It's May and it feels like March in my neck of the woods but by next week I bet it will be so warm people will complain that it's too hot. Canadians love to bitch about the weather. Ok, enough of that, I am talking about films that take place in deserts, hot or cold. I almost picked Florence of Arabia....I mean Laurence of Arabia, but I think I already spoke about this film. I love that line from Noel Coward who, upon seeing a young Peter O' Toole, said that if he was any prettier that movie would be called Florence. Anyhoo....check out Wandering Through The Shelves to see the what the others have chosen. here are my 3....
Yes, it's a silent film but it's an excellent study on what happens to a couple when they win the lottery. It is directed by the great Erich Von Stroheim whom most people know as the butler from Sunset Blvd. This film was, apparently something like 8 hours long and the few who saw it said it was a masterpiece but nobody could sit for that long so it was hacked down to a bit over 2 hours. Even in this state it is still compelling. It Stars Gibson Gowland as a mild mannered dentist who falls for Zasu Pitts( love her name) and they marry. Soon after she wins the lottery and rather than enjoy the winnings she starts to hoard it and becomes obsessed by it. Gibson's friend, played by Jean Hersholt (famous for the Jean Hersholt humanitarian award) also gets into the mix and we watch these 3 normal people become destroyed by winning this lottery. The crew actually shot on location including Death Valley which was so hot that the film was close to melting and the 2 male stars suffered terribly under the sun. This film is worth seeing
2. THE MUMMY-1932
This is the film that started it all regarding this franchise. I love the Brendan Fraser film and can watch it over and over but I chose the original film because I just recently saw this for the first time! Boris Karloff, of Frankenstein fame, played the Mummy and he was excellent as this creepy character who came back to life. The start of the film takes place in the valley of the kings and poor Karloff had to endure some pain with this great makeup. Remember they didn't have the same materials we have now so layers of cotton was glued to his face....it took 8 hours to apply! As you know, the mummy comes to life and takes his leave but a few years later he ends up in London because his lady love is entombed there. A young woman is drawn to him through his ancient ability to resurrect his love. The museum guys are to the rescue.
3. LEGEND OF THE LOST-1957
This is a John Wayne film and it's fun to watch but it's not a good one overall. He is hired by romantic lips, Rossano Brazzi, to go to the desert to find a treasure. Along for the ride is Sophia Loren because, well, why not. Rossano treats wanton gal Loren like a lady where Wayne is rough and tough. They deal with the desert and the growing concern over Brazzi's obsession in finding the lost treasure. Brazzi was the romantic rage for a couple of years in the 1950's and his pursed lips are a lot more inviting than Trumps. Wayne is always fun even in this flick which one just shakes one's head at. Loren looks sultry in her ripped clothing and sweat. What more can I say. Campy fun.
What films would you choose?
Don't think I've seen that John Wayne film. Everyone's seen The Mummy though.ReplyDelete
I'm going more recent and with a classic - The Road Warrior. The deserts of Australia never looked so foreboding. Plus there's the recent one, Mad Max Fury Road. And for fun, I'll throw in monster flick Tremors.
They are all great picks and love Tremors!Delete
There's nothing I like more than sitting through an eight hour film. If that's your thang, too, then I invite you to a private screening of my 8-hour home movie reel this Saturday at the Strand. :)
I haven't heard names the names Zazu Pitts or Rossano Brazzi in ages, but I remember a time when they were frequently on the tips of tongues. It was great to see spitfire Sophia Loren slug John Wayne, just saying...
Boris Karloff was one of my favorite actors, very influential in my youth, and The Mummy is the only one of these films that I have seen. As I recall, the movie plodded along at a pace as slow as the mummy's gait, but that was the style back then. Today's young audiences would be fidgeting out of their seats and bored out of their gourds if they had to watch such long, uncut scenes, don't you agree?
Thank you, dear friend BB!
I so agree with you! Kids have no ability to actually sit through a decent film that doesn't blow things up right away. I love that name Zasu and would name my next pet that name...maybe:) I'm a fan of John Wayne but he did get it good in this flickDelete
This theme was hard for me this week. I haven't seen any of your picks.ReplyDelete
There are quite a few filmswith a desert theme. Many recent films about the Iraq war would fitDelete
Seen The Mummy at our sea. Flight of the Phoenix, Mad Max and Tremors all popped in for me.ReplyDelete
Love Flight of the Phoenix with Stewart and Tremors is a fun movieDelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
The weather is terrible here too. We usually wear t-shirts in May but this year we're still wearing either coats or jumpers!ReplyDelete
I haven't seen any of these but I loved Lawrence of Arabia.
