6.6/10
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Arabesque (1966)

Unrated | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 5 May 1966 (USA)
Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Prof. David Pollock
...
...
Beshraavi
Kieron Moore ...
Yussef Kasim
Carl Duering ...
Hassan Jena
John Merivale ...
Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane
Duncan Lamont ...
Webster
...
Ragheeb
Ernest Clark ...
Beauchamp
Harold Kasket ...
Mohammed Lufti
Edit

Storyline

Professor David Pollock is an expert in ancient Arabic hieroglyphics. A Middle Eastern Prime Minister convinces Pollock to infiltrate the organization of a man named Beshraavi, who is involved in a plot against the Prime Minister. The nature of the plot is believed to be found in a hieroglyphic code. Beshraavi's mistress, Yasmin Azir is a mystery intertwined in the plot. Pollock needs her help, but when she repeatedly seems to double cross him in one escapade after another, he can't decide on whose side she is working. Ultimately working together, Pollock and Yasmin decipher the plot and set out to stop an assassination of the Prime Minister. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

professor | cipher | spy | double | code | See All (34) »

Taglines:

Ultra mod, ultra mad, ultra mystery


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 May 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stanley Donen's Arabesque  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As many critics noted (not always approvingly), Stanley Donen filmed this thriller in an uncharacteristically flamboyant style, using bizarre camera angles and eccentric visual compositions throughout. He later admitted that he had never felt that the screenplay was quite right (many writers worked on it, and it was rumored to be still being re-worked during shooting), so he had given the film an unusual look to disguise its shortcomings. He had had to start filming before he was quite ready, in order to accommodate the busy schedules of Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. See more »

Goofs

Sloan says he was with the 42nd Highland Fusiliers. The 42nd is in fact the Black Watch and no one from that regt would ever refer to themselves as anything other than the Black Watch. See more »

Quotes

Major Sylvester Pennington Sloane: May I have a word with you please Professor Pollock?
David Pollock: Well... if it's about that small outstanding bill at the bookstore there is a simple explanation: Poverty.
Major Sylvester Pennington Sloane: No, it's nothing like that.
David Pollock: Oh, in that case, how do you do?
See more »


Soundtracks

""The Fountain in the Park" (aka "While Strolling Through (or Thru') the Park One Day")
Written by Ed Haley
Heard when Pollock is pushed out of the van
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Goosey Goosey Gander
14 December 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Someone's given ancient history professor Gregory Peck a message with a Hittite inscription on it and all he gets out of it is that fabled nursery rhyme. Of course there's a good deal more to the message and that's what he and Sophia Loren are jetting all around London trying to solve.

There's a lot of players involved here, Sophia as a Mideast general's daughter, Alan Badel as an Arab oil millionaire, Kieron Moore as a revolutionary. They're all after the meaning of that message, it could upset the balance of power in the Middle-east circa 1966.

In a role originally intended for Cary Grant before he announced that Walk Don't Run would be his final film, Gregory Peck ably fills the role of the debonair professor with a disarming quip for all occasions. My guess is that Cary Grant retired because he was getting on in years and he realized it himself in his last film where he's the old matchmaker not the leading man. Peck was ten years younger and cinematically speaking that showed.

He and Sophia made a real good team together, too bad they didn't do more features. Stanley Donen directed it in the sophisticated style of his acclaimed Charade. I remember seeing this at a drive-in movie on a double bill with Tobruk. This was far better.

And given the ever festering global sore in the Middle-East, Arabesque is actually rather timely.


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