Monday, May 17, 2010

Khartoum (1966)

This movie is about the British general "Chinese" Gordon to hold the chief city of Sudan against a religious leader claiming to be "the Madhi," an apocalyptic figure of the Muslim tradition, in 1885. It has to rate as one of the best historical epics of the mid-20th century.

Two things stand out. The movie starts out with beautiful super-wide-screen views of Egypt and the Nile, and many other great pics of the desert, the river, riverboats, and cityscapes follow. It was lovingly, carefully, convincingly shot throughout.

The second thing is that the movie, although it has lots of action, focuses on the psychology of major and minor characters: Gordon, the Mahdi, Gladstone, etc., etc. Well-played by Heston, Olivier, Richardson, and a bunch of talented lesser lights. The scene where Gordon and the Mahdi each claim divine backing is perfect.

Image: Gordon, Governor-General of Sudan.


  1. Superb movie.
    Too bad they didn't mention the Canadians who didn't quite rescue Gordon.

  2. This is Land's poem. "The Candians on the Nile". Very poignant. The link may be too long though, some links when too long become unworkable. If it is, I am most dreadfuly sorry.