Archive for the ‘Cinerama’ Category

I haven’t written a movie review, or a blog post for that matter, in ages.

So here is a short one!

It would be great to do a comparative study of Kasabian’s Empire (2006) and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tony Richardson (1968).


Empire’s color, light and texture is so reminiscent of the 1960s cinematography and the grainy texture that can be attributed to the manner by which a film stock is developed.

Both films, the music video and the motion picture, also present a case study of the lives of generals and soldiers in that era, in 1854, and of course the overall futility of war – I am thinking from an existential view point rather than a moral one.

Evil must be fought, however, sometimes those who give the orders are no less evil than the ones they are fighting.

Here is trailer for The Charge of the Light Brigade.


Guess this is my way of saying I really love Kasabian, their music and their approach to shooting music videos.

Honorable mention: Vlad The Impaler.


I apologize for not posting regularly but I’ve been going through a lot in terms of work and career changes.

I also been listening to more music part of my life as a radio Disc Jockey and news presenter at Radio Jordan’s 96.3 FM, The English Service.

My shows are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Hope you are doing well in this crazy beautiful world that is plagued by blood thirsty idiots.

Good day all …

Mike V. Derderian

Writer & Illustrator

May 2014

Cinerama: Blazing Saddles

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Cinerama

Blazing Saddles

By Mike Derderian

“Tu es muerte señor and that rusty old star ya wearing won’t help ya gringo….” shouted Punch O-Wella, the meanest man in the Wild West. Before O-Wella could complete his sentence a speeding bullet fired from my rusty six-shooter went through his leather vest faster than a coyote running after a hen.

“No, es imposible…perro!” gasped O-Wella, before collapsing like a rock sinking to a bottom of a lake on a hot July summer. They call me “The Blazing Saddle Pistolero” and there is a reason why folks call me that. I was trained by the best in the West. Wylie Kal always told me to stick to my guns even though I actually had just one. But it was more than enough.

You see my six-shooter has a mind of its own and every now and then it goes off putting a blazing hole in my saddle and the horse I am riding. Do you know how many horses I had replaced? Too many and getting a license for one of those things ain’t cheap, especially if it runs on gravel-free hay.

But if you are thinking I am loco wait until you hear the story of my cousin The Waco Kid, who starred along Sheriff Bart in Mel Brooks’ 1974 saddle-splitting Blazing Saddles.

This crazy movie stars Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Alex Karras, Mel Brooks, Madeline Khan, Dom DeLuise and Harvey Korman as Hedley Lamarr, the bad guy.

Once upon a time there was a peaceful town called Rock Ridge. It was populated by the nuttiest people. One day the bad dude, Hedley Lamarr, decides to take over the town and the best way to achieve this was to divide them first and then conquer them.

With the help of Governor William J.LePetomaine, played by Brooks who also plays the role of the Yiddish-speaking Red Indian chief, Lamarr appoints Bart (Cleavon Little) as town sheriff. Bart is black and the town folk are racists; this means trouble, the kind of trouble Lamarr wants.

Upon learning that this black stranger, who just waltzed into town, is their long awaited sheriff the angry town folk decide to lynch Bart. Realizing that there is no other way to save his hide, Bart suddenly points his pistol to his head and takes himself as hostage. Using an altered voice he threatens to shoot the sheriff, meaning himself. The shear dumbness of this scene makes it so hilarious. Whoever thought of taking oneself hostage? Well, other than Mel Brooks, obviously no one.

Pulling himself away slowly from the angry mob with his pistol pointed to his mouth, Bart hides inside the sheriff’s office where he meets Jim (Wilder) aka The Waco Kid. Once the fastest gunslinger in the West, Jim is now nothing but a drunkard. The image of Dean Martin’s dude, the boozy gunslinger, in Howard Hawks’ 1959 Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and Angie Dickinson, immediately comes to mind.

You mustn’t forget that Brooks is the father of parody and spoofing, which is why Blazing Saddles comes out as a chaotic mesh of movies and clichéd corny lines. “We’ll head them off at the pass!” Taggart (Pickens) excitedly hollers. “Head them off at the pass? I hate that cliché,” an angry Lamarr (Korman) shouts.

