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I found it unwatchable.
I saw Khartoum a long time ago, and on a wide screen in a cinema. Like Ben Hur, that is the only way to see it. It's an epic, and it has stuck in my memory. It is grand and epic and relatively close to the facts. I don't know how it would fare if I saw it again, given the parallels with the ISIS and the Mahdi, and given that "Lawrence of Arabia" now looks dated. Above all, LoA could not be made again, and perhaps Khartoum could not either. Blame recent politics and changing social attitudes that would compromise any attempt to remale these classics. But I felt that LoA was the more dated.
Other comparisons? I never saw the older versions of "The four feathers", I did see the recent version with the Indian director and which I rate as pure guano, and I also read the book a while ago.
It's weird to see a European in blackface playing the Mahdi, and Heston's Gordon is more heroic than the actual Gordon, who was immensely brave but immensely opinionated, and who quite frankly was just looking for a place to be martyred and the Sudan was just fine and dandy. Heston's performance is epic, as always, but he does not bring out that much of the complexity of Gordon's character, or the moral ambiguity of being essentially an expendable soldier of fortune doing the dirty work of the empire. But films that preach quickly get boring
Apart from that, the film is a visual feast, and the battle scenes some of the best ever. It is simply an epic, a classic, and they don't make them like that any more.
A grand epic. The type of movie that's not made anymore.
Desperately wants to be Lawrence Of Arabia. It ain't.
The technical aspects are just decent for this sort of major production that wants so much to be the next Lawrence of Arabia (take a look at the irregular cinematography in the night scenes), but this is an interesting epic with an excellent script for those (like me) who love war strategy.
A painless and entertaining bout with history in the desert that reminds one of the superior Lawrence of Arabia, which reached greater heights in its character study and had more memorable moments.Â
Very good.... Heston and Olivier! Big set for 1966.. Its a classic... 4.5 or 5 stars...the story from 1880 is not much different then now in the middle east.. unfortunately... Its no Lawrence of Arabia though...
I enjoyed it mainly for its history, music and drama. Although these elements were there, it still lacked anything to draw me to their characters or identify with them. Most themes addressed were so oddly portrayed by an American playing Gordon with a poor accent (he was good despite this (especially his costumes) and the Mahdi was played by an Englishman. Had the themes of religious fanaticism and just colonial rule been played up stronger I think it would have been more memorable.
Underwhelming. I am a big fan of military dramas, especially those based on historic events, so this movie should have been a lock in terms of liking it. However, it fails to deliver.
The biggest setback is Charlton Heston's accent. He's an American putting on a posh English accent, and he sounds it. Just feels so...superficial. Whatever possessed the producers to go with an American in as a 19th century English general is beyond me. At the time, Heston was the go-to actor for heroic roles, so that might explain it.
Laurence Oliver is slightly better, as the Mahdi. Hardly recognisable, his accent is someones quite hilarious, and sometimes quite offensive (I would think). Were there no middle-eastern actors available at the time?
Plot also seems quite padded. Yes, the political intrigues had to be there to show why General Gordon was in the situation he was in, and did what he did. However, there seems to be a lot of pointless scenes in the movie, particularly in the first half.
This said, there are some good battle scenes. Plus, the movie seems fairly true to history (which you can't say about all historical dramas), so is useful as a history lesson.
Charlton Heston is one intelligent badass who faces off against the extremely tanned Laurence Olivier ;) Khartoum is an interesting display of military strategies, politics, and history that is quite enjoyable.
This is warfare in the grand scale with both sides sporting hundreds to thousands of troops (well I'm sure some extras were used more than once) in a dry and desolate part of the world.
If you are into historical warfare movies, Khartoum is a must watch. So good.