The Mongols (1961) Poster

(1961)

User Reviews

Review this title
7 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
7/10
This is Jack's show
bushrod5625 September 2005
For those of you who got a kick out of Mr. Palance's Attila the Hun in SIGN OF THE PAGAN this film gives you a better, new improved version of his unique brand of barbarity. This man's GOT to have a war or he'll just be miserable. He'll lie, cheat, steal, connive- do just anything in order to HAVE THAT WAR. This is type A personality taken to it's most outer extreme. You can really feel the almost unbearable frustration he seems to experience when his old dad Genghis Khan tells him that they're going to try for a peaceful solution with the Poles. Well, anyhow, it all ends badly for Jack (and dad). Anita Ekberg as a truly ice cold partner/lover of Jack's is fascinating to watch as well in a sort a somnambulistic way; she's pure deceit. And I was also rather entranced by the head Polish knight's seeming death wish in his relentless, driven fixed idea of obtaining peace with the Mongols. Discouraged at almost every turn, the son of a gun just would not give up and finally came out on top in the end (and got the girl, too). A good lesson in superhuman determination.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Gengis Khan killed by Anita Ekberg!
dbdumonteil5 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
You read well.So if you do not get a good mark for your next history test,it won't be Andre de Toth's fault but yours.

If you do not take it literally,you may find "I mongoli" pleasant,nay entertaining.Jack Palance overplays as hell ,perfectly cast as the villain.The villainess Ekberg matches him,so to speak ,every step of the way.The heroes ,Franco Silva and Antonella Lualdi are Italian cast as Polish pacifists who try to avoid war with the Mongols .Gengis Khan "whose ears cannot hear woman's words" agrees with the good ones.But his son (Palance) is not prepared to accept such a thing ,neither is his slave/lover Ekberg who might have been infuriated by Khan's machismo.

There are tortures aplenty ,floggings galore,stakes,even a nasty little thing called "slow death" .Treasons are here too.Igor is not fair-play during the duel,but he must be forgiven since the hero is obviously stealing his fiancée;Henry de Valois (what is this French doing here?) spills the beans but I'd like to see what you 'd have done ,in that slow death stuff.

The ideal flick after hard labor ,housework or a Godard Movie.Why not?
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Historically Incorrect
warrenchang10 September 2005
I've wanted to watch this movie for a long time based on the performance of Jack Palance in a previous role as Atilla in "Sign of the Pagan". I wasn't disappointed in Palance's performance as Ogatai but as a whole this film was very inconsistent and horribly incorrect historically. To say the writers of this movie took liberties with history is an understatement. The great battle between the Mongols and the combined armies of Europe did take place, but not with the results described in the movie. In fact, the Mongols did have the opportunity to move much further westward into Europe, except by chance were diverted back home due to the death of the emperor and than later resumed their campaign toward the south/west and the Middle East, considered more attractive at this time in history. The movie does have some lavish costumes and epic battles, but it also often repeats the same footage over and over again. This movie actually had some potential with the amount of money it seemed to have in its production, but somebody dropped the ball in terms of editing, music and story. Blond haired Anita Ekberg as Ogatai's lover at first glance seems absurd, but plausible when you consider that the Mongols conquered all of Asia and most of Eastern Europe. Her acting is actually fairly good. The movie is worth seeing if your a fan of Jack Palance, his character of Ogatai is a unique one.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Better than history
jimm-87 May 2007
This is a highly entertaining Italian epic -- provided that you watch it for fun and not as a history lesson. The real Genghis Khan, historians tell us, was responsible for the deaths of some 20 million people, roughly a tenth of the known world, but in this version Roldano Lupi, bewhiskered and benign, comes across as a sort of Mongolian Father Christmas. As his evil son, Ogotai, Jack Palance has the time of his life dispensing cruelties and whippings with his usual leering relish, but he also imbues his role with a certain depth of character. Palance, carrying on where his maniac charioteer in Barabbas left off, is easily the best actor on show and more than anyone else holds the film together. By contrast, his leading lady is simply hilarious. "We Mongols..." says Anita Ekberg, looking exactly like Anita Ekberg and soon to go for a nude swim in the local river – shamelessly cashing in on her popular performance in La Dolce Vita where she waded into the Trevi Fountain. Her incongruous appearance is explained away by the fact that the Mongols abducted her from her homeland, but one wonders whether they acquired her from modern-day Sweden. Star Trek fans will be pleased to see Lawrence Montaigne, alias Spock's love rival Stonn, in an early role as an ally of Prince Stefan. (Italian references wrongly credit him as the King of Poland, but he's actually the one who changes clothes with Stefan to fool the Mongols). The remarkable score – not too well transferred in the American prints – is by film music legend Mario Nascimbene who has evidently tried to repeat the barbaric qualities of The Vikings. In his autobiography Nascimbene explains that the harsh percussion for The Mongols was achieved using ordinary household utensils. He even toured the Rome shops asking if they had a casserole dish in F-sharp or a frying pan in D-flat, and he was perhaps lucky to get out before they rang for the white coats. Back at the recording studio, conductor and friend Franco Ferrara was well accustomed to these musical eccentricities and asked if the RAI Sinfonica was always going to have a kitchens department? However, one must admit that the final score is both magnificent and ingenious. Dino Solari's choreography for the Mongol court is surprisingly erotic for its day, but disappointingly the US version has some clumsy cuts to exclude the bit where one of the male dancers gets astride and rolls round the floor with a scantily clad girl dancer. Adult ballet fans can see the uncut version on the French video release from Film Office Peplum. The battle scenes, where the Mongols are outwitted into entering a swamp where they all drown, were obviously filmed in two places. We begin in Yugoslavia where the location scenes were shot, then minutes later cut to the studio tank in Rome. Only the Italian epics can get away with this, of course, and all in all, this is a movie full of rich pickings. As long as you aren't expecting to see Henry V, it's a diverting way to spend a couple of hours.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
THE MONGOLS (Andre' De Toth, Leopoldo Savona and Riccardo Freda, 1961) **1/2
Bunuel197625 May 2008
This was one of a number of low-brow peplums about ancient warrior tribes made in the wake of THE VIKINGS (1958) – this one even boasted a similarly rousing score by that film’s same composer, Mario Nascimbene. Others in this vein included THE COSSACKS (1960), THE TARTARS (1961) and ATTACK OF THE NORMANS (1962) – the latter being the only one in the bunch that I’ve watched, though I did lose the first one a couple of times on Italian TV.