Little and Wilder’s performance as the dynamic duo was convincingly cool. The latter revealed a side that contrasts with his usual twitchy and neurotic on-screen characterizations. Still they weren’t exactly John Wayne and Dean Martin and maybe this was what Brooks wanted to achieve. Can you imagine the Duke talking jive?

Madeline Khan’s performance as Lili Von Shtupp, the German saloon singer and seductress with a lisp, who is hired by Lamarr to distract Bart from his mission to save the town and its people, was stellar and ridiculously hilarious not to mention “twuly bwilliant”.

Now, if someone conducted a poll on the funniest movie villain ever, Korman’s obnoxious Hedley Lamarr would get the title. The man is a merciless, shameless, dogged, vile-tongued, child–hater, wife beating (I just guessed), bloodsucking despicable schmuck.

Blazing Saddles is a 93-minute movie packed with hilarious, at times bad, racist and prejudiced jokes that fare well with a Mel Brooks script. For those who enjoy watching campy spoofs it is lots of fun but to those who have “sophisticated” cinematic tastes it will come out as unfunny and dull as hell.

If a movie with such a graphic racial and social stereotyping tone was made in our times, rather than back in the 70s, it would have not been probably tolerated; poking fun at other races is no longer regarded funny unless it is related to the racist stereotyping of Arabs in Hollywood.

Must-see-scenes: Lamarr’s criminal roundup where Jim and Bart pose as two members of the Ku Klux Klan; Bart’s tryst with Lili Von Shtupp; any scenes that include Hedley Lamarr’s bigoted henchman, Taggart (Pickens) and the outrageous finale when the whole picture literally gets mangled up.

Cinerama: Rabbit of Seville

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Cinerama

Rabbit of Seville

BY Mike Derderian

A couple of days ago, I went to my barber’s shop to find the poor man sleeping on the couch. I tried to wake him up but he was in the deep snooze mood. I sat next to him and waited for about 15 minutes until he finally woke up.

After shaking off his drowsiness and shock, I sat in the chair, where this week’s column was inspired. As his electric razor nibbled through my shorter than short strands of hair that dropped to the floor, the screen was filtering images of death from South Lebanon. A disgusted paramedic was holding the limp and gutted body of a six-year old Lebanese child—a tattered torn doll superimposed on the ugly reality of war. All the while my short crop was being mowed and the tiny stalks of hair arrowed to the floor in silence.

My imagination drifted to a deserted park where men sat in barber chairs. A clown went around distributing razors so they can shave their manes off; not their whiskers—they still needed a semblance of make-believe dignity.

It wasn’t a dream; if it was, Bugs Bunny would have given me a hare-cut, the same way he gave one to Elmer Fudd, in the 1950 timeless classic Looney Toons short for Rabbit of Seville. This is where absurdity mixes with reality.

“How do? Welcome to my shop, let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop, daintily, daintily…hey you!  Don’t look so perplexed, why must you be vexed? Can’t you see you’re next? Yes, you’re next, you’re so next!” Bugsy sings gleefully to Elmer.

Rhymed by the 1,000-voice Mel Blanc, Bugs Bunny is at his funniest. I have seen my fair share of Loony Toons shorts and this seven-minute farce is probably one of the best that I saw.

Chuck Jones, the master animator behind some of the funniest and craziest cartoon movies, directs Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan, who voiced Elmer Fudd, in this hare-raising opera of blunders.

They say “it takes two to tango” and what Blanc and Bryan did with the material they had at hand was more than tango. Blanc, however, outshines Bryan’s voice characterization. After listening to Bugs singing his own lyrics to Gioacchino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia ( aka The Barber of Seville) you’ll know why.

With gunshots behind him, Bugs rushes out of the woods and into an opera house where The Barber of Seville is to be performed. Too preoccupied with shooting aimlessly from his never-running-out-of-ammo hunting ACME shotgun, Fudd suddenly finds himself standing on stage facing a huge crowd.

At moments like these you wish you were never; born but when an animated rabbit wearing a barber’s coat pulls you to a barber’s chair you’ll wish you just weren’t there. The problem with Fudd was that he was there and couldn’t get out. I would have simply took a bow and walked away but hey that’s just obnoxious me.

