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The Tamarind Seed
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Tamarind Seed More at IMDbPro »

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18 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Mature, sober look at human side of the Cold War

Author: trpdean from New York, New York
10 October 2002

I liked this one very much. Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif bring a very sober and realistic screenplay to life about real human beings involved/kept apart by the Cold War. I very much liked the Julie Andrews character who doesn't fear speaking about morality to a Communist likely to scoff, nor fear falling for that Communist with ehr eyes wide open, despite all the difficulties that would bring. Julie Andrews is just wonderful in this role - rather lonely, quite real, with warring feelings between head and heart about caring for someone who is dangerous to know - and in his work, dangerous to the Free World.

Omar Sharif is excellent - charming, quick-witted, falling for Andrews (and who wouldn't - she looks fantastic) despite himself, and finally making the life-changing decision to defect.

I can understand why some find the movie plodding - it certainly is by most spy movie standards. But it's trying to do something different - and admirably succeeding - one just feels the existence of the Iron Curtain here, and one feels the Andrews character making her point that at the heart of the Cold War are questions about the value to be given an individual human being by the state, the value of truth as capturing measurable facts, the value of allowing people to live by their own goals and values rather than those determined by the state.

And the over-arching question is an interesting one of emotional involvement despite world tensions.

You'll like its gradual unfolding - just don't look for James Bond.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

UNDERRATED SPY FILM, QUITE GOOD

Author: Bill Treadway (treads22@hotmail.com) from Queens, New York
17 May 2001

Blake Edwards' "The Tamarind Seed" falls into the "lost" category, more specifically the era spanning 1968-1974, when Edwards released a series of films, ranging from good to great, that died a bloody box-office death. That doesn't mean that any of these films were bad. You can't account for audience taste.

Anyway, "The Tamarind Seed" is a different film for Edwards: an international spy thriller. I think the reason for the film not being well received by the public was that Edwards was stereotyped as a comedy director. Indeed, many of his best films ("10", "S.O.B.", "Victor/Victoria", and "The Pink Panther Strikes Again") are in this genre. But during this period, Edwards made many fine straight films such as "Experiment in Terror", "Darling Lili", "Wild Rovers", "The Carey Treatment" and "Gunn". These films are lost today, thanks to clueless studio executives who didn't know how to market them and the clueless moviegoers who stayed away in droves.

Lucky for us, cable TV still remains the forum to catch some of these lost treasures (except "Gunn" which seems lost forever) and AMC has been playing "The Tamarind Seed" frequently. Early video copies distributed by Magnetic Video and Embassy Home Entertainment still exist in used video stores around the country.

Now, about the film itself. Edwards has crafted a pretty skillful thriller here. Spy movies often die a quick death because most directors think they have to be either T&A fests or relentlessly talky. What makes the Bond films so much fun is that there's a sly sense of humor and Edwards understands that. But Edwards maintains a smooth control over his material here and doesn't play this material for monster laughs (rightly).This is a real good story, which I will not reveal, because the film's success is dependent on Edwards' surprises. The acting is great (with Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif in the lead roles, how could it be bad?), the cinematography (by the great Freddie Young in Panavision)is dazzling as it would be from that great talent, and the script gets involved enough in the story that we can follow it without getting confused.

"The Tamarind Seed" is very much worth the effort to find. Once you see it, it will be hard to forget it.

**** out of 4 stars

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Sophisticated and beautiful Cold War romantic thriller

9/10
Author: roghache from Canada
21 March 2006

It's been years since I saw this film so have forgotten many of the plot details, but this beautiful romance has lingered in my mind for three decades. It's a movie with everything...intriguing suspense thriller plot, beautiful exotic Caribbean setting, and especially of course the compelling love story of two sympathetic characters from opposite sides of the Cold War.

The tale begins with a British Home Office assistant, Judith Farrow, who has gone to Barbados to recover from a failed love affair. During her tropical holiday, she meets Feodore Sverdlov, a handsome Soviet air attaché in Paris. They visit the colorful island sights together and fall in love. This paradise romance is, however, complicated by their respective positions with governments on opposite sides of the Cold War. Thus, these two individuals of integrity are forced into deception (alleged spy recruiting) in order to disguise their relationship. Perhaps Sverdlov will even be inspired toward defection? Above all, their ill advised love can only spell danger.

For me, this movie is made memorable by its two stars, Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif. This is my absolute favorite Julie Andrews film. She is at her most radiant here portraying Judith, a beautiful, intelligent, lonely, vulnerable, yet quietly strong woman. She is quite magnificent in her role even without the usual musical aspects. Omar Sharif plays surely Russia's most magnetic, handsome, and compelling diplomat. His dark brown eyes alone would thaw the Cold War! It is absolutely believable that these two principled, intelligent individuals would fall in love. They are perfect on screen together, mature yet captivating.

