|That magic waterfall from UNCLE BOONMEE|
KHARTOUM, 1966. I had forgotten how good KHARTOUM is, directed by stalwart Basil Dearden, and 2nd Unit (presumably those battle scenes) by veteran Yakima Canutt (the chariot race in BEN-HUR etc). It has two towering performances - Charlton Heston, steadfast as usual, as General Gordon, and a mesmerising turn (in a handful of scenes, but dominating the film) by Laurence Olivier as The Madhi -
His Madhi is a stunning creation. The film is quite topical now, showing as it does the confrontation between Western imperialism and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism - this time in the Sudan of the 19th century. Add in Ralph Richardson as Gladstone, and familiar faces like Richard Johnson, Marne Maitland, Peter Arne, Nigel Green, Michael Hordern, Alexander Knox, Douglas Wilmer, Johnny Sekka. The fascinating story of how General Gordon (a fanatic to some) manages to hold Khartoum as the Madhi's forces attack is well told here and its totally engrossing.