Adventure and Amusement
As many in the Middle East welcome the arrival of the West to their area, Moroccan Chief Mulay Hamid El Raisuli (Sean Connery) is less happy and kidnaps Eden Pedecaris (Candice Bergen) and her children, William (Simon Harrison) and Jennifer (Polly Gottesman). Considering Raisuli an over confident butcher of men Eden eventually comes to warm to the chivalrous Arab. Meanwhile American president Teddy Roosevelt (Brian Keith) looking to be elected to his first full term plans to use Eden's kidnap to bolster his election campaign either by agreeing for her release or by a show of force by sending in the army to deal with Raisuli.
In my book casting Sean Connery as a Moroccan Chief is curious because you can't hide Connery's distinct accent and in truth why would you as Connery sounding anything but himself would be wrong. But in a strange way the strange casting of Connery fits what to me ends up a strange movie, I am on about "The Wind and the Lion" whose tone shifts around to the point I sort of like it but sort of don't.
My trouble with "The Wind and the Lion" is that it ends up all over the place so after an impressive scene where we watch Raisuli's insurrectionists storming the home of Eden and kidnapping her we then get a scene where Raisuli trying to look mighty mounts a horse and ends up falling off in a scene right out of a spoof movie. It is amusing but the contrast between what seems like it is trying to be an epic adventure movie and the comedy is huge and I am not entirely surely whether what at times comes across as an epic spoof movie works. Scenes of men playing polo on bicycles and then the ridiculousness of men forming a seat for a Prince, with cushions strapped to their backs ready for his comfort seems ridiculous.
It is not just the scenes in the desert which have this strange blend of drama and comedy as the scenes in America surrounding Teddy Roosevelt and his aims for election and his general live life to the full attitude is at times comical. Throw in some historical references and inaccuracies and it is as I keep on saying a strange blur of drama and humour.
Despite this "The Wind and the Lion" is entertaining and whilst there is some beautiful cinematography and being a John Milius movie some impressive action it is the larger than life performances which entertain. From Brian Keith through to Geoffrey Lewis all the performances are intentionally larger than life and grab your attention every time they burst in to life. There is of course Sean Connery as a Moroccan chief and he seems to be having fun almost sending himself up at times with his flawed chivalry.
What this all boils down to is that "The Wind and the Lion" is certainly entertaining with a collection of wonderful performances. Whether it was made to be so amusing I am not sure but it certainly puts a smile on your face with scenes which would be at home in a spoof.