Reporter Michael Gordon uncovers intrigue in Damascus, where the Allies and Nazis struggle for control of Arab sympathies.Reporter Michael Gordon uncovers intrigue in Damascus, where the Allies and Nazis struggle for control of Arab sympathies.Reporter Michael Gordon uncovers intrigue in Damascus, where the Allies and Nazis struggle for control of Arab sympathies.
I watched this film simply because the title caught my eye in the schedules. Given the fact that the screening occurred while other channels were covering the war on Iraq as part of their news cycle, I initially assumed it was a documentary of some sort. A look to see it was a film made decades ago suggested that the schedulers had maybe been guilty of bad taste. However watching it there was little to support this thought.
The film is set in the Middle East which, in this film, spreads from Iraq across into Africa ending in Morocco. The politics of the area are difficult now and were still complex when this film was made, so the plot decides to mostly ignore internal issues and focus on the bigger picture of the Nazi threat. By doing so it becomes a bit of propaganda that almost works quite well, but mostly means the plot becomes quite straightforward. The film focuses on the potential for the Nazi's to use the tribes to sweep through the Middle East and Africa and Gordon's investigation to stop it. Mostly the film is very talky and even the action scenes are quite pedestrian (despite the music played loudly thought them), this would be OK if it had a bit more twists and turns but really it goes where you expect it to. This is not to say it is bad but it is pretty unremarkable.
Sanders plays it as usual upright, tough and gentlemanly, he also is quite stiff and unanimated. This works well for the majority but I would have liked a little more heart in it. The support cast are all OK but are strangely (or perhaps not so strangely) made up of mostly white characters playing Arabs only the crowd shots appear to use non-white faces. This isn't a major detraction but it is a distraction at times esp when supposed Arab princesses are played by white women who would be more at home shopping in Manhattan.
Overall this is a sturdy little film that is short but still feels a little too long. The straightforward plot and talky nature make it feel a little dull at times but there is just enough going on to hold the interest.
- bob the moo
- Jun 2, 2003