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Louis Gossett Jr.
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In Alexandria, in 1938, Darley, a young British schoolmaster and poet, makes friends through Pursewarden, the British consular officer, with Justine, the beautiful and mysterious wife of a Coptic banker. He observes the affairs of her heart and incidentally discovers that she is involved in a plot against the British, meant to arm the Jewish underground in Palestine. The plot finally fails, Justine is sent to jail and Darley decides to return to England. Written by
Joseph Strick worked for several weeks on this film on location in Tunis (with Anouk Aimee, not Glenda Jackson). His plan was to films as much of it as possible on location. He had quarrels with the management of Twentieth Century Fox and was disliked by some of his actors - Anna Karina claimed that he had actually fallen asleep whilst directing her. When he was replaced by George Cukor, a big decision was taken to recreate the Alexandria of the 1930s in the Hollywood studios and to do the rest of the movie there. A few bits and pieces of Strick's location work were retained, but most of his work was re-shot by Cukor, who accepted the extant cast. The film ended up being enormously costly and was a box-office flop. See more »
When the hell are you going to stop being an old sin-cushion - into which we all have to thrust our rusty pins!
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This is either a very good "bad" movie, or a bad "good" movie. Either way. Cukor's master touch is still visible even though he phoned this one in. Fine cinematography. As with so many films, the actors gave first rate performances but it was not enough. It's a cliche but it's true. The problem is with the story, or more specifically, the screenplay. We see love affairs and parties and characters appearing and disappearing all for no apparent reason. Another failure of trying to squeeze a complex novel into a two hour drama. By the time the secrets are revealed at the end, we really don't care. It is no reward for our having sat through 110 minutes of mish-mash-mush. To pawn this off as a "character study" is a poor excuse for a poor movie.
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