In San Francisco in 1850, a Russian Countess runs away from an arranged marriage to a Russian Prince and falls into the arms of an American sea captain who occasionally poaches seals in Russian Alaska.
Victor and Hillary are down on their luck to the point that they allow tourists to take guided tours of their castle. But Charles Delacro, a millionaire oil tycoon, visits, and takes a ... See full summary »
Victor Fabian is a musical genius whose eccentricities are kept in check by his wife, until she discovers him "auditioning" a sultry young pianist. She walks out on him and his career ... See full summary »
Professor David Pollock is an expert in ancient Arabic hieroglyphics. A Middle Eastern Prime Minister convinces Pollock to infiltrate the organization of a man named Beshraavi, who is involved in a plot against the Prime Minister. The nature of the plot is believed to be found in a hieroglyphic code. Beshraavi's mistress, Yasmin Azir is a mystery intertwined in the plot. Pollock needs her help, but when she repeatedly seems to double cross him in one escapade after another, he can't decide on whose side she is working. Ultimately working together, Pollock and Yasmin decipher the plot and set out to stop an assassination of the Prime Minister.Written by
E.W. DesMarais <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For the UK theatrical release, the BBFC removed a few seconds of the drowning in the aquarium and the sight of a man being bloodily shot in the face in order to obtain an 'A' rating (the equivalent of today's 'PG'). All later releases have been uncut and rated '12'. See more »
A Little Hitchcock Style, A Little James Bond Style, A Lot of Fun!
ARABESQUE is another fab Universal romantic thriller in the grand CHARADE tradition, including some of the same personnel! If director Stanley Donen's classic 1963 comedy-thriller CHARADE is Hitchcock Lite, then ARABESQUE is Hitchcock Lite after taking a few classes in James Bond 101 (including an opening title sequence by Maurice Binder, who also did the honors for CHARADE as well as for most of the Bond movies). As the hieroglyphics expert embroiled in Middle Eastern intrigue while decoding the cipher everyone's after, the usual slightly wooden note in Gregory Peck's delivery is oddly effective as he tries to loosen up and deliver Cary Grant-like witticisms (from co-scripter "Pierre Marton," a.k.a. CHARADE alumnus Peter Stone). Peck may not be Mr. Glib, but he's so inherently likable and seems so delighted to get an opportunity to deliver bon mots after all his serious roles that he's downright endearing, like a child trying out new words for the first time. And co-star Sophia Loren, at her most alluring as an Arab femme fatale, can make any guy look suave and sexy! Alan Badel, looking like a polished Peter Sellers in cool shades, virtually steals his scenes as the suave-bordering-on-unctuous villain with a foot fetish. Shoe lovers will swoon over the scene with Badel fitting the lovely Loren with a roomful of fancy footwear. Speaking of things of beauty, Christopher Challis's dazzling, inventive cinematography won the BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Oscars), and Christian Dior got a BAFTA nomination for Loren's elegant costumes. Suspenseful and sparkling as this twist-filled adventure is, ARABESQUE's biggest mystery is why it's still only available in VHS format. If this gem ever gets deluxe treatment as a DVD (including letterboxing, please!), I sure hope they get Donen and Loren together to do the kind of entertaining, informative commentary that Donen did with the late, great Stone for Criterion's CHARADE DVD. In the meantime, ARABESQUE turns up on American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies periodically, so check your TV listings -- this fun thriller is worth seeking out! UPDATE FOR 2012: ARABESQUE is now available from Universal in a six-DVD Gregory Peck collectors' set, along with MIRAGE, CAPE FEAR, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D., and THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS!
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