Actually, this one turned out to be pretty good – and, I have to say, it lived up to the review on “Stracult” where special reference is made to its sequences of bloodthirsty action and sadism. Jack Palance gives the role of Ogotai – son of Asian potentate Genghis Khan – his eye-rolling all; he’s abetted by an equally evil Anita Ekberg (the mighty but battle-weary Khan himself perishes by her hand!). The unhistorical narrative involves the Mongols’ raid of Poland and, in particular, the attempts by one of the latter’s leading figures (Franco Silva) to negotiate a peace treaty with the Khan – a plan which Palance vehemently opposes and constantly schemes to thwart.

Being a relatively low-budget effort, the triple directorial credit might seem surprising: however, as the Italian credits themselves clearly indicate, this translates to being “A Film by Andre' De Toth” (implying that he was merely engaged in a supervisory capacity), “Directed by Leopoldo Savona”, and “Battle Sequences Staged by Riccardo Freda”. With this in mind, there are fewer of the latter than one would perhaps have appreciated – but these are nonetheless handled with the requisite gusto and grandeur. The rest of the film is largely taken up by various court intrigues on both sides of the fence but also a three-way Polish romance involving the aforementioned Franco Silva, Antonella Lualdi and Pierre Cressoy that tends to swamp Palance’s troubled relationship with his own wife!

As I said, the violence is really at the fore in this film – the Mongols themselves are memorably introduced on horseback dragging a statue of the Virgin Mary through the streets of a Polish city they’d just ransacked; besides, there are plenty of floggings (Ekberg herself lends a hand in the punishment of the perennially imperiled Lualdi), crucifixions (two men are even tied to the wheels of an advancing cart!), burnings at the stakes, etc. The finale, then, sees an Alexander NEVSKY (1938)-type strategy at work with the apparently fleeing Silva and his men luring the pursuing Mongol forces into a deadly swamp. The film was good enough almost to merit a *** rating from me…but, at 115 minutes, it’s quite a long haul – especially since it resorts too often to contrived (and repetitive) plotting.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
How could they ever make so many mistakes at once?
ngc1375 June 2005
The story of this movie takes place in the middle ages at a time when Genghis Khan's Mongolian army was threatening Europe. It centers around the adventures of a Polish knight who wants to save the town Kraków from being taken by the cruel enemy.

The creators of the movie put much effort into the scenery and even more effort into the costumes. But they did not put any effort at all into the script or into acting. The plot is as simple-minded as if it had been invented by some twelve year old boys, playing cops and robbers. The dialog consists of stupid, hollow phrases. This alone would already make the movie a bad movie.

However its weaknesses go beyond that. The background music is not only unbearable symphonic rubbish. It is also inappropriately matched to the atmosphere of the individual scenes. Even the optical aspects that seem to have been the film maker's only focus are flawed. I do not have sufficient historical knowledge to judge about the historical correctness of costumes, weapons and other equipment. But I am quite sure that ordinary Polish women in the middle ages did not possess a hairstyle, makeup, and manicure like models in the early 1960's, especially if they were hiding from the Mongolian army in the marshland.

This having been said, it is almost unnecessary to mention that even the main story line is far from telling a true story about Genghis Khan's time.

There is no reason to watch this film, as long as you do not want to see how much can go wrong simultaneously with a single movie.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Shared interests in turkey farming
bkoganbing2 September 2015
When Jack Palance signed on to do The Mongols an Italian produced epic shot in Yugoslavia he merely took out his former performance of as Attila The Hun ratcheted it up exponentially. When you're in a turkey like this all you can do is gobble gobble at the moon.

The only names we Americans will recognize are that of Palance playing Ogatai son of Genghis Khan and his lovely blond amazon wife played by Anita Ekberg. I will say this the writers did make provision for the fact that she clearly does not look like a Mongol and did mention that she was from a captive people. Perhaps a Viking settlement somewhere in Eastern Europe might explain it. I'll say this with that massive endowment of her's Anita looks good even in that Mongol armor. One fill figured girl she was.

When Palance is on there isn't a stick of furniture left standing. He is having one great old time overacting against the background of these continental cast members who sound stiff as usual with their dubbed voices. The Europeans have decided to sue for peace and have sent the film's nominal hero Franco Silva playing Stephen of Cracow as a peace emissary.

But Palance really gets his jollies with all the blood and guts and he doesn't want to stop the fighting. In this he's aided and abetted by Anita. So nice when husband and wife have a mutual interest. He and Anita do what they can to sabotage a cease fire.

In the end it's pulled out and western civilization itself is saved by a seasoned soldier taking home town advantage of the elements.

Jack Palance fans should get a real charge out of this film watching their guy dine on the scenery. The Mongols will give you quite a few unintentional laughs.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed