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
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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Adventures , thrills , horse riding and wonderful outdoors from Afghanistan and Spain
Spectacular movie with exciting adventures , horse-riding and marvelous Oriental landscapes in the desolate , poor northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan . The story is suitably emblematic and talks upon a champion Afghan horseman named Uraz (Omar Sharif) who participates with his horse in an extraordinary national game of "buzkashi" dating back to the time of Genghis Khan . It is a fierce competition, played on the steppes of the northern Afghanistan , before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions . His father named Tursen (Jack Palance) is too old and has got a crooked leg , while Uraz is even prouder and with a morbidly self-destructive , he needs to prove himself against deadly dangers . Later on , he undertakes a risked journey to regain the honor he has lost after his defeat in the ceremonial game . On the journeys he loses a leg , is confronted by his servant (David Keyser) and an untouchable girl (Leigh Taylor Young) who want murder him , besides a nomad (Peter Jeffrey) who struggles his scraggy one-horned sheep . Each meeting has within the seeds of his own meaning and predicament . The final spectacle , including Omar Sharif's double , of the horseman along with his stallion is breathtaking and overwhelming.
This stirring motion picture blends adventures , thrills , spectacular horse-game , emotions and is pretty entertaining . From the beginning to the end , the adventure and drama is continuous ; for that reason packs a lot of entertainment , though it balances ups and downs . With a cast of thousands and genuine Afghan extras , being shot on actual locations . Sets and production design are spellbound and the Oriental landscapes are mesmerizing . It is based on Joseph Kessel's 1967 novel, "Les Cavaliers" ("The Horsemen"), Kessel spent almost fifty years of his life roaming the world and being adapted by the black-listed Dalton Trumbo . The film began shooting using 65mm negative (Super Panavision), but during production, Columbia went through a change in management. The budgets for this and another 65mm production, "MacKenna's Gold," were cut, and both films were forced to switch over to 35mm anamorphic Panavisión ; however, both were released in 70mm, with the later-shot sections blown up. Colorful cinematography by Claude Renoir filmed on location in Afghanistan and Almeria , Spain , where in the 60s and early 70s were filmed a lot of Westerns .Two/three weeks into shooting, cinematographer James Wong Howe left the Project , due to disagreement with director John Frankenheimer over use of lens. Sensitive and fascinating musical score by George Delerue .
The motion picture is compellingly directed by John Frankenheimer . At the beginning he worked for TV and turned to the cinema industry with The Young Stranger (1957) . Disappointed his with first feature film experience he came back to his successful television career directing a total of 152 live television shows in the 50s. He took another opportunity to change to the big screen , collaborating with Burt Lancaster in The Young Savages (1961) and Birdman of Alcatraz(62) ending up becoming a successful director well-known by his skills with actors and expressing on movies his views on important social deeds and philosophical events and film-making some classics as ¨The Manchurian candidate¨, ¨Seven days of May¨ and ¨The Train¨ . The flick will appeal to Oriental adventure enthusiasts and Omar Sharif fans . Rating: Good , well worth watching
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