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Genghis Khan (1965)

During the 13th century the shy Mongol boy Temujin becomes the fearless leader Genghis Khan who unites all Mongol tribes and conquers most of Asia, Europe and the Middle-East.

Director:

Henry Levin

Writers:

Clarke Reynolds (screenplay), Beverley Cross (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Boyd ... Jamuga
Omar Sharif ... Genghis Khan / Temujin-Genghis Khan
James Mason ... Kam Ling
Eli Wallach ... The Shah Of Khwarezm
Françoise Dorléac ... Bortei (as Francoise Dorleac)
Telly Savalas ... Shan
Robert Morley ... The Emperor Of China
Michael Hordern ... Geen
Yvonne Mitchell ... Katke
Woody Strode ... Sengal
Kenneth Cope ... Subodai
Roger Croucher Roger Croucher ... Kassar
Don Borisenko Don Borisenko ... Jebai
Patrick Holt ... Kuchluk
Susanne Hsiao Susanne Hsiao ... Chin Yu (as Suzanne Hsaio)
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Storyline

Mostly fictionalized account of the life of Ghenghis Khan, the Mongol warlord whose 13th century armies conquered much of the known world. Named Temujin, he was taken prisoner by the rival warlord Jamuga and as punishment was forced to wear a large round wooden stock that severely restricted his movements. With the help of two supporters, the wise-man Geen and the strongman Sengal he manages to escape. He now begins his quest to unify all of the Mongol tribes. He faces great success but his old nemesis Jemuga keeps appearing at various times in his life leader to a final battle between the two. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only once in the furied history of adventure and conquest...did one man rule so vast an empire! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | West Germany | Yugoslavia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dzingis-Kan See more »

Filming Locations:

Yugoslavia

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,332, 22 February 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,892, 22 February 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Omar Sharif was furious that the $25,000 that Eli Wallach was earning per week was more than Sharif was being paid for the entire film. Wallach had only taken the role after a London play he was scheduled to appear in collapsed, and he was in urgent need of a quick payday. See more »

Goofs

Not until the Qing or Manchu-dynasty (1644-1912) were Chinese men obliged to wear their hair in a pigtail as depicted in this movie. Before that they used to wear their long hair bound together in a knot on top of their head or under a (magistrate's) hat. See more »

Quotes

Emperor of China: It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All UK releases are cut by 1 min 3 secs. The cinema version was cut for nudity and later video releases also included additional edits for horse-falls and to a rape scene. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Confused, Revisionist Epic
17 October 2007 | by krdementSee all my reviews

I remembered enjoying this film when I saw it as a pre-teen on television in the '60's. I have remained an avid fan of adventure films and epics. So, when it was aired yesterday on TCM, I tuned in with anticipation. It had not aged well. Perhaps all of the anomalies are more difficult for a mature movie fan to accept.

The best parts of this film are the locations, the sets, the costumes and the props. Even so, the sets are never quite convincingly grand enough. They retain the flavor of sets. The photography never captures the locations in a way that conveys the vastness of Central Asia. And the impact of the costumes and props is diminished by the fact that they are at the service of a predominantly Caucasian cast attempting to portray the tribes of Mongolia.

Blonde Francoise Dorleac, who portrays Genghis Khan's wife is the most glaring racial anomaly. But the entire cast is similarly anomalous. At least Stephen Boyd and Omar Shariff aren't blond. But Englishmen, James Mason and Robert Morley look hopelessly out of place. (I personally wondered how people of Oriental heritage reacted to Mason's stereotypical pronunciation of the letter "L" as an "R!") I don't really find a lot of fault with the portrayals offered by Mason and Morley, although I do agree with the suggestion of several reviewers that they seem like they wandered in from a production of the Mikado.

Lastly, I cringed at the soundtrack - typically Occidental-sounding pseudo-epic orchestrations with grandiose flourishes. The heroic-sounding 4/4 marches were typical of the Sword and Sandal epics of the day. Only a stray chord here and there suggested an Oriental setting.

In that era, it was inconceivable to cast Orientals in the principal roles of a film of this one's pretensions. Under the circumstances Hollywood would have done better to simply avoid attempts to depict tales of Asian peoples.

In the end, bizarre casting and completely Occidental-sounding music render this film difficult to swallow for a film-goer looking for anything beyond a shallow adventure story. With the number of Oriental actors in Hollywood films today, a GOOD portrayal of the life of Genghis Khan is ripe for filming!


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