Arabesque Poster

Arabesque (1966)

Action | Crime | Mystery
Rayting:   6.5/10 6.4K votes
Country: USA
Language: English
Release date: 18 August 1966

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

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

bkoganbing 14 December 2006

Someone's given ancient history professor Gregory Peck a message with a Hittite inscription on it and all he gets out of it is that fabled nursery rhyme. Of course there's a good deal more to the message and that's what he and Sophia Loren are jetting all around London trying to solve.

There's a lot of players involved here, Sophia as a Mideast general's daughter, Alan Badel as an Arab oil millionaire, Kieron Moore as a revolutionary. They're all after the meaning of that message, it could upset the balance of power in the Middle-east circa 1966.

In a role originally intended for Cary Grant before he announced that Walk Don't Run would be his final film, Gregory Peck ably fills the role of the debonair professor with a disarming quip for all occasions. My guess is that Cary Grant retired because he was getting on in years and he realized it himself in his last film where he's the old matchmaker not the leading man. Peck was ten years younger and cinematically speaking that showed.

He and Sophia made a real good team together, too bad they didn't do more features. Stanley Donen directed it in the sophisticated style of his acclaimed Charade. I remember seeing this at a drive-in movie on a double bill with Tobruk. This was far better.

And given the ever festering global sore in the Middle-East, Arabesque is actually rather timely.

claudio_carvalho 4 December 2012

A man kills Professor Ragheeb (George Coulouris) and takes a hieroglyphic from his glasses. Then he seeks out the American Professor David Pollock (Gregory Peck), who is an expert in hieroglyphics at the Oxford University, and tells that his name is Major Sylvester Pennington Sloane (John Merivale). He invites Pollock to travel to London to meet the wealthy Nejim Beshraavi (Alan Badel) to translate a cipher in a hieroglyphic, but Pollock refuses the work.

Soon Pollock is summoned by the Arabian Prime Minister Hassan Jena (Carl Duering), who is unofficially in England and asks him to accept the assignment and spy the activities of Beshraavi that might be plotting something evil.

Beshraavi offers 30,000 dollars to Pollock to work in his mansion deciphering the hieroglyphic. Pollock meets Beshraavi's mistress Yasmin Azir (Sophia Loren), who tells him that he is in danger and Beshraavi will kill him in the end of his work the same way he did with Professor Ragheeb. Pollock and Yasmin flee from the mansion with the hieroglyphic, but he is double-crossed by Yasmin and captured by Yussef Kasim (Kieron Moore). Soon the professor is deeply involved in an international conspiracy where everybody wants the cipher and he does not know who is trustworthy.

"Arabesque" is a funny rip-off of "007" movies combined with "North by Northwest". The story of a clumsy professor from Oxford that is involved in an international conspiracy in London has hilarious moments, like for example the shower scene with Sophia Loren that makes this movie worthwhile. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Arabesque"

winner55 12 May 2007

Sometimes it's difficult to say why one likes a film.

Undoubtedly, what is most memorable about this film is Sofia Loren (as with any of her films). She remains beautiful and charming regardless of the script's worth Admittedly, the script isn't worth much; Peck's character is given all these imitation-Bond one-liners that are like listening to a relative speak only in bad puns, as some of my relatives do. The plot is only fair, and some of the plot-twists absurd. The film is over-long and wallows in its own cleverness. Undoubtedly, some of the visuals in this film are just experiments in '60s psychedelic 'hip' - occasionally confusing, utterly annoying.

But the film gets carried by Peck, hammy but companionable, and Ms. Loren. It's definitely entertaining, and more than one scene may stick with you for some years - although I find it difficult to say just why. My suspicion is that the glittery surface of the film, which is very light, is used to make palatable realities that are very dark - like the drowning of the killer in the aquarium. Ultimately the film feeds on the ambivalence of the audience, because in part it generates this ambivalence intentionally.

Hardly a great film, in some ways a bad film, but worth a couple hours entertainment.

ADAM-53 18 April 2000

Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck team up in this virtual re-make/sequel to director Stanley Donen's Charade, made three years earlier. Then it a glamorous couple being chased around Paris. Here it is an equally glamorous couple being chased around London, with the Zoo and Ascot races playing the backdrop to the film's key action sequences. Like the Grant character in Charade, it is impossible to work out just which side Loren is on until the film's final stages. The plot (in which Egyptology Professor Peck tries to unscramble a hieroglyphic for madman Alan Badel and Israeli agent Kieron Moore) is as dispensable as Charade's was. This is not quite up to the standard of the earlier film, but never mind, the action is breathtaking, the finale genuinely surprising, and the Mancini score is riveting.

bdonut 18 June 2005

Not only is the whole cinematography clever (love those shots with actors in the mirrors) but this is one of those hidden gems from the '60s. The whole look and feel just oozes what you imagine the '60s to be--intrigue, mysterious/swarthy foreign spies, a totally cool/hot babe (Sophia Loren could not be any more gorgeous) and a handsome yet bumbling professor (Gregory Peck out harrison Ford-ing Harrison Ford years ahead of the curve). The dialog also sparkles with that old sort of Kate Hepburn--Cary Grant type interplay albeit at a much more languid and sexier pace. There are also hints of Hitchcock and Orson Welles in the story telling and directorial style.

estabansmythe 12 December 2004

If I had the impossible task of naming one film as "My Favorite Most Enjoyable Movie" this and it's bookend, "Charade," would be it.

It is Stanley Donen's near perfect blend of Alfred Hitchcock meets James Bond. Donen made two simply wonderful films in the Hitchcock mold. The first was Charade in 1963 with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Arabesque is the second. They make a marvelous bookend set.

Both films are light, breezy and loaded with wit and humorous dialog. Both feature classic Henry Mancini scores, stylish female ward-robing by the likes of Givenchy and Christian Dior and both feature memorable titles by 007's legendary title master, Maurice Binder.

But it's Arabesque's wildly inventive cinematography which sets it apart from virtually every other action film. The cinematography is pure art school. It's amazingly inventive use of reflection and shot within a shot camera work is what first interested me in the art of cinematography as a teenager. The cinematography in Arabesque fascinates me and entertains me no end to this day.

Gregory Peck's square yet hip college professor plays perfectly with Sophia Loren's chic spy - and Sophia was never more flat-out stunning. Wow! Check out Arabesque. It's two hours of great fun.

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