6.5/10
5,709
89 user 27 critic

Arabesque (1966)

Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.

Director:

Stanley Donen

Writers:

Julian Mitchell (screenplay), Stanley Price (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... Prof. David Pollock
Sophia Loren ... Yasmin Azir
Alan Badel ... Beshraavi
Kieron Moore ... Yussef Kasim
Carl Duering ... Hassan Jena
John Merivale John Merivale ... Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane
Duncan Lamont ... Webster
George Coulouris ... Ragheeb
Ernest Clark ... Beauchamp
Harold Kasket Harold Kasket ... Mohammed Lufti
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Storyline

Professor David Pollock is an expert in ancient Arabic hieroglyphics. A Middle Eastern Prime Minister convinces Pollock to infiltrate the organization of a man named Beshraavi, who is involved in a plot against the Prime Minister. The nature of the plot is believed to be found in a hieroglyphic code. Beshraavi's mistress, Yasmin Azir is a beautiful mystery who becomes intertwined in the plot. Pollock needs her help, but she repeatedly double crosses him in one escapade after another, he can't decide on who she is working for. Ultimately working together, Pollock and Yasmin decipher the message and set out to stop an assassination of the Prime Minister. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the Man Who Made "Charade" See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 August 1966 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Stanley Donen's Arabesque See more »

Filming Locations:

Hurley, Berkshire, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last feature of John Merivale. See more »

Goofs

After the man has been drowned in the fish tank, there are several shots of the actors with the tank in the background. In all but one of the shots, the drowned man is seen floating on the surface. In the goofed shot, the drowned man can be seen swimming toward the side of the tank. See more »

Quotes

David Pollock: ...and dear Miss Azir. You know, for a poor subjugated Arab lady you lead one hell of an emancipated life. Mr. Beshraavi on the one hand and Mr. Yussef Kasim on the other. Do you get Sundays off?
See more »

Alternate Versions

For the UK theatrical release, the BBFC removed a few seconds of the drowning in the aquarium and the sight of a man being bloodily shot in the face in order to obtain an 'A' rating (the equivalent of today's 'PG'). All later releases have been uncut and rated '12'. See more »

Connections

Featured in Biography: Sophia Loren: Actress Italian Style (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

""The Fountain in the Park" (aka "While Strolling Through (or Thru') the Park One Day")
Written by Ed Haley
Heard when Pollock is pushed out of the van
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stylish and fast paced picture in which an university professor becomes involved into a twisted and nightmarish intrigue
4 May 2015 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Modern espionage escapism story of international intrigue involving a college professor , an Arab prime minister , a ruthless businessman , an ambiguous spy and hieroglyphics . Ingenuous Gregory Peck and enigmatic Sophia Loren involved in sinister goings-on around . Both of them adrift in a tourist-eye as well as beautifully photographed London and on the run from sinister crooks and death-dealing , double secret agents who want to take a hieroglyph .

This is a sparklingly sophisticated comedy/thriller/romance with Donen's stylish direction and full of plot twists , suspense , fast moving , red herrings and adding enough effects gimmicks . Exciting and clever ¨pursuit film¨ about a naive professor and his unsettling involvement with all kind of baddies along with a beautiful as well a suspicious woman . From the opening credits by Maurice Binder to the ending entertainment and amusement are well provided . It is thrilling and intelligent at times , but results to be pretty amusing , being very sub-Hitchcock and in James Bond style . Interesting screenplay by Peter Stone , alias Pierre Marton , being much flashier than Donen's earlier ¨Charade¨ also written by Stone . Although the part of David Pollock was originally scripted for Cary Grant . Stanley Donen is prepared to resort to all the tricks in the cinematic trade to make this a fascinating thriller and he carries out a conscious effort to capture the peculiar look of the sixties . It packs fun scenes with Gregory Peck in the shower , along with moving action sequences . Peck is perfect as a botcher professor who is drawn into espionage . However , Gregory found the stunts particularly difficult because of an old leg injury due to horseback riding . This was last picture Peck made for three years while he concentrated on his humanitarian efforts that included the American Cancer Society . Gorgeous Sophia Loren is amusingly enigmatic and provides the glamorous mystery element in the plot , she manages to change her Christian Dor's dresses at various scenes . Support cast is frankly good , such as Alan Badel , George Coulouris , Carl Duering , Duncan Lamont and last feature of John Merivale . Colorful and glimmering cinematography in Panavision by Christopher Challis . Enjoyable score by Henry Mancini , including catching musical leitmotif .

This espionage adventure picture was stunningly directed by Stanley Donen who made in similar style ¨Charade¨ with Gary Grant and Audrey Hepburn who was never more beautiful . Donen directed some of the best musicals of history such as ¨On the town¨, ¨Singing in the rain¨, ¨Royal Wedding¨ , ¨It's always fair weather¨, ¨Seven brides for seven brothers ¨, ¨Funny face¨ , among others . The posterior Donen films were heavy-handed , exception of ¨Two for the road¨ again with Hepburn , and too few to show if the magic had really gone . ¨Arabesque¨ rating : 6,5/10 . Agreeable film , enough to entertain young and eldest people . It is essentially a hollow and calculated attempt to cash on the Continental spy trend -the Eurospy Subgenre- of the time .


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