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Showing posts from October, 2012

The Imperialist Design of Khartoum

Article by Muhsin KhalidPart Four

The Clowning of Olivier

Lawrence Olivier's portrayal of the Mahdi is compromised by overacting. 
His facial register is obviously exaggerated. His features shiver as though afflicted
by an overdose of a drug. He yells at his fighters when they bring him Gordon's 
head with an almost comic theatrical movement:
Take it away from me!
His lower jaw is dropped like a camel fed up salt in order to sell it puffy and swollen.
This excessive portrayal of the Mahdi defeats the desired outcome of the scene.

There is too much that is grasped by camera which would have looked more effective on stage. 
The mixing of film technique with that of the theater, if not done with full awareness of the subject, yields outright foolishness from head to tail. A similar mistake to this I find in Peterson Wolfgang's perspective in his film Troy when he makes Achilles (Brad Pitt), who is out to fight Hector, shout hysterically from below the walls of the city, as though he …

Movie Critic Article: The Imperialist Design of Khartoum 1966

Movie Critic Article: Part Three The Imperialist Design of Khartoum
Summary and Film Specifics:Khartoum (1966) UK, 127 min. Color. Cinerama (wide screen).
Available DVD and VHS.
United Artists. Director Basil Dearden; Producer Julian Blaustein; Screenplay Robert Ardrey; Camera Edward Scaife; Editor Fergus McDonell;
Music Frank Cordell; Art Director John Howell.
Khartoum has a prestige cast made of great actors:
Charlton Heston as General Gordon, Laurence Olivier as the Mahdi, Richard Johnson and Ralph Richardson as Gladstone the British prime minister.
1966: Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Story & Screenplay.
Set in the year 1884, filmed in Egypt and finished in England, Khartoum is a masterpiece both in cinematography and acting. The historical twist to allow for a dramatically impactful meeting of the two main characters, although artistically justifiable, was used to mal-represent the character of the Mahdi and depict him as a mad savage.
The story, without spoilers, is th…

Movie Critic Review: Shadow Kill 2003

Adoor Gopalakrishnan's
Nizhalkkuthu or Shadow Kill 2003

Boy what a job! To be a hangman!
Ironically it is a privileged job that can only be inherited!
And guess what? You could get a promotion and retirement benefits and be the only licensed hangman in the state or maybe one of only three in the country!
After all, according to Canadian poet Margaret Atwood in her poem “ Marrying the Hangman”: The hangman is not such a bad fellow.The hangman is not such a bad fellow.The hangman is not such a bad fellow.The hangman is not such a bad fellow.The hangman is not such a bad fellow.
Let's examine some of what these horrible professionals had to say.
The hangman who wrongfully executed a man in Liverpool in 1950 (his story was also made into a 2005 movie) has been quoted as stating that the hanging took longer than `it should have', raising the question: how did you (manage) to kill him, then?
Modern research in countries that banned this tool for effecting capital punishment (or ban…