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Plot:

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.

Also Known As: Arenas de muerte, A Lenda dos Desaparecidos, Afsane gomshedegan, De fortabtes by, Legenda celor pierduti, Timbuctù, Çöl melikesi, Die Stadt der Verlorenen West, Leyenda de los perdidos, Legenda izgubljenih, Легенда за изгубените, Verinen erämaa, De dochter v.d. woestijn, Az elveszettek legendája, Легенда о потерянном Soviet, Die Stadt der Verlorenen, Legend of Timbuktu, Legenda zaginionego miasta, Legenda rătăciţilor, Man from Timbuctoo, La cité disparue, Under Saharas sol, Stadt der Verlorenen, O dromos ton hamenon eraston, Legend of the Lost, A Cidade Perdida

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  • lene-jessen
    lene jessen

    This is a film in which the star is undoubtedly the cinematography by the late great Jack Cardiff.Shot on location in Libya,the camera wonderfully captures the beauty and bleakness of the vast Sahara vistas.As for the plot,it involves the Duke playing desert guide(!)Joe January – straight out of one of the John Ford westerns except that the backdrop is changed from Arizona to North Africa – hired by one Paul Bonnard(Rossano Brazzi) to go deep into the Sahara for an undisclosed reason.Loren is the local gypsy, Dita, who is so impressed with Monsieur Bonnard’s gentlemanly ways that she decides to tag along for the ride as well.The film,essentially a treasure hunt,should have been much more entertaining,but instead gets bogged down due to an interminable length,very little action and silly,superficial attempts at character development(note Brazzi’s confused psycho-babble towards the end and Loren’s absurd glutton-for-punishment type role) that are an obvious though vain attempt at adding substance to a wafer-thin story.Watch it if you must only for the breath-taking visuals.

  • jaylinn-rippey-tammerijn
    jaylinn rippey tammerijn

    John Wayne and director Henry Hathaway made seven films together, from 1941’s “Shepherd of the Hills” to the Duke’s Oscar-winning “True Grit”, in 1969, and “Legend of the Lost” may be the weakest of the films (“Circus World” runs a close second). While it is easy to lay the film’s failure on Hathaway, he was dependent of the material he had to work with, and Wayne’s production company, Batjac, obviously blew most of the budget on the stars, the location, getting world-class cinematographer Jack Cardiff, and hiring Hathaway, to direct.The script, by the legendary Ben Hecht, and rising screenwriter Robert Presnell Jr., offers some intriguing moments, but certainly needed far more ‘polishing’ (Wayne’s character, bitter, drunken guide Joe January, does an abrupt ‘about-face’ into a traditional Wayne hero, halfway into the film, about the time pious Rossano Brazzi loses his faith because of his father’s lies…). The plot line loses credibility during several key scenes (Wayne and Loren march out after Brazzi in the heat of a Sahara day, with only a bagful of water? Uh, had Wayne been working as a desert guide for long?) Brazzi’s whacked-out behavior and actions were so close to what had happened to his father that you’d think SOMEBODY might have seen what was coming, and taken precautions! As for Sophia Loren…she showed amazingly few physical effects from the blazing sun, or dehydration, and her character, a prostitute wanting to find a better life, displayed little growth (other than no longer using a frying pan on Wayne’s head), and was, in fact, just a variation of the ‘loose woman with a heart of gold’ she played frequently (particularly in American films). As for the film’s finale, with a dying Wayne and the miraculous appearance of a caravan, conveniently arriving in the nick of time…Clearly, a stronger rewrite was sorely needed! In a desert film, atmosphere is everything, and while Cardiff’s panoramic desert shots are superb (some of the finest ever filmed, prior to “Lawrence of Arabia”), the limited budget becomes painfully obvious in the small ‘indoor for outdoor’ sets used in key scenes. The special effects budget must have been nil, as well; the bat scene, as swarms pour out of a well, is painfully artificial-looking. The fistfights are silly, as Wayne and Brazzi are obviously missing each other, no matter how impressive a sound each ‘blow’ makes. As for exotic Timbuktu…instead of looking mysterious, or even POPULATED, the film presents a sleepy little village where the prostitutes and dancers far outnumber the patrons (and average citizens, for that matter), with only two ‘policemen’ to control things (one of which is Kurt Kasznar, a chubby, greedy little prefect who holds Wayne in near-indentured servitude, to collect on fines…uh, Duke controlled by HIM? Not likely!) In the midst of all the silliness, there was one surprisingly uncensored scene with a potent sexual energy; during a sandstorm, Wayne, Loren, and Brazzi are huddled under a sheet; the sand, pounding against it, causes Loren to cry out, writhing, in pain and fear, and Wayne climbs on top of her to take the brunt of the storm. Her facial expressions and moans, as she squirms beneath him, and he stares at her face, convey far more eroticism than any ‘love’ scene in “Legend of the Lost”, and is quite unconventional for any film from 1957 (especially a JOHN WAYNE one!) Could a more polished screenplay and a bigger budget saved this film? Who knows…but it would have made Henry Hathaway’s job a LOT easier!

