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In ancient times, the Mongolian warlord Temujin must do battle against the rival tribe that killed his father. The battles pale in comparison with Temujin's home life, as he attempts to woo the heart of the red-haired Tartar prisoner Bortai whom he has captured in a raid. He must also deal with various intrigues within his palace. Eventually, Bortai falls to his manly charms, Temujin defeats his enemies within and without, and is crowned Genghis Khan.Written by
John Wayne is miscast as Mongol Temujin who becomes the fearless leader Genghis Khan and unites all Mongol tribes and conquers most of Asia
In the film , there is epic , mammoth spectacle , hokey historical events , a love story , camp dialog to spare , wonderful landscapes and results to be a failed as well a little boring film . At the time , 1956 , surpassed anything ever filmed before , including all-star-cast who were later stricken by cancer . Set during the 13th century in which the brutal warrior Mongol chief Temujin conquers most of Asia , Europe and the Middle-East . As Temujin (John Wayne , considered to be the silliest character of his long career) battles against Tartar armies led by Kumlek and for the love of the Tartar princess Bortai (Susan Hayward) . Temujin was taken prisoner by the rival warlord , a fearless leader called Kumlek (Ted De Corsia) and as punishment was forced to wear a large round wooden stock that severely restricted his movements but with the help of Bortai he manages to getaway . He overcomes all of his hardships to become one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known and now starts his quest to unify all of the Mongol tribes . Gengis gets big hits , but his old nemesis keeps appearing at various times in his life leader to a final battle between the two . As Genghis Khan, ruthless leader of the Mongols and sovereign over the vastest empire ever ruled by a single man, was both god and devil , not just in the Middle Ages , but for centuries to come . Temujin becomes the emperor of Mongols , the great Gengis Khan .
This expensive epic film in familiar drawling fashion contains clichéd barbarian dialogue , noisy action , great production design , impressive battles and a cast of thousands . It was filmed near a nuclear test site, and the set was contaminated by nuclear fallout , in the Yucca Flats area . Over the next 20 years, many actors and crew members developed cancer . By the time 91 of the 220 cast and crew members had developed cancer . Forty-six had died, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendáriz , Agnes Moorehead, John Hoyt and director Dick Powell . The count did not include several hundred local Native Americans who played extras , or relatives of the cast and crew who visited the set, including John Wayne's son Michael Wayne . Many of the Mongol extras were played by local Navajo Indians , they did not wear any makeup . Miscasting by John Wayne and the results are unintentionally hilarious . But John Wayne took his role very seriously, went on a crash diet , however he regretted playing Temujin so much that he visibly shuddered whenever anyone mentioned the film's name as he once remarked that the moral of the film was "not to make an ass of yourself trying to play parts you're not suited for" . Colorful cinematography by four of the best Hollywood cameramen : Joseph LaShelle , William E. Snyder , Leo Tover and Harry J. Wild . Although the movie takes place in Asia, photography in Cinemascope was shot in California Snow Canyon, Utah, Hurricane, St. George, Utah, USA Escalante Desert, St. George, Utah .
This sweeping oriental drama was backed by financially eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes and regularly directed by former movie star Dick Powell . However ; the box office failure of this movie was believed to be ultimately responsible for the demise of RKO Pictures studios . Dick Powell directed a few films such as : 1953 Split Second , 1956 You Can't Run Away from It , 1958 The hunters and his best film was : ¨The enemy below¨ . This was one of the final theatrically released movies of director Dick Powell who soon after worked exclusively in television such as Woman on the Run (TV ,1959) . Other films dealing with this historical figure are the followings : ¨Genghis Khan¨ (1965) by Henry Levin with Omar Shariff , Stephen Boyd , Telly Savallas , James Mason ; ¨Gengis Khan¨ (2005) by Edward Bazalgette and the best : ¨Mongol¨(2007) by Sergey Bodrov
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