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Directed by Ronald Neame
USA
1962

 

In a strife-torn Arab state, fanatical loyalists of a nationalist leader (Yul Brynner) attack a police van transporting him to prison and aid his escape into the deadly Arabian Desert. Escaping with him are fellow death row prisoners Huston (Jack Warden), a swashbuckling American who had embezzled a fortune from the Zahrain Oil Company and Tahar (Anthony Caruso), a sadistic maniac. Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause) plays a student who helps the fugitives flee the pursuant police in a stolen ambulance. This vintage adventure yarn features a special cameo appearance by James Mason (North by Northwest). Directed and Produced by Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure).

****

Turgid desert-trek drama, featuring Brynner and various bottle-tanned cohorts as escapee political prisoners in an Arab oil state. A predictable combination of the woeful exotic urges of both director Neame (Mister Moses) and screenwriter Robin Estridge (the dire Frankie Avalon vehicle Drums of Africa).

Excerpt from TimeOut FilmGuide located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 23rd, 1962

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:33:09 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: December 7th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

Olive Films is handling more Paramount releases of old adding Escape From Zahrain to their list which includes My Favorite Spy , Where Love Has Gone, Knock on Wood, Harlow. the threegreat Noir films - Appointment With Danger, William Dieterle's Dark City and Rudolph Mate's Union Station as well as the enjoyable Hammer-esque sci-fi Crack in the World from the mid 60`s. Even Hannie Caulder had some minor merit. I think that Escape From Zahrain is better than I was led to believe from some critics. Neame has definitely made better films than this but this wasn't a wasted viewing, IMO - solid cast too.  

Like previous Olive Film DVDs this is dual-layered, anamorphic, progressive and bare-bones. It looks quite good in the impressive 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio. The sandy terrain of the Mojave Desert - representing Saudi Arabia - shows some nice landscapes which is picked up well by the camera. There is no damage - in fact, it is very clean but colors seem a shade dullish. However, I don't have any strong complaints.  

The unremarkable 2.0 channel audio is, predictably, flat but - as usual - everything is consistent and dialogue clear. As stated there are no extras - not even a trailer - nor subtitles offered.

I've always liked Jack Warden and Brenner is stuck in another 'exotic' role befitting his appearance and physicality. Hey, I recall Madlyn Rhue from both Star Trek and The Fugitive TV series'. She's moderately 'hot' here although not always... likeable. While I don't think Escape From Zahrain is deserved of its low IMDb score - it may not be worth a whole lot more. While it has a great setting, acting and adept direction - its the writing that doesn't come together (Robin Estridge adapting Michael Barrett's story). So, I might not give a strong recommendation - it is still worthy of a spin for fans of the cast and the director. Just keep your expectations moderate.   

Gary W. Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC



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