Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Wind and the Lion

The Wind and the Lion; Adventure drama, USA/ Spain, 1975; D: John Milius, S: Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith, John Huston, Simon Harrison, Polly Gottesman

Tangier, Northern Africa, early 20th century. Raisuli, an outlaw and leader the Berbers, but also an honorable warrior, kidnaps American Eden Perdicaris and her two children, William and Jennifer, to ignite an uprising against the Sultan in order to get his people at least some form of independence and rid Morocco of colonialist powers. Since it is election year in the US, president Theodore Roosevelt makes it his priority to save those three American citizens and sends Marines to intervene. However, Eden slowly gains respect of Raisuli. After he is captured when he frees the Perdicaris family, she helps him get away.

The second film by director John Milius, based on true events, adventure drama "The Wind and the Lion" is a quality film that encompasses some often themes of the author, mostly about honor and loyalty in harsh times, even sending a small commentary about the colonialist exploitation of countries that yearned for independence. Some battles scenes and situations turned out lumpy and rather heavy handed (for instance, the unnecessary scene where the Perdicaris observe a cut off tongue), whereas the finale is unsatisfying, but marvelous desert landscapes, reminiscent of Lean's "Lawrence", and elegance make this a rather inspirational film (Mrs. Perdicaris changes her underwear while cowered by a blanket, in order to avoid the obtrusive looks of her Berber guards; after the US Marines takes over the Tangier palace and shoot all the guards, the Pasha takes the grapes from the hand of his shot servant before he falls down from his table). Also, at least one quote in the film is legendary - after they risked everything for their goal, and lost, and stayed alone at the beach, one adherent says: "We lost everything", and Connery's Raisuli answers him: "Is there not one thing in life worth losing everything for?" It's one of the two or three best lines of wisdom ever written by Milius.


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