Sunday, August 28, 2011

Temple of a Thousand Lights (1965)

Director: Umberto Lenzi

Starring: Richard Harrison, Luciana Gilli, Wilbert Bradley, Daniele Vargas, Andrea Scotti

More info: IMDb

Plot: Richard Harrison stars as Alan Foster, a notorious bank robber from NYC hiding out in India. He get the bright idea to steal the "Mountain of Light," a large diamond encased in the forehead of a 20 foot religious Buddha. The bad guys in power and the people want it back.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Well, it's so so-so that I'm going to have to pass and watch the gazillion other movies on my watch list instead.

I love movies that take place in India. We'll forget that this one was filmed in Malaysia pretending to be India. I also love movies that take place in Malaysia. It's the exotic locales, architecture and people that make these places interesting. TEMPLE works for me on that level. Richard Harrison is likable as an adventurer, automatically giving it an Indiana Jones kind of vibe. The picture doesn't lack action but it could be more exciting. The heist of the diamond takes about 20 minutes which wouldn't be so bad if the tension and danger had been handled better. And then there's this piece of bullshit.

I had to re-watch that scene to make sure I wasn't going crazy. Yep. They cheated. I'm not sure why but it smacked to me of poor screenwriting and poor direction. Surely someone could have gotten Lenzi to handle that better. I like Lenzi but this is inexcusable and clumsy. I was having a decent time watching the movie and then suddenly I'm cheesed because of how clunky that escape was handled. It's not a deal killer but it just cheapens the thing, ya know?

Harrison puts the jewel back, gets a commendation by the state or something and he's already thinking about his next heist. It's a decent adventure film that I kind of recommend, especially the gorgeous print I saw, but prepare yourself to want more after your 88 minutes are up. Maybe I should slap in a 1960s widescreen Tarzan picture to make it all right.


  1. Actually the escape sequence was no cheap cheater. The Italian dvd is actually cut by a few minutes. Those extra minutes are available in the English language, full screen versions. I can tell you that for a fact, since i'm the person who made that fandub you've been watching. Great movie too. :)

  2. That explains it. It's crazy that they would cut something so necessary to the story. Thank you very much, by the way, for creating the dub. Someday I'd like to take the time and learn how to marry the soundtrack from one source to a great looking widescreen print of another.