Legend of the Lost (1957)

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    There are 110 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by lasbugas.

    • Legend of the Lost (1957)



      Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


      Plot Summary
      Paul Bonnard arrives in Timbuktu in search of a guide to escort him into the Sahara desert. American Joe January takes the job despite misgivings about Bonnard's plans. Dita, a prostitute who has been deeply moved by what appears to be Bonnard's spiritual nature, follows the two men into the desert. Eventually the trio arrives in the ruins of a lost city, where Bonnard hopes to find the treasure his father sought years earlier before disappearing. But what Bonnard finds alters him in unexpected ways, with tragic results.
      Written by Jim Beaver

      Full Cast
      John Wayne .... Joe January
      Sophia Loren .... Dita
      Rossano Brazzi .... Paul Bonnard
      Kurt Kasznar .... Prefect Dukas
      Sonia Moser .... Girl
      Angela Portaluri .... Girl
      Ibrahim El Hadish .... Galli Galli
      Marsha Hunt .... (uncredited)

      Writing Credits
      Ben Hecht
      Robert Presnell Jr.

      Original Music
      Angelo Francesco Lavagnino

      Jack Cardiff

      Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
      Terry Wilson .... stunts (uncredited)

      The Spanish title for this film was "Arenas de Muerte", which literally translates to "Sands of Death". The Spanish poster only features a closeup of the face of Sophia Loren and her name comes above John Wayne's. She was a much bigger star in Spain than Wayne was in 1957.

      John Wayne broke his leg during filming.

      The part of Bonnard was first offered to James Mason.

      # Revealing mistakes: When Wayne and Loren are wandering across the wasteland of sand, there are clearly footprints where there shouldn't be.

      # Factual errors: Twice Joe January refers to Solomon and Bathsheba. It should have been Solomon and Sheba. Bathsheba was David's interest.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Cinecittà, Rome, Lazio, Italy
      Zliten and Gadames,a village,
      in an isolated oasis, 400 miles, from Tripoli,
      but near to the ruins of Leptis Magna.

      Watch the Trailer:-

      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 8 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Legend of the Lost is a 1957 Italian-American adventure film directed by Henry Hathaway,
      and starring John Wayne, Sophia Loren, and Rossano Brazzi.
      The location shooting for the film took place near Tripoli, Libya.

      Now here's a mess of a film, if ever there was one!!
      Not Duke's worse, but down there with the bad ones!
      From the very beginning, the script was wrong, and no one could change it, for the better.
      Location work in the desert, proved problematic for everyone.
      The interaction between the co-stars, didn't work, mainly
      because, the difference in accents, tended to stilt the flow of dialogue.
      Duke was OK, but did seem oddly our of place.
      Sophie Loren, who was supposed to add, box office return, sex appeal,

      According to Hathaway,

      She was a one-dimensional actress.It's just the beauty.She has no depth.Never did, never will have.

      Well there was very little chemistry, between them and although she liked Duke,
      he disliked, her, mainly because of his moralistic issue, of her having an affair,
      with a married man, namely her co-star, Rossano Brazzi.

      Loren said of Duke,

      Big, authoritative, gruff, but polite, and a pro, through and through.....

      The production was a fiasco, right up to the final crowd scenes.
      Rentals made a small profit for Batjac, but not anywhere near what it expected.
      Duke was in a tight corner with the studios, who were hoping his star
      was not fading.

      Added to the failure of The Wings of Eagles, and now Legend of the Lost
      and the untimely release of the savaged Jet Pilot, Duke was badly in need of a hit!!

      Duke's error in thinking that they had made a good picture, proved a disaster and lost money.
      No one could overcome the weakness of a contrived script,
      that tried to combine sex, sand and sway, but ended up a lethargic treasure hunt!
      It would probably be easier walking across the Sahara Desert, than watching this film

      User Review
      Rain In The Desert
      1 March 2007 | by bkoganbing (Buffalo, New York)

      Legend of the Lost paired John Wayne and Sophia Loren for their one and only teaming on the silver screen. Too bad it wasn't in a much better film than this barely disguised rip off of Rain.

      The setting for this film is French West Africa as it was then known in 1957 before it became several new African countries in a few years. The Duke is Joe January, a freebooting American expatriate who hires out as a guide on the desert.

      Rossano Brazzi wants to hire Wayne as a guide to take him to a fabled lost city that he swears his father found out in the middle of the Sahara. The father disappeared on a return trip and Brazzi is also looking to find out what happened to him.