Lawrence is an excellent film and I thought I spoke about it before which is why I didn't choose it. It's cold hereDelete
See, I watch Greed and think that if von Stroheim had had access to widescreen cameras like David Lean did, he would have come up with shots that preceded Lean's by 40 years.Delete
It's just a shame that von Stroheim couldn't start off with a two-hour screenplay instead of forcing the studio to hack his movie to bits.
I really like this theme and know that I could come up with several A-List examples that I dig. But for the sake of brevity I'll stick with just one -- the FIRST ONE that popped into my mind immediately...
How about the indisputable classic desert movie 'THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE'? Pretty hard to top that one.
MORE desert movies?
I don't need to list no more stinkin' desert movies!
[Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...
I almost picked this amazing film but I'm keeping it for another theme. Love that movie and can't help but think of Bugs and the little penguin either " Can you spare something for a man down on his luck?"Delete
Not seen any of these. The first one sounds intriguing.ReplyDelete
The first one is a masterpiece even in its cut up formDelete
Oh my gosh! Eight hours? That's a long movie. Nowadays, they would make it a miniseries. I would recommend The Stand. Not quite the desert, but close enough.ReplyDelete
I don't know the Stand. I believe it would have been a mini series on HBODelete
So the first two I thought of were Lawrence of Arabia and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. But I haven't seen either of them. So...ReplyDelete
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Road Warrior
Haven't seen Dune but love The Gods Must Be Crazy...so much fun. Road Warrior and Mad Max is a popular pick this weekDelete
Rossano is another one of those old actors that look better as I age. Him, Loren, and Wayne together make an interesting combination. I almost want to to see it.ReplyDelete
It's not a bad movie but it's not one of Sayne's best by any means and it's fun to see Loren.Delete
I haven't seen any of those, but I understand the horrors of Death Valley. I've driven by, but never actually gone. That would be a winter trip as summer it gets really, really hot.ReplyDelete
Yup, they were there in the summer. The cameras had to be wrapped in ice and towels. The actors wore Cold cloths under their socks and Jean Hersholt had to be hospitalized afterDelete
I've only seen bits and pieces of The Mummy. Lots of bits and pieces, mind you, but never the whole movie in one sitting. Plan on changing that, soon. Haven't heard of your other picks.ReplyDelete
I finally saw The Mummy only a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it. I can't imagine having to sit for 8 hours to apply that make up and the. Having to endure the pain when it was being taken off. I would say to see Greed...great filmDelete
Wont be too long until the new mummy I thinkReplyDelete
Greed is such a compelling experience even in its comprised form. I'm curious about the original but can't say I can't see the studio's reasoning about an 8 hour film even if it is a masterpiece. However looking back now with the ability to break it into segments to watch like a mini-series the loss hurts.ReplyDelete
I also love the name ZaSu Pitts, and the actress as well, I saw a short on TCM once that she made with the ill-fated Thelma Todd, her frequent co-star devoted entirely to the correct pronunciation of her name (Zay-Soo). Sound completely changed the course of her career, in silents she was considered a great tragedienne but her fluttery voice made her a natural in comedy.
I also prefer the Brendan Fraser Mummy, this one while trendsetting is often clunky.
Legend of the Lost! Ack it's a stinker but that cast made it worth the one view I gave it.
I also went with some older stuff for the week.
The Desert Song (1953)-Sometimes a movie is just so wildly miscast that you love it more for its faults than its strengths, that’s the case with this operetta. The basic story goes like so: There’s a civil war between Morocco’s Berber and Arab populations in the early 1900’s. French Foreign Legionnaire Gen. Birabeau arrives with daughter Margot (Kathryn Grayson) in tow to check the war’s progress while Arab Sheik Yousseff schemes to discredit the mysterious opposition leader El Khobar (Margot’s tutor in disguise) while Margot and El Khobar fall in love. Simple enough but what ratchets up the absurdity factor is that the Sheik is played by Raymond Massey, famous for playing Abraham Lincoln!, while El Khobar the Berber rebel leader is Gordon MacRae…that’s right Curley from Oklahoma!! If you can look beyond that the strapping Gordon and the lovely Kathryn are in great voice and the score is terrific but if you’re looking for realism look elsewhere.
Rawhide (1951)-Feisty young Vinnie Holt (Susan Hayward) traveling with her orphaned niece Callie is stranded at the remote stagecoach stop “Rawhide Pass” in the acrid desert of the old West with stationmaster Sam Todd (Edgar Buchanan) and his assistant Tom Owens (Tyrone Power) when the cavalry won’t permit her to proceed through dangerous territory because of a stage robbery. After the soldiers leave, Jim Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe) bluffs his way into the station saying he’s a guard but is actually one of the escaped convicts responsible for the robbery. His three fellow escapees quickly appear intent on stealing the gold shipment due in the next day. After killing Sam they must keep Tom and Vinnie, who they mistakenly believe is his wife, alive to carry out their plan. As the four men turn on each other Tom & Vinnie work together to try and escape. Tight suspenseful Western.
