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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "out of the vast, hot, African nowhere..."
Though the historical events in this film took place in 1884-85, there are aspects of it that remind one of today's headlines; this is a sadly underrated film, with a fantastic cast, massive battle scenes, and a beautifully written script about an extraordinary man.
There are scenes that take "artistic license", but the film is quite accurate in its facts on General...
Published on 4 Jun 2004 by Alejandra Vernon

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2.0 out of 5 stars An epic disaster
Why must we have to put up with this faded third rate DVD? This 70mm epic demands to be seen on Blu ray, yet it is not available. Not only that, but the movie is heavily cut in the battle scenes. It must be restored and justice be done to a great spectacle. Meanwhile I will put up with my VHS recording from German TV. At least it has excellent colour AND is uncut.
Published 28 days ago by Keith Naylor


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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "out of the vast, hot, African nowhere...", 4 Jun 2004
This review is from: Khartoum [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Though the historical events in this film took place in 1884-85, there are aspects of it that remind one of today's headlines; this is a sadly underrated film, with a fantastic cast, massive battle scenes, and a beautifully written script about an extraordinary man.
There are scenes that take "artistic license", but the film is quite accurate in its facts on General Gordon; a military genius who hated war, a deeply religious man who worked to end slavery, and who fell in love with the desolate scorching sands and the people of the Sudan.
The pairing of Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier is fabulous, and their scenes together are riveting. Heston is gaunt in this film, to closer portray the slightly built Gordon, and speaks with a subtle but excellent English accent; Olivier is the fanatic who calls himself The Mahdi ("The Expected One"), waging a holy war with his followers to destroy anyone who opposes his beliefs, with the aim of conquering the world for his fundamentalist faith.
Other wonderful performances come from Richard Johnson as Col. Stewart, Ralph Richardson as Prime Minister Gladstone, Nigel Green as Gen Wolseley, and Johnny Sekka is a delight as Gordon's servant Khaleel.
After British-led Egyptian forces are massacred by The Mahdi's insurgents, the British government asks Egypt to give up the Sudan, and General Gordon is called to evacuate the European and Egyptian civilians from the Sudan; he stays to ward off the terrorists and the siege of Khartoum takes place.
The sweeping panoramas of the desert and the Nile river are sumptuous (cinematography by Edward Scaife), and the Frank Cordell score is terrific, though it owes a bit to Maurice Jarre's music for "Lawrence of Arabia"; released 6 years earlier, "Lawrence" has some comparisons to this film, as they are both about adventurous men of courage who felt comfortable in Arab lands.
This film sparked my imagination and made me want to know more about Gordon's fascinating life and the history that surrounded him, and it is one I could watch repeatedly. Total running time is 134 minutes.
"...but there is this: A world with no room for the Gordons, is a world that will return to the sands".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Relevant Today., 30 Nov 2014
This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
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Considering recent events in Afghanistan (the Taliban) as well as in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), the events in the Sudan in the 1880s are resonate remarkably today. Once again the world finds itself confronted with Muslim fanaticism, and once again, seemingly, the world replies with little more than "gestures".

This movie has been appreciated rather less than it deserves, probably due to the presence of Charlton Heston in the lead role. His English accent does leave something to be desired, especially when surrounded by such notable British actors as Richard Johnson, Nigel Green and the great Ralph Richardson. I won't even mention Sir Laurence Olivier in that regard since, in his remarkable performance as The Mahdi, he rendered himself almost unrecognizable.

The one indispensable aspect Charlton Heston does bring to this film is his remarkable ability to stand out in an epic scene as few other actors can. When one produces an epic motion picture, the sort filmed on a grand scale with a cast of thousands, it is imperative that the central character should be the sort who can stand out among the multitudes. Few actors have been able to do that the way Charton Heston could. It was no accident that he was repeatedly cast as characters such as Moses, Ben Hur, El Cid, Chinese Gordon, etc.

However, in spite of the epic scale and the cast of thousands, "Khartoum" is a battle of wills between three powerful individuals. The first is The Mahdi, a militant Muslim religious fanatic. The second was William Gladstone, the British Prime Minster who tried vainly to keep steer his country away from what he perceived as a disastrous foreign military entanglement in Africa. The third was General Charles "Chinese" Gordon, the unconventional soldier sent, as a gesture, by Gladstone to try to save the situation in the Sudan.