      In Timbucktu both of them encounter Sophia Loren who's a working girl. She's got the both men going, but it's Brazzi she really loves. Brazzi's a spiritual sort of fellow, talking about doing some good for the native population. When they go out in the desert, she trails after them.

      They find the ruins of what was an old Roman city, bet you didn't know the Romans got that far south. Brazzi also learns what happened to his father with a letter found on his remains and two other human remains and some forensic conclusions. For the rest of the story if you've seen any adaption of Somerset Maugham's Rain you know what's going to happen.

      I have to say that on the plus side Jack Cardiff's color cinematography of the Libyan desert because that's where the film was shot is breathtakingly beautiful. The rest of it is kind of silly. Forgetting the fact that Sophia with two men on the desert is going to lead to obvious complications, I cannot believe that Wayne was taking booze on the trip. In his role here and in real life Wayne was a prodigious drinker. But alcohol except some small amount for medicinal emergencies is an outright hazard on the desert. The sun will dehydrate you that much quicker if you keep drinking alcohol as well as water. Not to mention traveling by day instead of by night.

      My conclusion is that since this was a Batjac production, John Wayne wanted to do something that could be classified as arty. Since he had already done well in The Long Voyage Home, I'm not sure what he felt he had to prove.

      I do wonder what Somerset Maugham must have thought when he saw this film though.
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Originally posted by ethanedwards@Feb 11 2006, 02:20 AM
      Duke's error in thinking that they had made a good picture, proved a disaster and lost money.  No one could overcome the weakness of a contrived script, that tried to combine sex, sand and sway, but ended up a lethargic treasure hunt!
      It would probably be easier walking across the Sahara Desert, than watching this film
      RATING 2/10

      I don't know . . . I kind of enjoyed this movie. Maybe there is an error in my thinking, too :rolleyes:. In the eyes of one observer, it was kind of like a "laid-back Indiana Jones adventure."

      According to Fred Landesman's book, the studio came out ahead by $500K, which in 1957 was an appreciable amount of money.

      And I can't speak for anybody but myself, but watching Sophia Loren would be MUCH easier than walking across the Sahara Desert :jump: :jump: . . . :lol:.

      Chester :newyear:
    • Alright, I'm testing the waters here. Now I am pretty sure everyone knows I am a Duke fan in most matters, but boy did I buy one stinker of a movie. I never even knew Legend of the Lost existed, so you can imagine that when I saw the title, I just had to buy it. The first Duke movie I have never finished. I can't even complete it. I feel bad and think I should give it another shot, but I think that this might be one turkey that Duke delivered. Give me some feedback. Be kind. Thanks.
    • Hey Bo,

      It's really not a bad movie...in the sense of say a 'Lady For A Night' or 'Reunion In France' bad. But it does turn from being a fun to watch film, to somewhat bizarre when Paul all of a sudden loses his marbles in the desert. To have him going from being such a gentleman to a raving looney within about 5 minutes screen time was a bit of a stretch. Out of 5 stars, I give it two and a half, just because the Duke is so darn enjoyable to watch during the first two thirds of the film.
    • Hi Bopoppa

      Like falco4 says Legend of the Lost isn't that dreadful a film. True it is not one of his memorable ones like Stagecoach The man Who Shot liberty Valance or red River, but many films couldn't be.

      On the plus side you have Sophia Loren, who is worth paying the price to see alone, and don't forget at her age she has just been voted one of the most attractive women in the World. There are also stories to store such as director Jack Cardiff falling head over heels in love with Loren and taking into the desert every day for long walks and romantic lunches, notwithstanding the fact that he was married and was almost twice her age.

      The story loses credibility towards the end but has its twists and turns. it should also be remembered that the film was made in the mid 50s at possibly the only time in his career when he began to doubt his abilty, with the Sea Chase, The Conqueror, Jet Pilot I Married a Woman, The Barbarian and the Geisha a list of films that flopped at the box office. Even hits like Hondo and of course The Searchers only partially offered him any solace. So The Legend of the Lost in the middle of that list shows why it is considered to be not that good a film.

      However the worth of the man is in the total of his work, I should think that many fine actors in hindsight had films that they wished they had turned down, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.


      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Originally posted by arthurarnell@Aug 29 2006, 12:27 PM
      On the plus side you have Sophia Loren, who is worth paying the price to see alone, and don't forget at her age she has just been voted one of the most attractive women in the World.

