KHARTOUM
1966, Park Circus/MGM, 136 min, UK, Dir: Basil Dearden, Eliot Elisofon

Charlton Heston stars as British general Charles “Chinese” Gordon, who is sent to defend the British Empire in the Sudan during a violent uprising led by jihad-hungry Laurence Olivier. This is one of the most literate (with an Oscar-nominated screenplay by Robert Ardrey) and visually sumptuous of all 1960s epics, with vibrant colors and spectacular action sequences courtesy of ace craftsman Basil Dearden.


CLASH OF THE TITANS
1981, Warner Bros., 118 min, USA, Dir: Desmond Davis

The last feature with effects by the great Ray Harryhausen, CLASH OF THE TITANS follows the epic trials and tribulations of young Perseus (Harry Hamlin) as he battles giant scorpions, two-headed dogs, the ferocious Calibos and the giant Kraken, with a little help from the gods and a magical, winged horse named Pegasus. Co-starring Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Burgess Meredith.


HENRY V (1944)
1944, Sony Repertory, 137 min, UK, Dir: Laurence Olivier

Winston Churchill wanted a morale booster for British troops in WWII and got more than he could have possibly imagined in what is arguably the first great Shakespeare film. Laurence Olivier directs and stars as the 15th-century warrior king, leading his troops to victory against the French at Agincourt. Brilliantly framed with sequences depicting the play’s performance at the Globe Theatre, this Technicolor tour-de-force was nominated for four Oscars, with Olivier receiving an honorary award for his yeoman work. Once more unto the breach!


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