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797....Charlemagne and Haroun Al Rachid are the most powerful sovereigns of the world ;both strengthen their authority through Christianity and Islam respectively.
Haroun Al Rachid's reign was flourishing ,he protected the arts and the famous "One Thousand and one nights " bears witness of the brilliant literature of the era.
Charlemagne formed political contacts with his oriental equivalent who sent him an embassy and presents including a clepsydra;The Western Europe master wanted the Muslim caliph to protect the Christian monasteries and to let the pilgrims go and pray on Christ's tomb.
That's when our story begins:three gallant knights,Renaud (Gerard Barray ) ,Didier (Giuliano Gemma) and Thierry (Gil Vidal) arrive in Bagdad to ask for religious tolerance ;the caliph will later agree,and it's the only historical fact in a two-hour movie.
On Their way to Bagdad,they come to a damsel in distress 's rescue (Karina)and take her to the caliph who must choose his wife .Karina is Schéhérazade (check the title) ,but not the beautiful lady whose tales used to keep the sultan awake for one and thousand nights ;it was the movie which was supposed to thrust straight-faced Karina into the mainstream ,and it does ,in a way,for after watching this far-fetched tale,you will not need some aspirin ,as it is often the case with her then-partner Jean-Luc's works.
The first part is relatively coherent ,with two or three good moments :the three tests ,the beautiful woman handed over to a bunch of ugly dirty beggars ,and the village where nobody wants to cure the valiant knight and repeats "Bagdad".
The second part is a horse of a different color: a sprawling development,with a harem where absolutely anyone can just walk in (it is reportedly said that Haround had 200 wives!) ,a hateful Egyptian(?) rival (Marilu Tolo),and her accomplice who wants to be top dog.The escape across the desert Under a blistering sun shows the influence of HGClouzot's "Manon" ;the director even has Barray scream 'now she's mine,you Haroun,can't you hear me? aping Michel Auclair.
History is really given a rough ride,but it is entertaining on a rainy day ;today,the movie has Fallen into oblivion,being ignored by everybody.
NB :Pierre Gaspard -Huit took Barray again,after "Le Capitaine Fracasse" ,in which he played the villain opposite Jean Marais.
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