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Friday, May 24, 2013

Legend Of The Lost (1957)

In Timbuktu, a Frenchman (Rossano Brazzi) hires a guide (John Wayne) to take him out to the Sahara desert where he believes there is a lost city with hidden treasure. A prostitute (Sophia Loren) emotionally indebted to the Frenchman chases after them. Two men, one woman, a King's treasure, the hot Sahara desert ... it can't end well. It all sounds like great fun, doesn't it? Well, it should be but it isn't. Despite the intriguing prospect of a Wayne/Loren pairing, the film never manages to summon up enough excitement to take us through the end of the film. I mean how exciting is it to watch three people wandering through the heat of the desert looking for water? The great cinematographer Jack Cardiff (THE RED SHOES) makes the Libyan desert locations look as regal as Freddie Young's images in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and there's an exotic score by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino but the director Henry Hathaway (who would later direct Wayne to an Oscar in TRUE GRIT) can't overcome a rather talky screenplay (co-written by Ben Hecht who wrote NOTORIOUS and SCARFACE). With Kurt Kasznar.

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