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1960s, Combat - 19th Century


Released 1966 Rating U
Director Basil Dearden, Eliot Elisofon Writer/s Robert Ardrey
Starring Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson
Source of story Based on real events
Elevator Pitch In 1884 General “Chinese” Gordon is sent to Khartoum to arrange for the evacuation of the city, which is threatened by the Mahdi, an extreme religious leader who has mobilised the local population against the Egyptian rulers. But he decides to stay and defend it, hoping for the intevention of British forces.
Content An awful lot of talking, but some intriguing footage of Nile river cruisers and some energetic battle scenes, where the horses seem to come of worst. Despite denials of the producers many were killed.
A View Such films as this, predating CGI, imagining historic events, have become historic themselves. You can’t help but be impressed and it might inspire you to read about the British revenge which took 13 years to mount, with the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 where 25,000 British and allied troops defeated 50,000 Mahdi forces.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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