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This is the story of the shy Mongol boy Temujin who,during the 13th century, becomes the fearless Mongol leader Genghis Khan that unites all Mongol tribes and conquers India,China,Persia,Korea and parts of Rusia,Europe and Middle-East.
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In ancient times, the Mongolian warlord Temujin must do battle against the rival tribe that killed his father. The battles pale in comparison with Temujin's home life, as he attempts to woo the heart of the red-haired Tartar prisoner Bortai whom he has captured in a raid. He must also deal with various intrigues within his palace. Eventually, Bortai falls to his manly charms, Temujin defeats his enemies within and without, and is crowned Genghis Khan. Written by
Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes backed the film financially. He later paid an extra $12 million (estimated) for every existing copy because of guilt; he paid to ship 60 tons of contaminated soil to Hollywood for retakes. He kept a tight hold on the film, not even allowing it to be shown on television, for years. Universal bought the rights to the film in 1979, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, it had not been seen by the public for 21 years prior to the purchase (allegedly, Paramount obtained reissue rights in 1974). See more »
In many of the "day for night" shots, the tents, animals and people all cast very strong shadows. See more »
[Surrounded by his enemies]
Come and take me, mongrels - if you dare. While I have fingers to grasp a sword, and eyes to see your cowardly faces, your treacherous heads will not be safe on your shoulders. For I am Temujin, the Conqueror. No prison can hold me, no army defeat me.
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One of the all-time bad movies, an unintentional joke that actually stays funny for over two hours. John Wayne as Genghis Khan is one of the worst examples of miscasting in the history in Hollywood, but that's not what makes the movie so funny. What makes the movie funny is Wayne attempting to say the ridiculous purple prose of the script, the whole thing is written in this sort of pseudo-Shakesperian English, and John Wayne was always one of those rare actors who had serious trouble with anything like a grammatical sentence. Whenever things start to lag Wayne has to say something like "I ree-gret that Ah am without sufficient spittle to sa-lute you as you dee-serve" or the classic "Yore beautiful in yore wrath".
Also memorable for bad supporting performances by Agnes Moorehead and William Conrad, the sight of Wayne in Asiatic eye-makeup and Fu-Manchu moustace (the only biography of Khan I've read says he was white anyway), Susan Hayward doing a clumsy sword dance, a rape scene that would embarrass the tackiest Bodice-ripper, kitschy sets, and a Las Vegas revue act featuring a female dancer in a white leotard with a patch of fringe right *there*.
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