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Arabesque (Universal 1966, Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren)



Solid espionage caper Arabesque has David Pollock (Gregory Peck), an American hieroglyphics professor visiting Oxford, agreeing to decipher a secret message — the contents of which are wanted by spies, oil sheiks, and Middle Eastern leaders.

While trying to avoid any number of pursuers, Pollock is aided by Yasmin Azir (Sophia Loren), the sensuous mistress of politically ambitious oil tycoon Beshraavi (Badel).

Their escapades are replete with wild chases, killings, and horrible assassinations. Donen repeated CHARADE in the making of this film, rightly assuming that film’s success deserved another attempt. Loren’s glamorous wardrobe is by Dior and included some 50 pairs of shoes for her character —a 50,000 pound costuming expense which is explained away by her lover’s shoe fetish!

It’s all very mindless, absurdly complex, hopelessly hip in that 1960s sort of way, and an agreeable way to pass the time.

Cinematographer Christopher Challis won an award from the British Film Academy for Best Color Photography.

Writers: Julian Mitchell, Stanley Price, Pierre Martin (based on the novel The Cipher by Gordon Cotler) Music: Henry Mancini Cinematography: Christopher Challis Producer and Director: Stanley Donen

production details
USA | Universal | 105 minutes | 1966
Director: Stanley Donen
Script: Stanley Price, Julian Mitchell, Peter Stone, Gordon Cotler,

Harry Locke as Zookeeper
Ernest Clark as Beauchamp
Alan Badel as Beshraavi
George Coulouris as Ragheeb
Duncan Lamont as Webster
Larry Taylor as Mustapha
Kieron Moore as Yussef Kasim
Sophia Loren as Yasmin Azir
Jimmy Gardner as Helmsley
Harold Kasket as Mohammed Lufti
Gregory Peck as Prof. David Pollock
Carl Duering as Hassan Jena
John Merivale as Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane
Windsor Davies as Policeman
Michael Bilton as Microscope Salesman