Legend of the Lost Reviews
Wayne's home base is Timbuktu and, for someone whose hip-swagger is obviously not the least bit Arabian, he's pretty durn experienced in guiding the adventurous across the vast sands of the Sahara. Strapped for cash, Wayne signs up to lead a rich man (Rossano Brazzi) on desert caravan. Brazzi wants to follow his dead father's map to lost treasure - perhaps the treasure of King Solomon himself - lost within the lost city of Ophir. "Gold, silver, ivory, gems ... rubies the size of eggs, emeralds as big as hands." But it's really the lost love and respect of his father for which Brazzi searches, far more than riches. Wayne, always the pragmatist, reminds Brazzi that "the desert is filled with bones that went looking for lost treasure." Also sparkling like jewels are the eyes of love interest Sophia Loren, a working gal craving the kind of redemption that an idealistic dreamer such as Brazzi can provide her.
This trio (and the viewer), properly set-up, saddle up and ride out into the dusty abyss. Though, for reasons known only to the film's producer, they saddle up on donkeys instead of camels.
Technicolor and Technirama (2.35:1; a brief competitor to CinemaScope). Meaning appropriately wide viewing of the film's many scenic panoramas, and with high-quality color that has endured. Such panoramas and cinematography don't invoke "Lawrence of Arabia" by any means, but they're still reasonably satisfying.
Unlike the aforementioned 1980s films, this one's not the stuff of hyper-fast action. It's more akin to a hunt for the gold in a mid-Century Western, re-set into this exotic locale. Instead of Comanches possibly looming over the next ridge-top, the viewer gets Tuaregs possibly looming over the next sand dune.
RECOMMENDATION: Sure, you already know what's waiting for all three at trail's end, but not what's waiting for them at the next oasis. Plus bonus points for an out-of-the-box Wayne & Loren match-up a-sizzling aside a camel-chip campfire. Cha-ching !
TRIVIA: Films such as these rightfully belong to a genre called "lost world," first defined over a hundred years ago, when places such as Troy, the Valley of the Kings and lost African cities were just being rediscovered by Western civilization. And the founding of that genre, surprisingly, is based on an 1885 work of fiction titled "King Solomon's Mines" telling of adventurer Allan Quatermain, that character based upon true British adventurer Frederick Selous.