John Merivale, Duncan Lamont, George Coulouris, Ernest Clark, Harold Kasket, Larry Taylor, Michael Bilton, Windsor Davies
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: David Pollock (Gregory Peck) is an American professor at an English university who specialises in hieroglyphics, but one day he is asked to look at a small piece of paper with some symbols written on it and translate. He isn't interested until an Arab statesman asks him personally, pointing out to him there is a deal of espionage going on here which has apparently been instigated by the man, the untrustworthy Beshraavi (Alan Badel), who wants the translation. Pollock decides to help out as there may be lives at stake - including his own.

Director Stanley Donen had made his name with musicals in the decade previous to Arabesque, but those often lavish affairs were falling out of favour with the public as well as the studios thanks to their large price tags. Seeing this, Donen tried his hand at something else, and managed one of the biggest hits of his career with Charade, a Hitchcockian thriller essayed with a winning light touch, so obviously to follow this up, in typical Hollywood fashion, more of the same was ordered. Arabesque was the result, owing something to James Bond as well as that previous success, as Peck had a go at a role earmarked for Cary Grant.

Opinions are divided on whether he managed either to make you forget Cary or make you wish Cary had appeared in this instead, but in truth it was refreshing to see Peck let his hair down and trade a few quips with co-star Sophia Loren, who played the mysterious Yasmin, the woman Pollock meets at Beshraavi's London mansion. She was her usual glamorous self, kitted out in Christian Dior and amusing everyone as her character is so difficult to figure out, which the script leaned heavily on to keep you watching, wishing that this convoluted plot would work itself into some kind of solution if Yasmin were the key to it all.

Actually, you'd probably be better off easing yourself back in your chair and allowing it all to pass by, not worrying too much about what on earth was really going on, for this was more a collection of scenes the filmmakers thought would be cool than a smooth narrative. That's not to say it did not conjure up some kind of solution by the finale, but after all that the feeling it had been written on the spot to match whatever whim the locations or the cast thought of never quite left it. Oddly, whereas in some thrillers of this type those locations would be fairly exotic or romantic, often in Arabesque you would be treated to Gregory Peck wandering the motorway to Slough, or an action setpiece at a building site.

Not quite Bond level, then, and while there were opportunities to visit the London Zoo or Royal Ascot for the racing, you'd notice the way out approach to the visuals was designed to cover up the fact that many of them were frankly dowdy and humdrum, and no amount of shooting them at an angle was going to cover that up. Still, the two leads had chemistry and seemed to be enjoying themselves in a half-serious manner, although modern viewers would find it hard not to notice the actors playing the Arab characters, Loren included, were not exactly picked for their faithfulness to that origin. Indeed, most of them were slathered in brown makeup, so no matter how good Badel was as a bad guy, it was distracting that he was obviously a white Brit underneath that slap. Still, a gritty realism was assuredly not what was being aimed for here, and the mood of a bit of a giggle was to its benefit even with the nastier aspects. Music by Henry Mancini.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3301 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: