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Richard C. Sarafian
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Milius's primary source for the film was Barbara W. Tuchman's essay "Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead!", published in the August 1959 edition of American Heritage magazine. Much of the film's dialogue is taken verbatim from Tuchman's essay, including Elihu Root's quote about Roosevelt's popularity, "Why drag in Washington", the Bashaw's comment about the Moroccan government's precarious independence, and Philander Knox's above-mentioned "legality" quote. See more »
The chess set has European (Christian) chess pieces, instead of Islamic chess pieces which a Muslim prince would be expected to use. See more »
Don't you agree that the most important part of the meal is the wine? Everything must follow the wine. And in this case, I should favor a Red Bordeaux.
A Red Bordeaux at lunch? Your late husband would never have approved.
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Lovely Candace Bergen as the widow Perdicaris are kidnapped and held for ransom by the Sheik Raisuli played by one dashing Sean Connery. The incident comes during 1904 as Theodore Roosevelt runs for election to the presidency in his own right. Needing a good example to show off the muscular foreign policy of the United States, Brian Keith as Roosevelt issues a stunning declaration to the Sultan of Morocco, "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead."
But in this adaptation of that incident the famous declaration is the only true thing about this story. The Perdicaris in question was in reality one Ion Perdicaris who was a Greek immigrant and dilettante playboy. In fact Perdicaris gave up his American citizenship years ago and was back as a Greek national. Never mind that though, his predicament was serviceable enough at the time.
The damsel in distress makes better screen material though so it's a widow woman and her two kids that are in harm's way here. Of course as presented here the incident is also used by some of our European powers to get their foothold into Morocco. The intrigues get far beyond one brigand's demand for ransom.
The Wind and the Lion is hardly history. But it is an enjoyable film and Sean Connery is always fun to watch. Brian Keith also fits my conception of Theodore Roosevelt and the scenes in the Roosevelt White House do ring true to all the stories told. John Huston plays the ever patient Secretary of State John Hay who Roosevelt had inherited from his predecessor William McKinley.
But kids don't use this film to skip reading a history assignment on the Theodore Roosevelt era.
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