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Spain released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), German ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Czech ( Subtitles ), Danish ( Subtitles ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), Finnish ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Hungarian ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Norwegian ( Subtitles ), Polish ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), Swedish ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, SYNOPSIS: An expert in ancient hieroglyphics unexpectedly finds himself involved in a web of international intrigue in this chic, enjoyably tongue-in-cheek espionage adventure. Gregory Peck stars as David Pollock, an American professor whose predictable academic routine is overturned when he is hired to help translate a mysterious message written in an obscure ancient text. The real trouble begins, however, when everyone from a wealthy oil magnate to a foreign government to brutal criminals starts to chase Pollock, desperate to discover the nature of the deciphered message. Along for the ride is Yasmin Azir (Sophia Loren), the gorgeous lover of Pollock's employers, whose loyalties are questionable, to say the least. The tangled narrative proves less important than the film's stylish surface, from the colorful London locations to the Henry Mancini score. Certain touches date the film, like a brief foray into psychedelia, but the modish visuals are generally an appropriate match to the insouciant tone. Not taking itself seriously enough to be truly thrilling, Arabesque nevertheless stands as a witty, well-made example of a particular breed of airy, intentionally superficial comic adventure. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...Arabesque
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Top Customer Reviews
That the movie, essentially a typical 60s piece of fluff in the Charade vein, succeeds so well is due in no small part to director Stanley Donen's concept for clever and adroit staging enhanced by some of the very best repartee and cinematography of that period and Henry Mancini underlines it all with yet another of his witty soundtracks.
Gregory Peck, never renouned for comedy work here rises superbly to the challenge - he needed to as he is pitted opposite two of the best in the business.
Alan Badel is on top form as the suave cynical villain - no surprise there then.
However the main honours go to the comedy talent and timing skills of the gorgeous Sophia Loren - never has she looked more stunning and rarely has she had the opportunity to give such a top notch performance. Her acting and well deserved Oscar for Two Women pale into insignificance when measured against her star turn in Arabesque.
In some ways this film reminds me some of James Bond films in which some mysterious exotic political affairs were involved.
Charade  [DVD]Indiscreet [DVD] My Fair Lady (Special Edition) [DVD] Breakfast At Tiffany's (Special Edition) [DVD] Man Of La Mancha [DVD] Designing Woman  ~ Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall, Dolores Gray, and Sam Levene (DVD - 2002)
Hieroglyphics expert David Pollock (Peck) is thrust into a world of shifty political intrigue involving a Middle Eastern Prime Minister, a beautiful spy and a sinister rich businessman.
There's quite a bit wrong with Arabesque, with white actors made up as Arabs, a scatter-gun plot, weak finale, a barely threatening villain and Peck is no action hero! Yet if you can just run with it, to enjoy being in the company of the stars? Then there's fun to be had here.
Part comedy, part thriller mystery, Arabesque zips along at a decent clip and Donen inserts memorable scenes along the way. From a wonderful shower sequence to chase me perils at a Zoo and a building site, there's truly a great will of spirit involved in the production. Donen also at times chooses to shoot the movie through a kaleidoscopic prism, and uses canted angles to accentuate David Pollock's confusion. These are nice touches, as is Mancini's Eastern flavoured musical arrangement.
Peck may be no action hero type actor but his sense of fun here, and his all round classy charm, makes it very easy to root for him. Loren looks fabulous, a real sex-bomb pouting away with a glint in her eye. Not all of the Christian Dior costumes suit her character, but Loren, herself seemingly having a great old time of it, comes through the picture with flying colours. Elsewhere the performances are merely adequate, with Badel's villain coming off like a weak Peter Sellers clone!
So a mixed bag for sure and the shadow of Donen's wonderful Charade three years earlier looms large at times, but it's an enjoyable enough ride while it lasts. 7/10
The plot convolutions are more artificial, strained and less credible than Charade and the lukewarm reception it got is probably why Stanley Donen failed to make any more films like them.
But that aside, Gregory Peck is a likeable hero (in the Audrey Hepburn role) and Sophia Loren makes a charming Cary Grant). The wonderful theme music is in a similar style to Charade, if over used, and the locations, whilst wildly improbable, are used to great effect.
Great DVD transfer.
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
A lot of bit-part actors with the exception of Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. Bought the film because I was aware of the title, but had never seen the film. Read morePublished 22 days ago by JD
Old fashioned spy thriller starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren very enjoyable.Published 4 months ago by colinc
A very watchable example of 1960's hokum. The world has moved on a long way since this film was made, but for me it is still an enjoyable watch. My recommendation is to try it.Published 5 months ago by Mike Jacobs
Not quite another Charade, but an engaging near miss and well worth seeing.Published 7 months ago by Michael Trolan