Anyone familiar with “Toon Town” history knows that the gun wielding schnook, Fudd, is the embodiment of everything but the great white hunter; so relax the bunny lives. Now, throw Bugs Bunny in a barbershop filled with scissors, electric razors, nail files and hair fertilizers and tonics and you got yourself “a little shop of horrors”. It is for the unfortunate customer.

“Ooh, wait ‘till I get that wabbit!” Fudd sings. “What would you want with a wabbit? Can’t you see that I’m much sweeter, I’m your little señoriter, you are my type of guy, let me straighten your tie and I shall dance for you,” Bugs, disguised as a Spanish lady, sings back.

Fitting The Barber of Seville opera with lyrics like the above was crazy and Rossini is probably tossin-‘n-turnin in his grave to the tunes of Bobby Lewis’ music.

The rabbit is as loony as ever: He changes into a señoriter, a snake charmer (sorry I meant an electric razor charmer) and a groom. After a crazy contest on who has the biggest weapon Bugs and Fudd, somehow, end up tying the knot to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, after the latter dons a bride’s outfit.

True the men behind those crazy Loony Toons shorts borrowed a lot of music from well-known classic compositions, however, Merry Melody episodes had their own music that were written by talented composers and musicians like Carl W.Stalling, who worked in this one.

The Rabbit of Seville is a gunshot fast short with a witty dialogue that is delivered with brilliant and hilarious voicing on part of Blanc; composite the voice with the images and you will have lots of fun.

Cinerama: The Director’s Cut

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Cinerama

The Director’s Cut

By Mike Derderian

Things around me no longer made sense and for a couple of weeks I felt like the loneliest person in the world just like Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) before he delivers the best movie quote you will ever hear or read in your life.

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die,” Batty recites to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner.

What Scott did was rehash (edit, cut and insert) Blade Runner to come up with what he thinks is a better version. One that is closer to his vision. Now I’ve seen both versions—the first on a VHS tape and the second on DVD. If you ask me, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut was as good as the first version was when it was first released in 1982.

The Director’s Cut was released 10 years after but was it any different? Yes, Scott cut out some of Harrison Ford’s voice-overs like the ones in the beginning of the film, which I believe were quite good.

“They don’t advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession…ex-cop…ex-blade runner…ex-killer,” Deckard disdainfully mutters as he sits at a Chinese Noodles and Sushi stand in the futuristic gutter-like streets of Los Angeles. Moments later he adds, “sushi, that’s what my ex-wife called me…cold fish.”

Who wouldn’t love this guy the moment he says these words! Coming from Harrison Ford I was dumbstruck as a kid by the actor, who over the years became my icon. I mean I was so into Blade Runner that I fashioned my hair—still do with what’s left of it—after Deckard’s hairdo.

Talk about crazy. However, for a cinema freak like me that was just normal believe me. I am Lucky that my favorite movie was not The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, huh! Still it is a good movie.

By removing the voice-overs what started out as a detective thriller ended up being a story about a man, who learns how to live from a dying humanoid, Batty, who is a replica with an expiry date. Batty knows that after four years he is going to expire. So driven like any other man, who is perplexed by life and it’s true meaning, he comes back from banishment trying to find his creator.

Ridley also added some scenes involving a unicorn that he took from his 1985 fantasy Legend starring a very young Tom Cruise. The galloping unicorn was inserted as part of a dream sequence that Deckard had. It supposedly alludes to Deckard’s own identity; a thing I am still trying to fathom.

Blade Runner presents a perfect argument when it comes to the issue of cloning and its moral repercussions. Can we create and are we allowed to create human-like organisms? If man succeeds in a creating a creature with a soul that would answer a lot of questions about our own existence but at the same time it would obliterate the power and drive behind such an existence.

Every time I watch Blade Runner I re-discover that I am nothing but a mortal, which is why I so much cherish it. If you remember and I don’t think you have that strong memory Blade Runner was the third column I wrote in Cinerama.

Our life is but moments we remember throughout the years that we are destined to live and watching movies has become a part of my years. I remember mother telling me to study instead of watching movies; thank God I did not listen to her because I wouldn’t have had the memories and moments that I write about here. Until next week, remember rain might wash away our sins but it also washes away our memories, may it never rain.


