6.5/10
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99 user 31 critic

Arabesque (1966)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 18 August 1966 (France)
Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.

Director:

Stanley Donen

Writers:

Julian Mitchell (screenplay), Stanley Price (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... Prof. David Pollock
Sophia Loren ... Yasmin Azir
Alan Badel ... Beshraavi
Kieron Moore ... Yussef Kasim
Carl Duering ... Hassan Jena
John Merivale ... Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane
Duncan Lamont ... Webster
George Coulouris ... Ragheeb
Ernest Clark ... Beauchamp
Harold Kasket Harold Kasket ... Mohammed Lufti
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Storyline

Professor David Pollock is an expert in ancient Arabic hieroglyphics. A Middle Eastern Prime Minister convinces Pollock to infiltrate the organization of a man named Beshraavi, who is involved in a plot against the Prime Minister. The nature of the plot is believed to be found in a hieroglyphic code. Beshraavi's mistress, Yasmin Azir is a beautiful mystery who becomes intertwined in the plot. Pollock needs her help, but she repeatedly double crosses him in one escapade after another, he can't decide on who she is working for. Ultimately working together, Pollock and Yasmin decipher the message and set out to stop an assassination of the Prime Minister. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the Man Who Made "Charade" See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gregory Peck found the stunts particularly difficult because of an old leg injury due to horseback riding. So during the cornstalk scene Peck had to keep telling Sophia Loren to slow down because it looked as if she were rescuing him and not the other way around. See more »

Goofs

In the final chase scene the helicopter continues to fly past and around the characters on the bridge while the bad guys are attempting to shoot them from a moving vehicle. If the helicopter had just hovered in place the shooters would have easily been able to kill the three on the bridge and avoided the chance for Peck to drop the ladder into their blades. See more »

Quotes

David Pollock: What is there about you that makes you so hard to believe?
Yasmin Azir: Perhaps its because I'm such a terrible liar; but, never with you, of course.
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Alternate Versions

For the UK theatrical release, the BBFC removed a few seconds of the drowning in the aquarium and the sight of a man being bloodily shot in the face in order to obtain an 'A' rating (the equivalent of today's 'PG'). All later releases have been uncut and rated '12'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Six Million Dollar Man: Walk a Deadly Wing (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Gaudeamus Igitur
Traditional tune, lyrics by Christian Wilhelm Kindleben
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User Reviews

"If I were standing stark naked in front of Mr. Pollack, he'd probably yawn!"
3 August 2001 | by TJBNYCSee all my reviews

As has been duly noted before, "Arabesque" is essentially an update of Stanley Donen's own "Charade." This time, however, the plot twists are more convoluted, the camerwork is decidedly more "mod" (shooting through chandeliers, reflections in sunglass lenses, etc.) and there is an even greater emphasis on the female star's wardrobe. If the story is more confusing and less compelling than "Charade," it certainly isn't at the expense of entertainment. Its derivative nature (it not only incorporates parts of "Charade," but also the drunk and cropdusting scenes from "North by Northwest") prevents "Arabesque" from entering the elevated realm of its predecessor, but it's a delight, nevertheless. Its strongest selling point, really, is the utterly delectable Sophia Loren as Yasmin, the side-switching enigma. It is a strong statement to declare that the glorious Miss Loren has never appeared more beautiful, before or since, than in this film--but I'm willing to take the risk. Her huge, almond, almost Egyptian eyes; tawny, caramel-colored skin; lustrous hair; and world-famous curves have never been seen to better advantage. (Her stunning Christian Dior costumes certainly add to her already formidable allure.) She also displays a very nice light comedic touch; it wouldn't be difficult to dislike someone so supernaturally gorgeous, but instead, Loren's natural warmth and humor shine through. Gregory Peck, on the other hand, looks more than a little ragged around the edges; Cary Grant obviously didn't lend Peck any of his age-defying secrets. His performance isn't nearly as bad or hammy as some other reviews have indicated, but where Loren's charisma and beauty aid her in creating a completely different character than Audrey Hepburn's in "Charade," Peck comes off as an unfortunately blurred carbon coby of Grant in that earlier film. Having said that, "Arabesque" still stands on its own merits as a cracking good comedy-thriller; the final few scenes are terrifically suspenseful. Alan Badel makes a wonderfully oily villain (love the shades!), and Kieron Moore adds a healthy shot of dated humor as a jive-talking Arabian (!). Although the twists and turns might be confusing for some, just sit back and bask in the glory that is Sophia Loren. You know the good guys will win in the end, anyway.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 August 1966 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Stanley Donen's Arabesque See more »

Filming Locations:

Hurley, Berkshire, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,800,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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