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4.5 out of 5 stars99
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 4 June 2004
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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on 22 May 2004
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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on 12 June 2015
An interesting film of the big 1960s historical style with Charlton Heston playing the maverick General 'Chinese' Gordon. Heston plays Gordon well from what I have read about Gordon while Olivier is somewhat curious as the Mahdi. Heston's role is somewhat similar to that he played in '55 Days in Peking', a man under siege, but this time the outcome is not so good for Heston/Gordon. Encouraged by the British government to rescue the Egyptians from Khartoum, Gordon, because of his character and nature is also warned that the government will not accept any responsibility for Khartoum should Gordon exceed his brief, as they know or suspect that he will. Plausible denial. The British feel they have to do something but at the same time do not wish to be embroiled in a religious revolt.Gordon fully acknowledges his role but on arriving at Khartoum discovers that events have overtaken him and forces him to remain in Khartoum and hope for relief. Unlike Peking, it did not arrive in time to save Gordon.
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on 6 January 2006
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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on 1 February 2015
This is another of those classic films that has stood the test of time well and really is an enjoyable watch. With excellent acting by all concerned, particularly from the two protagonists Heston and Olivier, superb filming and an absorbing historical element this is one of those Hollywood epics that I could watch time and time again. If you are the type of person that enjoys the likes of El Cid, Lawrence of Arabia, or Ben Hur then this really is a DVD that you should add to your library. Snuggled up nice and warm with tea & biccies at hand while watching this film with the rest of the family on a cold and miserable Sunday afternoon...life IS good !!!
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on 12 July 2014
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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on 7 April 2016
Charlton Heston as a great British imperial hero/nutter/fantasist and Laurence Olivier in boot polish as a homicidal, religious, loony from the deep desert, what is there not to like? The casting is implausible, the script diverges from the modern historical narrative by a country mile and Olivier's performance might have got him beheaded by more than the film critics these days, but I still loved the film (between wincing and laughing), the cinematography is excellent. On a more serious note, the history that (very) loosely underpins this film still resonates with us today and I recommend reading Michael Asher's excellent book; Khartoum: the ultimate imperial adventure, the parallels with today's problems in the Middle East are pretty obvious. Khartoum: The Ultimate Imperial Adventure.
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on 15 April 2014
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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on 11 June 2014
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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on 11 December 2013
Superb film with two heavyweights of cinema. Olivier at his scene-chewing best and Charlton Heston has always been one of my favourite actors. A grand film.
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