Review: Escape From Zahrain DVD

Escape From Zahrain DVD boxSTUDIO: Olive Films | DIRECTOR: Ronald Neame | CAST: Yul Brynner, Sal Mineo, Jack Warden, Madlyn Rhue, Anthony Caruso
RELEASE DATE: 12/14/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.95
BONUSES: no extras
SPECS: R | 93 min. | Action adventure | 2.35:1 widescreen | mono

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Olive Films presents Escape From Zahrain, a punchy 1962 action-adventure movie from producer/director Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure).

The film stars Yul Brynner (The Ten Commandments) as a charismatic rebel leader fighting local corruption and foreign exploitation in a fictitious, oil-rich Arab sheikdom.

While this might sound like it’s “ripped from today’s headlines,” the tragic difference is that in 1962, Arab rebels were fighting for modernity, not fundamentalism. This is underscored by Madlyn Rhue (He Rides Tall) as a European-educated Arab nurse. At first, she is condescending to her own people, but eventually she embraces the cause.

Also in the cast: Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause) as a rebel acolyte (his shirt unbuttoned to his navel throughout); Jack Warden (Heaven Can Wait) as a not-so-ugly American (who at least sweats a little in the desert!); Anthony Caruso as a B-list Anthony Quinn; and James Mason (Bigger Than Life) in an unbilled cameo.

Escape From Zahrain is brashly colorful on a very low budget — the flip-side to that same year’s Lawrence of Arabia, if you will. White clothes never get dirty on an arduous, miles-long trek (detergent costs!), and the desert locales couild be a foreign planet from a science-fiction film that just wrapped. But, hey, that’s part of the fun.

Check this one out at the home drive-in, sans special features, though.

 

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.