Lion of the Desert (1980) - News Poster

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"Lion Of The Desert" Roars On Blu-Ray

Lion of the Desert is a classic war epic with a capital “E” from a film era before CGI, back when battle scenes were populated by real actors who were all acting with a capital “A.” Everything is big from the action to the performances. There is a large supporting cast with memorable characters. The stakes couldn't be higher with Libyan freedom fighters led by Omar Mukhtar (Anthony Quinn) battling the might of Mussolini for the identity of a country and its people.

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Lights, camera, revolution: the birth of Libyan cinema after Gaddafi's fall

Libya had no film-making culture under Gaddafi: just a handful of cinemas and a propaganda machine. Days after a film sparked violence there, Steve Rose meets the new wave

While the people of Benghazi were ejecting the Islamist militias from their city last Saturday, another smaller but equally remarkable event was taking place 400 miles away in Tripoli. In the former French embassy, in the old part of the city, some 70 people were attending the first public screening of Libyan-made films since last year's revolution (and possibly a long time before that). There were just six short documentaries, around five minutes each. In the final film, Granny's Flags, a Tripoli grandmother recounted how, during the revolution, women had to bake bread before the electricity ran out, and how she'd been kept busy sewing makeshift versions of Libya's reinstated national flag. "We are happy that Muammar died … He used to smother us,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Happy Hooker Sequel Director Responsible for Desert Warrior, Later Transmogrified into Islamophobic video

Innocence of Muslims / 'Desert Warrior' director Alan Roberts best-known for '70s soft-core porn The polemical anti-Islam "film" (actually, a cheap, grade Z amateur video), now has not only a producer, but also a director. The "Israeli entrepreneur Sam Bacile" has been exposed as the Egyptian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who allegedly misled all (or most) involved in the production. And Gawker has reported that Alan Roberts aka Robert Brownell, the director of a handful of softcore porn movies in the '70s and early '80s, helmed "Desert Warrior," a cheesy Arabian adventure that was to become -- following some sloppy overdubbing -- Innocence of Muslims. Besides the now infamous Islamophobic YouTube sensation, which has been blamed for riots in several Muslim countries from Tunisia to Pakistan, Alan Roberts' movie credits include several now long forgotten titles. (Please scroll down for more details.) Alan Roberts also produced several little-known movies,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Actors Claim to Have Been Duped into Appearing in Rabidly Anti-Islam 'Film'

Innocence of Muslims: Cast and crew repudiate rabidly anti-Islam 'film' An amateurish, rabidly anti-Islam 'film' -- actually, more like a homemade video made three decades ago -- whose Arabic-dubbed version was initially blamed for this week's attacks by Muslim fanatics against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Muslims was initially called "Desert Warrior." (Photo: Actor purportedly as Islam's prophet Mohammad.) According to 80 cast and crew members of the film, they thought "Desert Warrior" was going to be an adventure flick set in Biblical times. Indeed, the movie's casting notice on Backstage calls it a "historical Arabian Desert adventure film." Below is the statement submitted to CNN on behalf of those who worked on what eventually became Innocence of Muslims. (Please scroll down to check out: Innocence of Muslims creator: Coptic Christian involved in meth manufacture, bank fraud.) "The entire cast and crew
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

This week's new DVD & Blu-ray

The Battle Of Algiers

A fixture in most decent best film lists, Gilles Pontecorvo's 1966 classic refuses to age or become any less relevant – it was even shown in the Pentagon to summarise the problems the Us faced in Iraq.

One of the reasons it endures is Pontecorvo's fair-handedness, his matter-of-fact refusal to take sides as he shows the Algerian war of independence. Neither side, not the French colonials nor the guerrilla National Liberation Front, comes across as saints. Both use terror and torture, assassination and kidnap, and are utterly convinced they have right on their side.

Another huge reason for this film's acclaim is its authenticity. Shot on the same streets that were fought over, only a decade or so after the actual events, with locals used as actors and extras, it's gritty and affecting in ways other war films can only dream of.

The film, backed by the Algerian government,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Blu-ray Giveaway - Win Lion of the Desert and The Message

Every epic movie lover's collection should include these two silver screen classics: Lion of the Desert and The Message (Anchor Bay). Both are available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray for the first time on 2nd July and include legendary stars such as Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, John Gielgud and Oliver Reed, and to celebrate their release, we've got three copies of each to give away on Blu-Ray!

Read on for details of how to enter this fantastic competition...

Lion of the Desert - The year is 1929 and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini faces a 20-year-long war waged by Bedouin patriots who are resisting Italian colonisation and the establishment of “The Fourth Shore” – essentially a re-birth of a Roman Empire in Africa. Hoping to crush the rebellion, Mussolini appoints the ruthless General Rodolfo Graziani, a man who would come to be known as the “Butcher of Fezzan”. Leading the resistance is Omar Mukhtar,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Blu-ray Release: Conversation Piece

Blu-ray Release Date: April 10, 2011

Price: Blu-ray $29.98

Studio: Raro Video

Burt Lancaster stars in Luchino Visconti's 1974 drama Conversation Piece.

