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Toward the end of his life F. Scott Fitzgerald is writing for Hollywood studios to be able to afford the cost of an asylum for his wife. He is also struggling against alcoholism. Into his life comes the famous gossip columnist.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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 »
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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