Surprisingly enough, this proved to be a totally routine desert adventure from many of the same people behind ZARAK (1956), of which THE BANDIT OF ZHOBE is only a pale shadow; while no classic in itself, the inherent campiness of the earlier film rendered it irresistible but that has been replaced here by relentless dullness (the extremely faded print I watched certainly did not help matters)! Victor Mature once again makes for a wooden (and, having had his family murdered, humorless) lead; incidentally, the narrative spends more time with the obligatory young couple (Anthony Newley[!] and Anne Aubrey) though Norman Wooland more or less serves the same function that Michael Wilding did in ZARAK. The writer-director of this one had actually written the latter and would return again to this milieu for Hammer's THE BRIGAND OF KANDAHAR (1965; which I may be watching soon at the same venue which hosted the screening of THE BANDIT OF ZHOBE itself). Incidentally, I have also just acquired KILLERS OF KILIMANJARO (1959), yet another Warwick production centering around a fading Hollywood star (Robert Taylor) but also featuring the aforementioned Newley and Aubrey. Anyway, to get back to the film at hand: at a trim 80 minutes, I suppose it makes for passable unassuming entertainment but is also utterly forgettable; for the record, it does climax in a lengthy (and reasonably exciting) skirmish even if the low-budget involved meant that the same sets as ZARAK would have to be used (and probably some of its action footage as well)! As usual with this company, reading the credits I could not help but notice how producer Albert R. Broccoli, story writer Richard Maibaum and cinematographer Ted Moore would be far more inspired when they set out to make the initial James Bond extravaganzas a mere 3 years later (by the way, a regular of that series, Walter Gotell, is the chief villain here who mortally wounds Mature at the finale but is himself despatched by the now understanding Wooland). For what it is worth, the biggest laugh this film got from the five-man audience who were watching it (myself included, of course) was when a heavy-set Indian henchman spat out what seemed like a bucketful of saliva at the British and clumsy soldier Anthony Newley almost slips in it!!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?