Five Graves to Cairo (1943)-British Corporal John Bramble (Franchot Tone) is the lone survivor of a battle against Rommel’s army on the Egyptian border. Wandering through the desert he finds a remote hotel assuming a false identity to elude capture. Arriving shortly after is General Rommel himself (Erich von Stroheim) who takes Bramble for a German spy and lets slip hints of his secret strategy, the 'five graves' to Cairo-hidden excavations of supplies to enable survival across the desert. It’s up to Bramble to find a way to get word of the plan to the Allies and perhaps change the tide of the war.
Greed would be on HBO now if it was made today. I haven't seen Desert Song in years but do remember Kathryn singing smoke gets in your eyes which I love. I'd love to see Rawhide...I only know the tv show. I have been meaning to see 5 Grave to Cairo forever...on my to watch list.Delete
I appreciated your recent visit. Haven't seen any of these (though I'm always game for classic horror, and my dad remains a big, big fan of John Wayne).ReplyDelete
The Mummy is one that I had never seen until recently and enjoyed it very muchDelete
I haven't seen any of these films, but would definitely like to start with The Mummy. Fascinating! Next, Greed. :DReplyDelete
The Mummy is a short film actually. Greed is stellar but not an easy film to watch. It is the exact opposite of what people should be on your blog Vidya. Thanks for visiting!Delete
I'm such a simpleton when it comes to movies. I haven't seen any of these.ReplyDelete
The first one is excellent!Delete
Hi Birgit - you've made me look back ... Joan of Arc (1928) - I wrote about it and some other silent movies in a post in 2012 (use the search bar for J of A ... there are three posts probably all worth reading ... movie related, with other extras!). I rave about Joan of Arc ... extraordinary, but with the Silent Pianist playing the accompanying music - it really brought it to light ... wonderful ...ReplyDelete
I'm sure I've seen bits of The Mummy - but hadn't realised some of the detail of make up etc ... makes sense. Greed I've never seen ... and John Wayne, Sophia Loren and luscious lips must make good viewing. They'll be showing a Sophia Loren film later this month - Arabesque with Gregory Peck ... cheers for now - Hilary
I was able to see Joan of Arc as a special viewing with Chorus Niagara and it was excellent! I was in awe of her performance...sheer movie magic to me. I love Arabesque! I watched it more than once and feel it is Hitchcockian in design like CharadeDelete
Ah crampy fun - I like the sound of the John Wayne movie, you need this kind of thing every now and then.ReplyDelete
Well, it is not crampy although I love that line and will use it in the future. I bet you meant to say campy and your autocorrect got in the way. You do need a movie like that which is why I rewatched it about a month agoDelete
Hi Birgit - sorry I've not been visiting my regular favourite blogs lately. Life and all that... As for 'desert' films - I'd choose The English Patient for the desert scenes.ReplyDelete
Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos
The English Patient was popular this week and it is an excellent film.Delete
I think Legend must be the only John Wayne film I haven't seen.ReplyDelete
Have a lovely weekend, Birgit.
I still need to see him in The Conqueror which has Wayne playing Genghis Khan...hahahahaaaa. I hope you had a great weekend!Delete
That's an amazing movie worth checking out.ReplyDelete
Greed: Interesting factoids. You don't even think about the lottery being around in 1924. At least I don't.ReplyDelete
YOU have a wonderful day.
Making a choice among these is nigh on to impossible. And I'll admit I haven't seen any of them, but what a variety!ReplyDelete
I've got The Mummy (1932) recorded and ready to view but I'd better watch it soon since my hard drive is nearly filled and that film will soon be deleted. I've seen it many times but it's been a while.ReplyDelete
So many great desert movies to choose from. A lot have been mentioned in the comments. Bogart's Sahara is one that I enjoyed.
Tossing It Out
I loved watching the old Mummy films with Boris Karloff but like you I can watch the Branden Fraser fun adventure flicks repeatedly. The writers did a great job! "Legend of the Lost" we haven't seen but I think it was on TV a few years back but we only caught a snippet of it. It looks like a great John Wayne classic. He was a fabulous actor and Sophie Loren...what an Italian beauty! :) Thanks for sharing these fabulous movies choices! Now, to see if I can find "Legend of the Lost".
Haven't seen any of this...but yes The Mummy does come to mind when I think of deserts, but I'd have to pick the Brendan Fraser one since its the only one I've seen.ReplyDelete