  • gweonyeongja
    gweonyeongja

    Colorless title for a dishwater-dull adventure saga starring John Wayne, Sophia Loren, and Rossano Brazzi, three disparate characters crossing the Sahara desert in the same direction as Brazzi’s ill-fated father, who went missing ten years prior after finding a lost city stocked with rubies and emeralds. Wayne, playing a desert guide/troublemaker down on his luck in Timbuktu, drawls like he’s still back on the range, while Loren has little to do but tease the two men unconsciously; apparently she isn’t aware of her amply carnal charms–and though she’s playing a streetwise prostitute, whenever the two men get randy around her, she pulls away screaming, “No! Don’t touch me!” Brazzi has it the worst however, initially preaching enlightenment to Sophia in a brotherly way, later forcing himself upon her, but just as quickly turning on both his companions like a dirty dog. It’s a hopeless role, and indicative of the patchy, puzzling screenplay. This movie has enough peaks and valleys to redesign any desert, and the final crawl isn’t dramatic or gripping or emotional–just wasted time on the clock. ** from ****

  • ronald-moreno
    ronald moreno

    He may not be battling the entire Apache Nation, or winning World War II single handedly, but John Wayne has his hands full with co-star Sophia Loren in this desert adventure. Wayne’s character is Joe January, a guide hired by Paul Bonnard (Rosanno Brazzi) to help him locate his missing father and a lost treasure in the Sahara Desert. Loren’s character Dita is a reforming prostitute, who shanghais herself onto the expedition, and creates an unnerving romantic tussle between the two male leads, who manage to have two fist fights on her behalf before it’s all over.That said, the premise sounds more interesting than the actual presentation. The film moves along rather slowly, and offers little in the way of excitement or interest in support of the story. The one sit up and take notice scene occurs when January attempts to pull the plug on the expedition when their water runs down to an eight hour supply, and Dita obliges by dumping the canteens in support of Bonnard’s legend. Fortunately the lost city suddenly appears, and sets the stage for some intrigue as Bonnard slowly loses his mind after discovering the remains of his father’s party. Jealous of January’s interest in Dita, he leaves both stranded at the ruins, taking all the water, supplies and pack animals with him.Offsetting the pace of the story is the excellent cinematography of the Libyan Sahara, rich with vibrant color. You felt the searing heat and the wretchedness of being stranded without hope for survival, yet knowing things would always work out for hero and heroine. At least Wayne’s character had one true friend in the film, his donkey (mule?) Janet remained true blue to the end.This is not one of John Wayne’s more charismatic adventures, and among his lesser known starring roles. I’ll recommend it though for at least one offbeat scene – Wayne does a mean jackass impersonation!

  • birginia-meletia-papadopoulou
    birginia meletia papadopoulou

    I’ll just call your attention to a few things. First, what happened when Paul goes down to the nomad camp with his medical kit to save some dude’s life? You never find out. Suddenly it’s morning and off they go into the desert. Second, Paul runs out on Joe and Dita before they wake up in the morning, and steals the water and the donkey. But they catch up with him, on foot, with no water, on the burning sands! How? Joe is just that good a “desert man,” and Paul, though he has the water, a head start, and a pack animal, has gone crazy and indeed is on the verge of death. He was no desert man! Third, now they’re out in the middle of the desert alone, oh noes, what’ll they do? Forget it, a caravan happens by and saves them. Finally, the real ruins and the cinematography are truly impressive, and are the main reasons for seeing this film, except for Sophia Loren, of course.

