Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Khartoum (1966)

Directors: Basil Dearden, Eliot Elisofon

Writer: Robert Ardrey

Composer: Frank Cordell

Starring: Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier, Richard Johnson, Ralph Richardson, Alexander Knox, Johnny Sekka, Michael Hordern, Zia Mohyeddin, Marne Maitland, Nigel Green, Hugh Williams, Ralph Michael, Douglas Wilmer, Edward Underdown, Peter Arne, Alan Tilvern

More info: IMDb

Tagline: They say the Nile still runs red from the Battle of Khartoum!

Plot: In the Sudan, in 1884-85, Egyptian forces led by a British general defend Khartoum against an invading Muslim army led by a religious fanatic, the Mahdi.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

For a true story of two men on opposite ends who respect each other but they must also stay true to themselves and the people they represent, it's not nearly as exciting as it could've been.  Heston takes a little while to get used to with a British accent.  It's hard to take at first but I settled into it soon enough and forgot about it.  There's not a lot of action and nearly all of it is in the final few minutes (and I do mean few).  The battle isn't nearly as grand as you'd expect considering there's an incredible amount of build up preparing you for it.  I don't want to imply that's a bad thing.  Battles like this don't have to be huge to succeed.  Considering the odds, it wasn't going to last long anyway but there is a lot of talk and preparation for it before it happens.  If you find the movie slow, be sure to stick around because it's worth watching even if it's about 40 minutes before Heston gets to the desert and the fun begins.  Olivier does it up blackface as The Mahdi.  He does a fine job as well.  It's a great cast and it's well acted.  The music is sometimes bigger than it needs to be like when Heston and Olivier meet but it's an adventurous score in search of an adventure.  The MGM DVD sports a great looking anamorphic widescreen print with only a trailer (also anamorphic widescreen) for an extra. 

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