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Assigned to accompany two priests on a mission to convert the court of Kublai Khan to Christianity, Marco Polo is abandoned in the mountains when the priests, doubting the very existence of China, turn back. Polo eventually pushes bravely forth alone toward the fabled country where he is accepted as an envoy into Khan's court. Marooned on the far side of the world, Polo, accompanied by his servant, Pedro, advances as a Mongol grandee for twenty extraordinary years. What he eventually brings back with him to the West is a chronicle that changed history forever. Written by
Given the fact that the makers had access to plenty of money, good costuming, and even to the locations (or convincing computer-generated substitutes), this could have been a very good historical movie.
Alas,the derogatory comments on this site regarding script, acting, and casting are perfectly valid. Who on earth cast Brian Dennehy as an oriental? There are established oriental actors who look the part John Lone would be an obvious choice.
The real Marco Polo could speak Italian and French, and on his way to meet Kublai Khan may well have learned Turki, the language Kublai sometimes used in his written communications. But the ridiculous scene where they meet bears not the slightest resemblance to Marco Polo's real-life account, in which the great ruler was the soul of courtesy. Dennehy's grumpiness was pure fiction, like so much else in this tedious production.
The question that begs to be asked is: if one wants to make a historical epic, why present bad fiction instead of interesting fact?
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