Italian DVD label Raro Video releases the 1974 drama Conversation Piece, Luchino Visconti’s (Senso) penultimate film, one month after issuing the film on DVD in early March, 2012.

Entitled Gruppo di famiglia in un interno in its native Italian, the movie examines the solitary life of a retired American professor (Burt Lancaster, Sweet Smell of Success) who lives alone in a luxurious palazzo in Rome. When he is confronted by a vulgar Italian marchesa Silvana Mangano, Dune) and her companions – her lover (Helmut Berger, The Romantic Englishwoman), her daughter (Claudia Marsani, The Hired Gun), and jer daughter’s boyfriend (Stefano Patrizi, Lion of the Desert) – he is forced to rent them an apartment on the upper floor of his home. Before long, the introverted professor’s routine is turned upside down and
See full article at Disc Dish »

Lawrence Of Arabia, Young Winston, The Four Feathers on TCM

Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia Turner Classic Movies' "Race and Hollywood: Arab Images on Film" continues this evening with four movies about European powers and their difficult relationship with "the Arab races": Lawrence of Arabia, Lion of the Desert, The Four Feathers, and Young Winston. In David Lean's sprawling Lawrence of Arabia, Peter O'Toole is a much taller version of T. E. Lawrence, the Englishman who fought alongside Arabs at the time of World War I. Lawrence of Arabia won a total of seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director; it's also considered by many one of the greatest movies ever made. Personally, I find Lawrence of Arabia great-looking but much too long: 227 minutes. Also, at times I couldn't quite figure out what Lean's and screenwriter Robert Bolt's political take was; I'm not sure if their vision is just too muddled and wishy-washy, or
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Lion of the Desert roars for Libya's rebels

This epic, Gaddafi-funded portrait of resistance hero Omar Mukhtar is a little hammy but historically on cue

Lion of the Desert (1981)

Director: Moustapha Akkad

Entertainment grade: B

History grade: B–

Sidi Omar al-Mukhtar (Omar Mukhtar) led guerrilla resistance to Italian rule in the province of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya until he was captured and hanged in 1931.

Casting

Omar Mukhtar is honoured in Libya as an Arab hero who offered staunch resistance to imperialism. It is surprising, then, that this biopic casts in almost every Libyan speaking role an American or European actor – notably, John Gielgud as Sharif al-Ghariyani, and Anthony Quinn as Omar Mukhtar himself. If you're thinking "typical Hollywood", think again. Far from being a Hollywood movie, Lion of the Desert was funded by Libyan dictator, fashion plate and occasional Charlie Sheen impersonator Muammar Gaddafi. Perhaps Gaddafi thought western audiences would take his film more seriously if he cast A-list British and American actors.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Libya's Muammar Gaddafi Tried to Execute Me

The Libyan dictator's bipolar antics on ABC Monday are consistent with a man who tried to execute me, held my young daughter hostage-and recently gave me a hug, Fadel Lamen writes. Plus, full coverage of the Libyan uprising and Babak Dehghanpisheh on the Libyan journalists joining the revolution.

Related story on The Daily Beast: The Aborted Gaddafi Amnesty Deal

When I met Muammar Gaddafi in September 2009, he cut off the aide who was introducing us. "I know him, I know him." Then the dictator, looking tired and frail following his first-ever flight to New York, gave me a hug: "I hope your family is well."

I offer this anecdote to anyone looking for insight into Gaddafi, on the heels of his deranged rant Monday to ABC's Christiane Amanpour about how there were no demonstrations against him in Tripoli and how "all my people love me." I've been dealing with Gaddafi for my entire life,
See full article at The Daily Beast »

Benghazi: Libya's Liberated City

Protesters in Benghazi, a major city in the east, fought the government and won. Now they're building their future. Babak Dehghanpisheh reports from "Free Libya." Plus, shocking photos and videos from Libya's streets.

The young men in the black Toyota Camry speed down the seaside road, the thundering waves unable to drown out the sound of their firing guns. Across the road, a man wearing green camouflage pants and a checkered black-and-white keffiyeh lifts his Ak-47 and blasts an entire clip in the air.

This isn't a battle for control of the town; it's a celebration in eastern Libya which protesters have liberated from the government's control. At the border with Egypt, black graffiti scrawled on a wall tells visitors about the territory they're about to enter: "Free Libya." And proud fighters in mismatched uniforms scramble to have their pictures taken in front of their handiwork. "Imagine somebody has tied
See full article at The Daily Beast »

'Halloween' Producer Buried in Syria

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'Halloween' Producer Buried in Syria
Moustapha Akkad, the executive producer of the Halloween films who lost his life in the hotel bomb attacks that hit Jordan on Wednesday, was given a hero's burial in Syria yesterday. The 69-year-old, who also directed the 1981 movie Lion Of The Desert starring Anthony Quinn, Oliver Reed and Rod Steiger, was in Amman to attend a wedding in one of three hotels struck by suicide bombers. His 34-year-old daughter, Rima Akkad Monla, also died in the blast. In the wake of Akkad's tragic death, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signed a decree awarding the American national Syria's most prestigious civil medal to award "his Arab nationalist stances." Akkad was laid to rest in the northern city of Aleppo, where he was born and raised before he moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s to study.

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