Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Khartoum - Epic Entertainment

I heard about this movie from someone i really respect as a person, so it was quite obvious for me to watch this movie. I hadn't heard about this movie much because it's too old, i mean it was released in 1966. I have seen only a few Hindi movies from that era so it was quite obvious that i hadn't seen this movie or even heard about it in this case.

Whatever, after i heard about the movie, i did a lot of research like who was in the cast, director, what the movie was about and all. Although, i downloaded this movie last year but didn't feel like watching it till today.

Before, i start telling you about the movie, here are few of comments i found by various critics:-

1- "Confrontation between Western Imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism more topical than ever."
2- "A Thinking Man's Fictionalized Biography; A Beautiful Historical Re-creation"
3- "Good Drama And For Once History Is Not Too Distorted"
4- "History is cool" <---and my fav


The cast is incredible. I don't know much about the actors of that era but i have heard that Charlton Heston was a great performer and Oscar winner. I read and heard about him a lot but as this is the only movie i have seen of him, i would have to go with what everybody says of him.

Laurence Olivier, was the best performer for me in the movie. The way he carried out all the dialogs with that accent was really great. I know the difficulty of faking an accent and here, Olivier did it, with what it seemed to be, with great ease.

Other appreciable performers in the cast were Richard Johnson and Ralph Richardson.


Charlton Heston "Gordon"
The Mahdi (Laurence Olivier), who is a self pronounced, "Chosen One", wants to take over different countries who are against Islam. He wants to take over Egypt now, because he had a vision that Prophet Mohammad asked him to offer prayers from one of the cities in Egypt but Egypt government isn't allowing him to visit their country.

Mahdi is a powerful man with hundreds and thousands of followers. Egypt government asks the British government for help. However, Mahdi successfully defeats the Egyptian and British army in the first war. British Government then decides to send in their best person. So, they choose Gen. Charles 'Chinese' Gordon who helped Chinese king to win a battle and also have a good reputation in Sudan, where he ended the slavery system. 

Olivier "The Mahdi"
Gordon (Heston) moves Sudan with Col. Stewart (Johnson). Gordon talks to Mahdi about not getting into a war and leaving the peaceful people of Sudan. However, Mahdi doesn't agree and tells him about his plans of taking over Khartoum and thus, Egypt.

Gordon knew that he doesn't have enough man power to fight Mahdi's army, so he sends Col. Stewart back to England and asking the British government to send reinforcement while he fights the Mahdi at Khartoum. British government, who were reluctant to send more army to Sudan, sends reinforcement under public pressure. Gordon knew that he has a heroic image among the people of Britain and government will send reinforcement to get him out of Sudan safely.

In the end, Mahdi attacks Khartoum and Gordon fights till his last drop of blood. 

Good Things

The movie boasts of great performances delivered by Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier. Both were incredible in their respective characters. However, if i had to pick one out of them, i would pick Olivier. I liked Richard Johnson also.

I think the back ground music of the movie was good especially during the war sequences.

Bad Things

I think the duration of the movie was a bit too much especially when i noticed a lot of places where it could have been saved. I mean showing people walking through the deserts for minutes isn't a good idea.

Anyways, it's a Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier especial. You would love the movie.

7/10 for me.
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