Cinerama: Der Unterganag

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Cinerama

Der Untergana

By Mike Derderian

Funny how the title of a movie can take a person 10 years back in time. I was young and many of my ideologies were similar to what I am stuck with at the moment. I have to admit though that I erased the turn-the-other-cheek rule out of my book. It was simply impractical.

I found myself standing in the middle of my school hall that was packed with parents and children; they were all cheering. A girl called Najwan had just finished reading a paper about Adolf Hitler. “I am proud to say that Hitler is my idol,” she said as she finished reading.

A hero! Hitler is no hero! Her agony at seiing Arabs suffering at the hands of Israelis made her mindset: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Why the sudden surge of memories? Well, I watched Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 masterpiece Der Untergang at a friend’s house and that’s when it all came back to me. The title of this 156-minute war drama that translates to Downfall chronicles the remaining days of Hitler and that of his loyal entourage at the infamous Berlin underground bunker.

It stars Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Christian Berkel, Juliane Köhler, Matthias Habich, André Hennicke, Thomas Kretschmann and Alexandra Maria Lara, who played the role of Traudl Junge, Hitler’s private secretary between the years 1942-1945 and around whom the movie marginally revolved.

Bruno Ganz’ portrayal of the aging Fuehrer was stellar and helped shed light on a side that was never portrayed. It was not exactly psychoanalysis or an in depth research into Hitler’s inner self, as much as it was a testimony on how he was perceived by his staff of generals, officers, soldiers, secretaries and friends.

The G in Ganz must stand for great for the man was brilliant and for a moment or two you actually feel sorry for Hitler. Now, you won’t be seeing Hitler standing in a corner soliloquizing but you will find out that he has a soft spot for children, dogs and vegetarian meals.

We see a man best remembered for his monstrosity sitting on a table with his staff, enjoying a vegetarian meal, holding a child in his arms as he listens to other children sing German folkloric songs; a man who is in love and cares for the safety of his personal staff.

Ganz’ physical transformation, which was enhanced by his skill as an actor, helped in bringing Hitler back to life. With a bent back he strides the halls of his bunker clutching his nervously twitching left arm—he has been struck with Parkinson’s disease. His black hair covers one side of his forehead, with few locks of gray here and there; however, near the end, most of it turns into a mesh of white and grey.

The stillness in Der Untergang’s is what makes it a really disturbing movie yet highly enjoyable. Violence proves more distressing when it is not incorporated directly on screen but hinted at—this is where Hirschbiegel directorial brilliance lies.

You don’t see someone’s brain coming out of his skull—save for one scene. Even Hitler and Eva’s suicide scene was shoot—no pun intended—behind closed doors. Hirschbiegel took the outlines of one of the most violent days in German history that oozed of death and bloodshed and turned it into an emotional trek.

The material of the plot was derived from two books, Der Untergang by Joachim Fest and Bis Zur Letzten Stunde (Up to the Last Hour) by Traudl Junge.

A segment taken from a documentary entitled Blind Spot with real life Traudl—died at 82—talking about her experience and how she never knew the monster Hitler was, appeared at the beginning of the film and at the end.

“I wasn’t a fanatic Nazi. I could have said in Berlin, ‘no, I’m not doing that. I don’t want to go to the Fuhrer’s headquarters.’ But I didn’t do that. I was too curious. I didn’t realize that fate would lead me somewhere I didn’t want to be. But still, I find it hard to forgive myself,” Traudl says.

Watching Der Untergang will take you there. It was like watching a roller coaster that we know is about to be derailed. Everyone knows that Hitler and Eva Brown, the woman he loved and wedded in his final hours, decided to commit suicide. The roller coaster was derailed and to our shock the awe was unbearable even though we were being emotionally prepped up throughout the film.

Reaching that conclusion—the demise of Hitler and the Third Reich—in Hirschbiegel’s masterpiece proves a painful and exhausting experience, similar to what Steven Speilberg did in his 1998 graphic war movie Saving Private Ryan.

The claustrophobic atmosphere of the bunker, accompanied with a non-stop tempo of siren alarms, air raids and loud shrieks of falling bombs and men in pain, helped heighten the film’s intensity. People with high blood pressure are hereby warned.