It's a compelling story, and one that still resonates today more than ever. After seeing Khartoum, one can only hope that history doesn't repeat itself.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heston of Arabia, 22 May 2004
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This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
On this 1966 epic film Charlton Heston plays the British general Charles Gordon, who died figthing the upraise of the Mahaidi muslim fanatics in Khartoum.
Heston gives a very convincing portrayal of the Brithish hero and Laurence Olivier plays an impressive Mahaidi. Also with Ralph Richardson and Nigel Green, this Basil Dearden film is a very nice epic story filled with strong and interesting carachters, action sequences and beautifull sceneary.
The DVD presents a 2.35 widescreen format print with very nice colors and stereo sound.At this price it's a must!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREATEST, 6 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
Khartoum brilliantly portrays General Gordons struggle as he attempts to defend the ancient city of Khartoum. It also shows the British government's struggle in convincing Gordon to leave. The Mahdi (played by Laurence OLivier) is shown as an extreme, unstoppable nutter.
Khartoum has everything a good colonial film should contain. Set in an exotic location, has charm, desparation and never forgetting the action!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charlton of Khartoum, 15 April 2014
By 
R. A. Lloyd-Jones (England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
This classic epic definitely caused a great revival in interest in, and admiration for, General Gordon who had been badly dissed by Lytton Strachey's 1919 'Eminent Victorians'. The issues of the 1880s, notably Gladstone's political problems, are sketched in reasonably well, though the British presence in Egypt is not really explained. There's a wonderful (if inaccurate) opening scene with the massacre of Hicks's army, both sides, Egyptians and Mahdists, reasonably well-represented. Charlton Heston's great admiration for Gordon shines through, though his idiosyncratic Christianity is only hinted at. Gordon, who famously only carried a cane in the midst of terrible battles, might not have approved Mr Heston's American love of guns, but he is portrayed here as the (relatively) modest hero that he was (and probably would have liked the film!). Olivier's performance as the Mahdi is on one level extremely embarrassing, but if you can overcome its excruciatingness, there remains, deep down, some understanding of the great charismatic Sudanese leader. Of course Gordon and the Mahdi never really met, though it is nice that Larry and Charlton did. The lack of women in Gordon's real life is reflected in the film, though there's a fine belly-dancing scene - slightly based on a real incident - when he's entertained by the silent, utterly corrupt-looking Khedive of Egypt! What better way to pass a Sunday afternoon with a DVD?
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heston, brilliant as usual, complete with epic battle scenes, 7 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Khartoum [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Khartoum, the Sudan in late Victorian times. An Islamic leader, the 'Mehdi' ( Olivier )has started a rising of the native people. The death of a British general during an Egyptian-sponsered campaign to crush the uprising drags the British government into the war. General Gordon ( Heston )goes to Khartoum with the intention of saving the city from the Mehdi. However, he has no troops, only the local garrison. The arrival of the Mehdi's army creates great panic and fear in Khartoum. Everyone knows that the city will fall unless a British army is sent. The protective moat around the city is slowly drying up as the Nile falls. Will the British army arrive in time? The Mehdi attacks, ten thousand warriors descend on the city. Despite Gordon's efforts, the garrison disintegrates in the face on this babaric onslaught. Khartoum falls and Gordon's head is paraded around the city that night, atop a giant pole. Tragically, a British relief force was only two days away.
This film was better than your average British war epic. Heston brings to the film a colder, more realistic portrayal of General Gordon than say a British actor could. He stops Gordon from being seen as a stereotypical, sideburns and moustached Victorian gentleman type. Olivier is somewhat less convincing as the Mehdi. Why apply face paint to him when surely, 'black' actors could have been found. It is simply too mind-boggling to get your head around, a coloured Laurence Olivier!!! The film benefits from the dramatic backdrop of the Nile basin. Ancient Egyptian monuments add a sense of sadness and tragedy to the story. One scene depicts soldiers passing by figures carved out of stone and you sense that these stone gods are aware of the fate that awaits Khartoum and her defenders. When you watch the film, you find yourself hoping that the relief force just hurries up that little bit, in order to save the city. The sense of tension and desperation in Khartoum is easily felt and leaves you infuriated by the casual stance the British generals adopt towards the inhabitants. The battle scenes are top notch and boast a cast of thousands, helping make the film a highly enjoyable epic.
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2.0 out of 5 stars An epic disaster, 29 Nov 2014
This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
Why must we have to put up with this faded third rate DVD? This 70mm epic demands to be seen on Blu ray, yet it is not available. Not only that, but the movie is heavily cut in the battle scenes. It must be restored and justice be done to a great spectacle. Meanwhile I will put up with my VHS recording from German TV. At least it has excellent colour AND is uncut.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Tale of Empire, 14 Sep 2013
This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
This is a great film from the era when epic meant a cast of thousands rather than CGI rubbish . A superb film in all respects apart from Lawrence Olivier's ham performance as the Mahdi , who he chooses to play as some sort of comic pantomime villain ! Charlton Heston and all other members of the cast are brilliant , Richard Johnson playing a fine support to Charlton Heston's Gordon . Highly recommended .
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5.0 out of 5 stars A TREASURE, 12 July 2014
This review is from: Khartoum (Blu-ray)
Great film, has always been a favourite.
this blu ray is beautifully restored, nice sharp picture, audio is very good but in HD.2.0 pity its not got the 5.1 mix that I believe exsists.
performances are brilliant Olivier is outstanding.
would recommend this disc.
well done Twilight Time, may you give us many more treasures.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Khartoum DVD, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this film for my Father, which I watched with him. We both thoroughly enjoyed the story line and the picture quality.
It was well packaged and arrived promptly.
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Khartoum [DVD]
Khartoum [DVD] by Eliot Elisofon (DVD - 2003)
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