his masterpiece The Big Wednesday
The Wind And The Lion (1975) is an exotic epic worthy of the kind that
was popular in the early days of Hollywood, and no less ridiculously inaccurate
A band of horsemen charges wildly through a beach, slaughtering anyone along
the way. At the same time an elderly British man and a middle-aged USA woman,
are having breakfast in a luxuriant mansion on top of a hill, while the woman's
children, William and Jennifer, play in the gardens, all of them impeccably dressed and well behaved. The barbaric
horde enters the town and rides through the narrow alleys of the market,
terrorizing the crowds. The rich westerners hear distant echoes of the turmoil.
Finally the horsemen attack the mansion. The elderly men shoots a few of them
but eventually runs out of bullets. The band breaks into the house, destroys,
loots and slaughters. They take the woman and the two children and run away,
as fast as they came.
This is Morocco in 1904. The news travels to the USA where the gun-loving
decides to make it a reelection issue: barbars should not be allowed to
kidnap USA citizens.
The horsemen wake up their hostages, after camping a night on the beach,
with Eden protesting in vain to Raisuli (an ignorant Berber who, of course,
speaks fluent English in a British accent).
In the meantime, the USA ambassador is asked to provide a gift of lions before
he can meet with the sultan to discuss the situation.
Eden and the children witness Raisuli's cruelty when he personally executes
two men who disobeyed him.
Raisuli and Eden tediously spar (when they don't play chess), while Raisuli
manages to explain that he is actually some kind of hero, fighting the
entire class of corrupt Moroccan politicians that supports the European
The USA ambassador delivers the lions and is granted an audience with the
sultan. The sultan's palace is a playground where he has ammassed all the
gifts received from foreign countries: bicycles (that nobody knows how to
ride), footballs, machine guns, colossal carriages. The ambassador demands that
the sultan does something to win the release of the woman and her children,
but the ambassador is inept and a coward. In return for the hostages
Raisuli demands not money but the land.
In the meantime, the USA president cuts his birthday party (making the cut
over a map of the Americas in the place where the Panama Canal will be built)
and announces his intention to use military force to free Eden.
Eden manages to take the children and run away, but only to be sold to a worse
bandit leading an even more brutal gang. Raisuli finds them and, alone, kills
all the bandits and brings the three back to his camp.
Eden is both terrified and fascinated by Raisuli, especially after he tells
her the story of how he spent so many years in prison and witnessed the
atrocities of the rulers.
The USA marines land in Morocco and storm the palace of the sultan, upsetting
not only the Moroccans but also all the European powers who are vying for
control of the country.
This puts pressure on the sultan to grant Raisuli what he demands.
Eden guesses that he is being duped into a bad deal, but he refuses to listen
to a woman. The woman was right: when Raisuli delivers the hostages, the USA
take them, but German and Moroccan troops arrest him.
Eden tries to talk the USA captain into helping Raisuli. Eventually, she
takes him hostage with the help of his children and threatens to cut his throat.
This convinces him. In the meantime a friend of Raisuli has mustered a small
army and is ready to attack too. The USA troops and the bandits fight together
against the Germans and the Moroccans while Eden finds and frees Raisuli (who
has been hanged from his feet in a cell).
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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