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Omar Khayyam was one of the greatest 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 romancing a sultan's bride and foiling the assassin sect's plot to kill the sultan's son. Written by
Other reviewers said it best; this is your typical 1950s period pic actioner with lots of adventure and some sword play. I never pictured Omar Khayyam as much of an infiltrator, but the movie, being a movie from the 50s, takes liberty with Khayyam's life, and spices things up for the audience. Think about it. If you were a young man needing to take his girl on a date in 1957, would you want to see some existential docu-drama about the Persian poet's life and works? No, more like you'd want to see something that had action, romance, adventure, and heroics over bad guys to cap off the evening.
Well, this movie delivers. It's not an outstanding movie, but it's a good simple basic film that, to be honest, was a little ahead of its time in terms of addressing the turmoil in the middle east. Allusions to caliphates, the "one true religion", secret hideouts in the mountains certainly ring bells with events since our own September 11th, 2001. But, fortunately our hero, Omar Khayyam played by Cornel Wilde, uses his learned ways and scholarly teachings to fight a familiar foe we know today, whose roots are seated in past pride.
The story is right out of Hollwood 101, and everyone here is from central casting. The performances are a little wooden, and SFX are easily spotted but do their job, and overall the production values are fairly solid. Omar Khayyam doesn't give us too much of his poetry as he's too busy saving the kingdom of those he serves, but we are treated to a few lines of his poetic brilliance before the movie ends.
It's worth seeing once, and perhaps again on a rainy weekend afternoon. It's that kind of a movie. Watch it, enjoy it for what it is, but don't take it too seriously.
Overall a decent watch.
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