  • tara-smith
    tara smith

    First of all it doesn’t really matter that the movie isn’t a western,try to understand that we don’t live on planet America and just because a western actor decides to appear in a non-western movie doesn’t mean that movie is bad or the actor’s performance is bad.Sure,it’s not the same J.W. formula we’ve seen in his habitual movies,however I think this is one of his best movies because I get to see other things for a change,usually westerns resume to guns,mexicans,indians and bandits.This movie is different,it goes deeper,it has a lot of psychology in it,it doesn’t have bandits,murderers or other western elements,it’s a different kind of dish.Besides the idea of adventure and finding a treasure there is really no link between this movie and T.S.M.T. as some believe,the idea of searching for a lost treasure is a cliché that has been used a zillion times before!If you want to see a good movie this is it!Don’t let the other negative posters change your mind because they don’t have a clue of what a good movie consists in,what can you expect from somebody who gives 10 stars to idiotic movies like L.O.T.R. ?

  • klod-p-arak-esikyan
    klod p arak esikyan

    Is just one of the many silly scenes contained in this fun and laid back adventure movie.John Wayne plays a drifter seeking a ‘lost city of gold’ in the middle of the desert. Sophia Loren plays one of the town whores and Rossano Brazzi is the adventurer seeking treasure based on the map left by his late father.The three team up together as a result of comical circumstances. Sophia falls in love with Rossano and follows him, who teams up with John Wayne as they go in search of the lost city of gold. This almost sounds like one of Bob Hope’s “Road To…” movies. It certainly has the same appeal.The best scene is seeing Sophia Loren swatting at tarantulas that appear out of nowhere in a cavern she decides to take a nap in. Both Rossano and Sophia do their best impressions of ‘insanity’ as they both get a shot at being dehydrated and wandering the sands of time. John Wayne as usual keeps his cool and acts as savior to both, but only one of the two will survive.Watching this movie wasn’t so bad. It was a break from seeing John Wayne battling it out with Indians and cowboys or shooting at soldiers in a war. Think of this as the laid-back version of “Indiana Jones” for the late 50’s.6/10

  • janice-bond
    janice bond

    A previous reviewer may be correct in identifying Lepcis Magna in promotional shots of Sophia Loren, but that Roman city was not used as a location in this movie. The ancient city is clearly Timgad and is referred to as such by John Wayne’s character.The use of Timgad as a location is perhaps the most interesting aspect of this movie, notwithstanding the allure of Miss Loren. I thought so, anyway, when I first saw it on TV as a kid.I did not occur to me then, but, for a ‘lost city’ Timgad appears remarkably well maintained in this movie. The adventurers come across an archaeological site which clearly has had its streets swept regularly and various monuments reconstructed. Only the gift shop is missing.That the characters strike out from Timbuktu and arrive in northern Libya means they have traversed almost the entire breadth of the Sahara -surely an impossible feat, even for the indomitable Mr Wayne. His character is rueful when he name-checks the place, as well he might be, since a bus ride from Algiers would probably have sufficed!That he knows the name of the ancient Roman city was perhaps a favour to the Libyan tourist board.

  • jadranka-hodzic
    jadranka hodzic

    I must have seen this one before because there were a couple scenes that seemed familiar. But going into it I would have sworn it was new to me.This rare gem is not one that usually comes to mind when one thinks of John Wayne movies and it’s unfortunate because it’s a good one.There were parts, to be sure, that just didn’t work. For example, there’s just no way I’m going to buy any red blooded man being such an asshole to the likes of Sofia Loren, as Joe January was throughout most of the film.Also, Paul Bonnard’s character arc was just too quick and sudden. But over all I enjoyed the film. Fans of either John Wayne or Sofia Loren will probably like it also.I do think it was pointless to shoot on location in Lybia, of all places, since all the exterior shots could just as effectively been done in the deserts of the South West, like Glamis, or Death Valley.

  • matthew-huynh
    matthew huynh

    Considering that for most of this film there are only three characters on screen and two of them are very badly played by John Wayne and Rossano Brazzi, (the third is a sultry looking Sophia Loren and she’s very good in an underwritten role), Henry Hathaway’s “Legend of the Lost” is a surprisingly entertaining piece of nonsense, complete with lost treasure and some gorgeously photographed desert locations courtesy of Jack Cardiff. There isn’t much else yet Hathaway manages to keep us watching, maybe with a promise that something is going to happen even if in the end, it hardly ever does. It’s success probably had a lot to do with the Westener’s love of deserts and exotic locations, (maybe there’s a touch of the T. E. Lawrence in all of us). It’s hardly the best of Hathaway but there’s no denying it’s very enjoyable.