      Amen, brother Arthur. Aaaah, those eyes. Make me wanna melt. :D

      BTW, I read somewhere on the 'net recently that Sophia was gonna pose in the nude. Forget why but just the mere thought raises goose bumps. :lol:
      De gustibus non est disputandum
    • Originally posted by Stumpy@Aug 29 2006, 02:24 PM
      I read somewhere on the 'net recently that Sophia was gonna pose in the nude. Forget why but just the mere thought raises goose bumps.  :lol:

      This must have been the why.
      De gustibus non est disputandum
    • Originally posted by Jay J. Foraker@Aug 29 2006, 02:52 PM
      SOPHIA!! SOPHIA!! Va Va Voom as they use to say (or do they still say it!).
      Cheers - Jay :D

      You got that right, Jay. She's 71 years old and puts those new Hollywood actresses to shame.
      De gustibus non est disputandum
    • To return to the thread's theme - there are some JW films I've never seen and "Legend" is one of 'em. I think the reason was that it got lousy reviews when it was released and I just decided to skip it. Another is "The Conquerer".
      And I think I only saw "Jet Pilot" once, despite the fact that both leads were two of my favorite players.
      De gustibus non est disputandum
    • Hello All
      I have only one Marquee style poster ( cardboard ) and it is of this film. If you ever see it you will know why I bought it. Like a few JW films I had to watch it several times before buying it. It has sat in it's plastic wrap for years ever since. I am saving it for a special occasion. For me, JW films have become a topic of interest and as Arthur said The whole diamond has many karats.
      Greetings from North of the 49th
    • Legend of the Lost is a film that could have been pretty good, but was destroyed because of the lack of chemistry between the leads, John Wayne and Sophia Loren. They don't relate or react to each other at all, and every "intimate" scene between them seems forced.

      On the bright side, you have cinematographer Jack Cardiff's gorgeous on-location Technirama cinematography. The deserts of Libya never looked so good. And the script by Ben Hecht was actually quite good.

      But Legend of the Lost is a member of an entire genre (or sub-genre) of films that might best be called "Two-person Films." That is, the entire film centers on two or three characters that are somehow isolated from society and exist on their own in some desolate or deserted place. John Huston was a master of this genre, and his films The African Queen and Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison may very well be the best examples of the genre. Unfortunately for Legend of the Lost, this type of film mandates that there be great chemistry between the leads, or the whole film breaks down. Look at the great chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn in The African Queen and the great chemistry between Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. This is where Legend of the Lost begins to come apart. Wayne was an actor who was legendary for his ability to relate to his leading ladies on screen. Throughout his six decade long career, he played opposite a wide variety of actresses (from Jean Arthur to Marlene Dietrich to Lauren Bacall to Katharine Hepburn) and was able to light up the screen with just about all of them. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the chemistry between him and Loren just wasn't there. In hindsight, of course, its easy enough to clamor for Maureen O'Hara (who had done similar roles in the many "Arabian Knights" type adventure films she had spent most of the 40's doing), but I do give Wayne credit for taking a chance on the then almost unknown Loren. Unfortunately, things just didn't work out.

      Veteran director Henry Hathaway directed Legend of the Lost, and after its failure placed most of the blame on Loren, saying something to the effect that she was gorgeous to look at, but wasn't a very good actress. Although he might have had a point, Hathaway was also likely trying to deflect blame away from himself for the failure. The fact remains that he failed to overcome the casting problems that beset the film. And this is why Hathaway is remembered as a good, but not great director (and I say this as Hathaway's biggest fan). The great directors have the ability to elevate a film above script and casting problems, and Hathaway failed to do that here. Of course, Hathaway would say that given the material and genre it would have been very hard, if not impossible to do that here. And he may very well be right. In hindsight it might have been better to get John Huston himself to direct the film, though considering Wayne and Huston's equally disastrous joint project The Barbarian and the Geisha was still waiting in the future, perhaps its better Huston wasn't involved here.

      I've always felt that Legend of the Lost was Batjac's attempt at a "prestige picture." I think that Wayne was trying to impress the critics by producing an "artsy" film that would appeal to them, and when it failed, he went back to the familiar places and faces that he had found success with earlier in his career. It was probably a very wise decision on his part.

      Legend of the Lost is not for everyone. With different casting the film could have become a classic. As it is, it survives best as a remembrance of "what might have been."

      "I am not intoxicated - yet." McLintock!

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