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Khartoum


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the splendid spectacle of british General Charles "chinese" Gordon as he attempts to hold on to the sudanese city of Khartoum for the good guys back in them 1880s. Laurence Olivier is a real hoot as the mahdi. this has always been rated a two-star movie meanin' fair but as the general quality of films degrade khartoum o'course is gonna look better an' better with the passage of time.
might pull away during it to watch lady in cement on MOVIES! an' also wanna see roger corman's the st. valentine's day massacre after lady in cement but I surely will watch the first hour of Khartoum. always get a kick outta corman's st. valentine's day massacre with Jason Robards arguably miscast as the big fella (capone) but Robards sure does try. love that opening music and there's a good fight between George Segal and a hot blonde. :D kinda like John Agar for the time he's on screen as Dini O'Banion ("the hell with them dam sicilians.") Ralph Meeker is good too as Bugs Moran.

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I've always thought that Khartoum is an intelligent, "thinking man's" epic, with a highly effective understated performance by Charlton Heston as Chinese Gordon. (Okay, no one will believe he's a Brit, but, so what?).

 

I also think that Olivier is fun as the Mahdi, and the final battle scenes in the film are impressively staged, including an artist's portrait version of what happened to Gordon. (There are various stories about what happened to him at the end. The one portrayed in this film is impressive).

 

Sure, there's dramatic license taken with history in the film, but what Hollywood film doesn't do that? Gordon and the Mahdi never met, but, when they do in this film it's dramatically involving.

 

This was the last of Heston's big budget '60s epics and I think he ended the series with one of his best. A shame that it tanked at the box office.

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