Arabesque (Bilingual) [Import]
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ARABESQUE (DVD) (ENG SDH/SPAN/FREN/WS/GREGORY PECK) A U.S. PROFESSOR AT OXFORD TURNS SPY WITH THE MISTRESS OF A PLOTTING ARAB OILMAN.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the behest of an Arab prime minister, Prof. David Pollock (Gregory Peck) is sent to spy on a corrupt businessman named Beshraavi (Alan Badel). Beshraavi needs a mysterious cipher decoded, and he keeps David a prisoner while he works on it. What's more, he plans to kill the professor once he's done.
But David is able to escape with the help of Beshraavi's mistress, Yazmin (Sophia Loren) -- who turns out to have a secret agenda of her own. Now the professor must weave his way through enemies at every turn, along with the mystery woman he can't quite bring himself to trust. And if he doesn't decode the cipher in time, the entire world could be in jeopardy.
"Arabesque" is a movie that doesn't know what to do with its middle section -- it starts off strong, spends a long time spinning its wheels, only to rise up and blossom again in the last twenty minutes. But if "Arabesque" is not a strong political thriller, it's certainly an enjoyable popcorn movie.
The middle section of it isn't bad, just repetitive: scrabble for cipher, fight, follow, rinse, repeat. And they put in some... interesting padding to spice it up, such as a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment where a doped-up Peck meanders down a freeway, playing "matador" with the cars. That was a WEIRD scene.
So what does it have that's good?Read more ›
This is a Peck, may he rest in peace, that you haven't seen before. His flippant, tossed-off lines suit the situations the writers have put his character in to a tee. He plays a professor reluctantly helping a slimy character, who KIDNAPS him to acquire his services, to decipher a piece of paper with a hieroglyphic inscription on it that a lot of people seem to be after. That hieroglyphic ISN'T exactly what concerns them, though!
Loren and the general intrigue, drag the poor man through being drugged out of his mind on a well-used freeway riding a bicycle, being abducted by yet more shady types, (a short-haired hipster and his gang), and evading armed arabs in a helicopter on horseback. Peck's character, however, dilutes any sympathy he'd get for all this by holding a knife to the exquisite Ms. Loren's throat early in the film! What's even weirder is that Loren SMILES at him after he does it since they were both trying to escape the mansion Loren was being held in. The whole thing was HER idea!
All the while, Peck throws out bon mots like there's no tomorrow, making you wonder why he didn't make more comedies, (Peter O'Toole, George Hamilton and Candice Bergen would make you think the same thing in breakout comedies THEY'VE made!Read more ›
The other great aspect of this movie is its wonderful score, the work of the legendary John Barry. For years I was unable to find a recording of the soundtrack and am happy to hear that it has recently become available again.
The film itself is adequate, a fun romp through England with Peck and Loren and the two do actually manage a sort of polite chemistry, Perhaps not unforgettable, but still playful enough that you might enjoy the film. The film is typical of Donen and that period and perhaps tries to capitalise on Donen's past works and their success. He makes full use of Loren's sex-appeal, style and when not being perfectly set and photographed, she is allowed quite a sense of humour with the role. I was impressed by the whole package (the video package, not the Loren one, although both are impressive).
Picture quality: 7,5/10
Aspect ratio: 2,35:1 (orig.)
Run time 24fps: 1:45'24"
Audio: Ital.; GB
ST: Ital. o/-
Extras: Foto gallery
Release: Cult Media (Italy)
My personal Stanley Donen favourite.
This wonderfully twisted 60s classic crime comedy has it all:
Great lead roles, inventive photography (incl. one great match cut :D), moderate shots of ‘Swinging Sixties’ London, psychedelia, Pop Art
…and yes: a MacGuffin too! Only lacks a decent sixties soundtrack for my taste.
Image looks good, maybe a bit dark at times – or is it the contrast level?
Decent amount of natural film grain proves that picture hasn’t been tempered with digitally which is good!
(only exception TC 00:20:08, shot with available light only? – but no problem!)
Most recent customer reviews
Love the Mancini theme for this movie. A popular genre for this period with two great actors with suspense and romance. I am glad I got a copy.Published 14 months ago by A Customer
As my name is the same as the protagonist, the movie is of interest to me, and I figure it is about as close as I will ever get to Sophia Loren. Intriguing story too.Published on March 31 2014 by dpollo
Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren and Alan Badel (absolutely superb as the villain). More plot twists than could be imagined. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2014 by John D Little
One of my favourite movies - good acting, wonderful clothes (why don't we see that anymore?), lots of action. It has one of the best sound tracks.Published on Oct. 3 2013 by Patricia Winkel
Perhaps it was the era that this movie was made in, perhaps it was the cheesy performances by Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, but this was a silly movie that I would not recommend... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2013 by George Jones
A great movie to see with Sophia Loren playing a fantastic part - I did not grow up in this era but I appreciate the cleanliness of these types of movies. Wonderful to see.Published on May 8 2012 by dianeh