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Sidney J. Furie
"Twenty four hours to kill" is set in 1965 Beirut at a time when that city perhaps deserved its soubriquet 'The Playground of the Middle East'. Needless to say, today's Beirut has a quite a different international reputation. It is interesting to see the Beirut of nearly 50 years ago in this movie when the French influence on the city was still evident. Other than that, there is little in this film that will hold the interest of the viewer. Lex Barker is somewhat impressive in the lead role and delivers his lines well, but Mickey Rooney adds nothing to this film. Austria-born Walter Slezak plays the villain, but it is not clear whether he is a Fez-cap wearing Turk living in Beirut, or an Arab who was bestowed with a Fez cap by the film's director who thought that every Arab wore one. Of course, in the 1960s, westerners thought Turks and Arabs to be equally exotic and interchangeable. Despite its Middle Eastern setting, local Lebanese are not much in evidence, in this flick. Instead, we have transplanted Westerners dealing with Walter's Slezak's Malouf. Yet, that is not enough to hold the viewer's interest.
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