The film reflects its era, with the dominance of Cold War issues the subject for most plots involving international intrigue. Here, however, the Russian star is refreshingly not the enemy or the villain of the piece, but rather instead its romantic, noble, and conflicted hero. The pair reveal their own moral views, sometimes contrary to their country's official positions. Julie Andrews appeared earlier in Torn Curtain, the 1966 Hitchcock Cold War thriller which also starred Paul Newman, but I much preferred this movie since it focuses more on character portrayal and romance.

No, not a James Bond action adventure or a spy thriller really, more rather an exotic and dangerous romance with some intricate, suspenseful plot details. A high recommendation for this wonderful old fashioned movie...a perfectly cast, touching & intelligent jewel, and a film which unfortunately appears to be little known these days.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

This one has it all.

9/10
Author: pedernalesl from U.S.
16 August 2005

This movie is not highlighted in any discussion of the careers of either Julie Andrews or Omar Sharif, but it's a jewel. It has romance (the subtleness of which is very effective without constant bedroom scenes), intrigue, espionage, exotic locations, a multi-layered plot and plenty of suspense. You do have to pay close attention to keep up with the rather complicated story, but it pays off. The '70's clothing and hair styles are amusing, and the Russians are no longer the "bad guys," but those facts don't detract from the great storyline. Andrews and Sharif make a very attractive couple, and play their parts perfectly. In fact, everyone turns in a fine performance in this, one of my favorite movies.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Under-rated, but excellent romantic thriller

9/10
Author: melissa_kf from Melbourne, Australia
10 January 2004

Saw this film only recently, and was surprised by its complexity. Was enthralled. Julie Andrews plays a very upright British type involved in situations that are inevitably comprimising. It is a pleasure to watch this very romantic thriller.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

surprisingly good

7/10
Author: emisue02
30 March 2003

I'm a huge Julie Andrews fan, which was why I saw this movie. I now understand spy storylines much better than I did when I watched it, so if I saw it again, I may be able to actually follow the plot. It does drag, which is always a pet pieve of mine, but the romance between Julie and Omar Sharrif is the heart of the film and lets you see that the Cold War was between governments, not necessarily people. The ending makes up for almost everything else, as most good endings tend to do, and it was just what the characters and audience wanted. If you want a lot of action, this may not be the right movie, but if you want a romance masquerading as a spy thriller, this is your film.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful romantic spy film that should be re-released!

10/10
Author: Lea Bowie from Brooklyn, New York
12 February 2001

I saw this movie while I lived in Spain in 1974. It was subtitled or maybe dubbed, I don't remember but since I speak Spanish, it didn't matter. I loved the movie. At the time, Spain was still under Franco's rule (he died in '75) and foreign (as well as domestic)films were heavily censored. But this movie wasn't (or didn't seem to be) and I never forgot it. I have an extensive video collection and have searched for this movie far and wide and am happy to see that I finally found a private seller through Amazon.com today. I will treasure it and can't wait to see it again after 27 years! Besides, Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif were romantic and wonderful. A great "old" movie.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Good Old-Fashioned Fun

Author: Eric-62 from Athens, OH
20 April 1999

"The Tamarind Seed" is a wonderful film to discover for the first time in the video store when you're searching for something good to watch. Made at a time when negative depictions of the Soviet Union had fallen out of favor in the movies, "The Tamarind Seed" wonderfully bucks this trend as Russian embassy Colonel Omar Sharif ultimately comes to realize that the nature of the Soviet system makes some things worse than treason against it. Julie Andrews is at her most beautiful as a British Home Office employee who first meets Sharif on vacation in Barbados, falls in love with him and helps him defect.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Biggest Hit

Author: groscin from Melbourne, Australia
12 August 2004

Worked as a Doorman at The Rivoli Cinema in Sydney in 1974. Lovely conversion from an intimate live venue, but unfortunately, never found an audience. Fond memories of "The Tamarind Seed" as the most successful movie to play at this lovely theatre. Originally played on the Hoyt's circuit at the Embassy Theatre, and transferred to our (Independant) Rivoli (capacity approx. 400 seats)for a very healthy 6 week season. The only movie I recall playing to capacity audiences of a Friday & Saturday evening. Recently acquired a (beautiful) copy on DVD at a truly bargain price, and was pleased that the suspense and story-line held up so well after 30 years. Yes, the fashions are laughable, but we make allowances for our favourite films of the 30's,40's,50's and 60's, so why do we judge so many classic films of the 70's & 80's by the fashions of the time A thoroughly enjoyable espionage thriller, a brilliant cast, and all under the direction of the superb Blake Edwards, begs the question as to why this film is so over-looked and forgotten?

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful John Barry Soundtrack

Author: amasse from Atlantic City
23 October 2003

Wish the soundtrack were available on CD, also wish the movie were available on DVD. Not a big Sharif fan, but I have always enjoyed this movie. Really enjoy Anthony Quayle and Julie Andrews is very entertaining.

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