Lively and Fun; Everything Here is Entertaining and Above-Average
Several years ago, many viewers rediscovered this lively, literate gem with script by Gera;d Drayson Adams, direction by Rudolph Mate. It was show as a rerun on a local TV Aos Angeles station hosted by Jackie Joseph, and ignoring critics who look down on all adventure genres, she and many of her crew fell in love with the movie. And why not? Theodore Dreiser's noted story has here been turned into a well-acted and entertaining movie; and master director Mate draws a very fine performance from a very young Piper Laurie indeed. The storyline is a sense-of-life piece, one where the hero, ably played (if one ignores his accent) by young, handsome Tony Curtis who has been raised by the thief who spared his life years before discovers that he is the rightful Prince of the kingdom. To save his adopted father from death, he helps him catch the man who has stolen the great pearl on which the safety of the city from a hostile army depends. This mission involves him with two women, Tina, thief, daughter of a thief played by Laurie and the princess, ably played by Peggie Castle; of course there are thefts, escapes, arguments, misunderstandings, fine dialogue scenes, a Guild of Jackals who are both help and hindrance and an usually satisfying climactic battle and denouement to a romantic ending. Admas' script is masterful, the direction very smooth, and all the technical aspects unusually satisfying, specially Hans J. Salter's music. Those in the cast besides the leads include talented Everett Sloane, Bettey Garde, Donald Randolph,Hayden Rourke, Marvin Miller, and Jeff Corey. There are some dancing girls seen here, but there are also scenes in the great souk, first-rate comedy, a robbing of the Treasury that is a classic caper, and enjoyably-three-dimensional characters. Favorite line--the Prince appoints his father to be the new keeper of the keeper of the new keeper of the Treasury--the Master of the Guild of Jackals. Colorful, abounding in action and very memorable, this treat is deserves to be a favorite with all those who enjoy uncomplicated adventure and the Grecianized-Near-eastern genre particularly.
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