Hirschbiegel not only played with our emotions but with our vision too. When Traudl walks out of a Russian packed Berlin, the camera for a few seconds starts to shake. Nothing is more annoying than a shaky camera and this is intentional on part of the director, who wanted to convey Truadl’s nausea and pathos.

All actors especially Corinna Harfouch, who played the role of ice queen Magda Goebbels the wife of Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, were on par with Ganz’s performance and managed to invoke one’s emotions.

Must-see-scenes: Truadl’s daring escape near the end, the scene where Magda cold bloodedly kills her children because she believes that a Germany without Hitler is not worth living, Goeblels’ (Matthes) scene where he asks Traudl to write his testament and any scene involving Bruno Ganz’s Hitler.

Cinerama: The Da Vinci Code

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Cinerama

The Da Vinci Code

By Mike Derderian

I woke up to find myself lying on an asphalt road that branched into two paths. The first was craggy and covered with sharp thorns; the second was smooth and I spied no obstacle on its expansive surface.

Jesus Christ was standing at the first inviting me to use his path. “Your road is full of thorns and is hard and can’t you see I am barefoot,” I wept. A voice coming from the entrance of the second path all of a sudden whispered to my ears, “come use my path it is easy, son of man. Why go cross the hard path when I can offer thee ease of mind and body?”

It was Satan. I woke up again but this time I found myself standing in front of a dusty window shop that exhibited a collection of framed paintings and pictures. Inside I saw Christ’s fraught countenance, as a crown of thorns caressed his weary temple, graced within a humble wooden frame. As many before him and many after him Christ inspired millions to a life of spirituality and faith and as the grains of time sift through one side of the hourglass to the other the burden on his battered shoulders grows heavier; yet he still stands firm.

Quoting Adso from Umberto Eco’s prologue to In the Name of the Rose I would like to say, “everything is on the wrong path. In those days, thank God, I acquired from my master the desire to learn and sense of the straight way, which remains even when the path is tortuous.”

How do we know that we are on the right path? A week ago I strayed away from the path. I sinned and bought a pirated copy of Ron Howard’s The ‘Da Vinci Code’ starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina and Paul Bettany. I bought it for JD1 even though I regard myself a staunch advocator of copyrights and original CDs and DVDs and refuse to buy copies.

It wasn’t that I wanted to know what the film was about for I have already read the book. They say curiosity killed the cat but at least it died knowing something or imagining it knew something. Ever since I was a child I regarded imagination God’s greatest gift to us for without imagination literature, science and religion would not exist.

How many of you tried to envision how baby Jesus looked like after being given birth to by Virgin Mary? Now when John Milton wrote his Paradise Lost and Dante Alighieri wrote his Divine Comedy they surely must have antagonized a lot of people especially the clergy. However, many years after the publishing of their works the two writers have become literary pillars and their works are now placed among the best works of fiction humanity have ever produced.

I had to watch the film that I know would be banned in Jordan for I wanted to see how Howard worked with Dan Brown’s book. The albino drew a pistol from his coat and aimed the barrel through the bars, directly at the curator. “You should not have run.” His accent was not easy to place. “Now tell me where it is.”

“I told you already,” the curator stammered, kneeling defenseless on the floor of the gallery. “I have no idea what you are talking about!” The above excerpt is from the book’s opening, which is very literally used in the opening scene of Howard’s movie but of course with a different dialogue.

Brown’s book is more disturbing than Ron Howard’s panned film. As the pages kept turning in my trembling hands I reached the last line: I was shocked at the idea that Christianity’s greatest symbol wasn’t what I grew up with, and which became intrinsic within my soul.

One of the film’s taglines reads “Seek the Truth” now if I am going to embrace this truth because Dan Brown wrote that Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper had Mary Magdalene sitting next to Jesus I am not worthy of my religion. So I say nice try and a good plot for a book but nothing more.

