Omar Khayyam was among the greatest of Persian poets. He was also a brilliant mathematician. Though his quatrains were written in the 11th century, they are still popular the world over. ...
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Omar Khayyam was among the greatest of Persian poets. He was also a brilliant mathematician. Though his quatrains were written in the 11th century, they are still popular the world over. The details of his life are unknown, so this movie invents a biography for him and includes in it his real achievements - the invention of a new calendar and the penning of those epigrammatic poems. This film has him losing the love of his life to his ruler, and foiling an assassin sect's plot to kill that ruler, the empire's shah. Written by
"Omar Khayyam" is in many ways a typical 50s Hollywood oriental sword and sandal epic but with a few twists and tremendous (unmet) potential. The actual story of three friends (Hassan, Omar and Nizam) goes back hundreds of years and is pretty engaging. The historical personalities of Omar and Hassan al-Sabbah are quite interesting characters. There is potentially a great film here.
The actual production is not great but it has some nice things: Michael Rennie gives a great performance as Hassani. It is one of his best things, right up there with the alien in "The Day the Earth Stood Still." It also has Raymond Massey and the great Abraham Sofaer, a distinctive character actor, as Tutush, the Sultan's brother. It has a fine score by Victor Young and some neat matte paintings of Alamut. Some of the lines are great: "I know of some other heads that should be sealed with wax and honey." But in the end it is too formulaic of a Hollywood spectacular. Cornel Wilde is too stolid. Such a rich historical backdrop and fascinating subject matter is worthy of a better film.
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