In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their ...
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In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their clans is determined less by wealth or even military power (both rare) then by victories in the ancient, though game of buskashi, a vicious form of polo dating back to Genghis Khan, in which the chapendaz (participating horsemen) use their horse-whips on both mounts and rivals in a ruthless fight for a heavy 'ball', a dead calf, which must be carried a long way, almost impossible with all the others mercilessly assailing. Tursen, a former champion, now holds the status of village notable thanks to his position as stable-keeper of the regional lord Osman Bey, and has finally bred a horse without equal, the white stallion Jahil, in time for the royal tournament on the plain of Bagrami, just outside the capital Kabul. As Tursen is too old and has a crooked leg, his son Uraz, even prouder and with a ... Written by
The film began shooting using 65mm negative (Super Panavision), but during production Columbia Pictures went through a change in management. The budgets for this and another 65mm production, Mackenna's Gold (1969), were cut and both films were forced to switch over to 35mm anamorphic Panavision. However, both were released in 70mm, with the later-shot sections blown up. In later years, the mix-and-match formats made restoration of the films more time-consuming and expensive than if they'd been shot entirely in 65mm, and they were preserved in 35mm only. See more »
When Tursen (Jack Palance) has a flashback to one of his past victories, one can tell that he is swinging a phony, lightweight, stuffed goat carcass around when his horse jumps up on the mud hut. See more »
What demon has possessed you to mock these good people with that piece of dog-bait?
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Action adventure in Afghanastan: needs to become a DVD!
An excellent adaptation of the Book by Joseph Kessel; centered on the running of the first Buskashi in Kabul by the King of Afghanistan circa the 1950s. I have read the book in its English translation(1968) and seen the Movie on VHS.(1671) The movie is very fresh and not dated; and all the more compelling due to recent liberation from Arab control of that country. Footage of the Buskashi just has to be from a real game. The games were played at Bagram (Bagrimi) the plain above Kabul which was made an airport in recent years.
The author, Kessel can be compared to Joseph Conrad and Hemmingway as he apparently lived what he wrote. The book has themes just as penetrating as "Heart of Darkness" or "the Old man and the Sea" and much has translated well to this Movie. The acting is well done and convincingly. Local color shots were done in the late sixties giving this film a truly timeless feeling with little motor traffic evident.
One inspired scene has Jack Palance as Chief breeder and legendary Horseman, interrupted in his instructions to his team by the noise of a Jet; and looking up to see contrails above.
This is a real treasure just begging to be on DVD.
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