Cinerama: The Thief of Baghdad

Posted: September 12, 2009 in Cinerama

The Thief of Baghdad

By Mike Derderian

Inspired by the Arabian tales in Arabian Nights: A Thousand and One Night, Clive Donner’s 1978 film The Thief of Baghdad recounts the adventures of the dethroned prince of Sakhar and his magician friend against the evil forces of the sorcerer. Brief as the adventures are in this version they are still enjoyable. The Thief of Baghdad, Taj (Kabir Bedi), sets out to save Baghdad from the clutches of an evil sorcerer and vizier known as Jaudur (Terence Stamp).

The original The Thief of Baghdad was produced in 1924 by Raoul Walsh and starred Douglas Fairbanks. However, Donner’s version depicts the hero, as apposed to Walsh’s original, as a real prince and not a thief as portrayed by the roguishly handsome Fairbanks.

This 104-minute fantasy stars Sir Peter Ustinov, Frank Finlay, Ian Holm, Pavla Ustinov, Daniel Emilfork, Marina Vlady and Roddy McDowall as the charming but not-so-lucky market magician Hassan.

Most people would remember McDowall as the boyish yet wicked Caesar Augustus Octavian in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1963 un-Shakespearian lavish production Cleopatra that starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

To no surprise McDowall’s portrayal of Hassan was a show stealer and Bedi’s character Taj that started out quite audaciously suddenly turned flat especially near the end. The supporting actor ended up being the lead; and knowing McDowall’s formidable acting background I would not blame Bedi, who two years earlier brilliantly shone in the role of Sandokan the Tiger of Malaysia, a character created by Emilio Salgari, in a 1976 Italian television series based on his novel.

Did you know that Jordan television (JTV) aired Sandokan back in the 1980’s! However, Bedi’s austere stare and statuesque posture will forever be engraved in the minds of people thanks to his portrayal of Gobinda, Kamal Khan’s ruthless henchman in the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy starring Roger Moore and Maud Adams. Bedi also had a memorable role in Kevin Reynolds’s 1988 political and military masterpiece The Beast of War.

In this movie Bedi was the charming gallant prince Taj Al Molouk, who was unjustly deprived of his throne by his father’s evil vizier. On his way to Baghdad to seek the hand of the Caliph’s daughter Princess Yasmin, Taj’s caravan is ambushed. The henchmen kill by mistake an innocent man.

Believing that Taj is dead, the Vizier poses as the ruler of Sakhar and heads out to ask for the hand of the princess. Taj miraculously finds his way to Baghdad. Upon being saved by Hassan in the marketplace he is more than ever determined to win the princess’s hand. So they pose as royalty.

What do you know? He meets Jaudur at the Caliph’s court and a conflict of interest ensues. Yasmin and Taj’s hearts click; however, some members of the court identify Hassan from the marketplace and thus Taj is deemed an imposter. The Caliph (Ustinov) then realizes that someone is lying so he asks all four suitors including Taj to prove their love to his daughter by brining the most expensive item in the world.

Now, The Thief of Baghdad is hardly ever a lousy movie but still it has its shortcomings. A critic might say that it was too bloody fast. Jumping around from one place to another did not allow the characters to evolve and become more credible. Then again, after movies like The Matrix, do we need credibility to enjoy a good film, and do we have to see the marks, touch them and feel them to believe? No.

The final confrontation between Taj (Bedi) and Jaudur (Stamp) was so ill-conceived. I mean as a kid, when I was almost 10 and when I first saw it on a video, I really loved it but now it looks like breaking an egg. I mean a man with Jaudur’s dark powers should have been given more screen time before pulverizing him. Yes this is a movie where good actually wins. The special effects were highly admirable considering the year it was made; so don’t push the technical envelope.

Terence Stamp’s performance was coldly evil and Jaudur as a result was the embodiment of both avarice and apathy. Let’s face it Stamp knows how to act buddies. The acting is enjoyable and sincere and the actors’ pronunciation and grasp of Arabic terminology is highly admirable especially on the part of Ustinov senior—yes my dear reader Pavla Ustinov is his daughter.

Must-see-scenes: Hassan’s magical antics and disappearance act that saves the life of Taj, who was being pursued by police for stealing a watermelon; Jaudar’s flying horsemen vs Taj and Hassan during their magic carpet ride; and the eerie passage that leads Taj and Hassan to the Temple of Wisdom, where the all seeing eye exists—the most expensive item.