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The story happens in 1948, in a fictional country, called Zakharstan (in the novel "Caravans" is probably Afghanistan). Mark Miller (Michael Sarazyn) is a young U.S. Embassy employee who is responsible to follow Ellen Jasper (Jennifer O'Neill), the daughter of Senator Jasper, who later has married Colonel Nazrullah (Behrouz Vossoughi) and disappeared. During the investigation, Mark Miller (Michael Sarazyn) realizes that Ellen Jasper (Jennifer O'Neill) has escaped from her husband, Colonel Nazrullah (Behrouz Vossoughi), living among a tribe whose leader is Zulffiqar (Anthony Quinn). He will fail to convince her to be reunited with his father. But, Mark Miller (Michael Sarazyn) has realized that the leader of tribe is an outlaw who resists against the government's proposals for a permanent settlement of his tribe and also with cooperation of another rebel man, Shakkur (Mohamad Ali Keshavarz), are engaged to Russian arms trafficking ... Written by
So, OK, Citizen Kane this isn't. I re-read the original Michener book a few years ago and went looking for the movie. Only the largest video store in town had it, and you had to ask, because it was waaaay in the back stacks.
They simplified and Hollywood-ized the book's plot and removed much of Michener's trademark exposition on the good things, bad things, history and cultural foibles of Afghanistan. For that matter, they scrubbed out the word "Afghanistan" and made it a generic "country in the mid-East".
But it does have a lot of wonderful photography of Iran and a genuine bedouin people, who provided the extras for Anthony Quinn's "tribe". Iran had its revolution and became mostly closed to the West just a year after shooting, and it is almost heartbreaking to see all the magnificent countryside and archaeological sites that provide the backdrop, along with the knowledge that it is still so difficult, dangerous, and expensive to visit.
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