  • ian-lewis
    ian lewis

    SPOILERS It will not appeal to Spielberg’s fans:in a nutshell it’s an adult adventure movie,which rather recalls John Huston and even Von Stroheim’s “greed”.Three years before,Hathaway had made “garden of evil” a western which dealt with almost the same subject;in spite of the general opinion,I think that “legend of the lost” surpasses the former work.The audience must be disturbed by the slow pace and by the fact that there are only three characters .Like in “garden of evil” ,danger does not come from the outside ,it’s already here ,in man’s heart.And what’s really puzzling is the psychological evolution of these characters:Paul is the most interesting;it’s very unusual that the “good ” hero,with whom we side during the first half of the movie,should turn into the “villain”.Hathaway makes a wonderful use of the location ,as he did some years before with his masterpiece “Niagara” :he works wonders with the infinite desert and its mirages and the old lost Roman city.The part in these ruins climaxes the movie:as Dita says ,there are ghosts in this place ,and some ghost do not come from a remote time.The discovery by the raiders of the three skeletons is a good example of “the plot repeats itself” ,a trick that many directors have tackled (see for instance Branagh’s “dead again” ,1991):Joe ‘s sinister “archeology” -trying to piece together the drama which happened some twenty years before- will trigger Paul’s lunacy:little by little,he who was a virtuous man will become more and more threatening.He who was raised on Bible ,will adorn Dita with jewels,like a pagan idol.I say it again,Spielberg’s aficionados won’t be satisfied:action takes a back seat to psychology and to the splendor of the settings.But it will reward people who like offbeat works.Too bad Hathaway should have ruled out any ambiguity of his ending;had he allowed some doubt,we would have had a Dino Buzzati (Il deserto dei tartari) style conclusion.

  • olivier-du-verdier
    olivier du verdier

    Duke is wastrel Joe January, ensconced in the jail of a desert outpost. Sophia Loren is Dita, a “dance hall girl.” Enter the gentlemanly Rossano Brazzi, who springs Duke and hires him as a guide to a destination in the far desert, and who converts Loren from her thieving ways into a good Christian. Brazzi is in suit and tie, pith helmet, and fancy leggings. He tells the roughly clad Duke that he’s never been to the desert but has “read about it.” He speaks with a foreign accent — he’s supposed to be French, the accent is Italian, but to Hollywood he was just a “continental,” rather like the menu of a restaurant specializing in continental food. He speaks of finding a treasure with which he will build “a refuge for the needy.” Here is the first exchange between him and Loren, who has just stolen something from him.”Why did you steal it?” “Because I wanted it.” “If you wanted it, why didn’t you just ask for it?” (He gives the item back to her.) It’s only a few minutes into the picture and already we know that Brazzi is a sissy, that he will not get the babe, and that he will run up against the Duke’s solid bulk sooner or later.Duke sums him up very well, in his peerless Dukese phraseology. “I’ve met these do-gooders before. Mostly they want to do good for themselves.”Actually, the film’s plot is a torpid mixture of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” in which one of the trio goes paranoid, “Rain,” in which the Reverend Davidson converts a whore and then floods out and attacks her, and “The African Queen,” in which a mismatched couple travel alone through dangerous territory and come to love each other just as they think they’re about to yield to the fathomless, cool, enwinding arms of death.The photography by Jack Cardiff is splendid. This is no “Lawrence of Arabia” but it makes good use of the Libyan desert and its vast, majestic expanses.In many ways it’s the best thing about the movie. Certainly the role of the anti-feminist, hard drinking, plain spoken, practical, but not unperceptive man of the earth gave the Duke no trouble. He could have wired in his part by Western Union. He even wears that cavalry hat with the brim turned up in front, left over from previous movies. Sophia Loren is cute when she’s mad. She’s cute when she’s NOT mad. But she’s only in it because movies like this must have a beautiful woman for the men to come to blows over. And this IS one of those echt-Hollywood movies where the low-life Gypsy hookers have hair by Mister Kenneth, make up by Max Factor, and choreography by Agnes DeMille. A couple of the Arab gypsy girls are blond and blue-eyed but does it matter? Well, it matters not at all, any more than Loren’s Italian accent matters.Loren to Brazzi: “Yew could leave the drims yewr fodder drimt.” The film’s most impressive feature: Some great photography of a Roman city in ruins in the middle of nowhere. The kind of place you want to settle down in and call home. It’s here we learn that the Duke can read Latin. That’s about the only thing that’s liable to surprise you.

  • eutukhia-manto-buzienou
    eutukhia manto buzienou

    So much potential with big name stars. The Saraha may prove to be the bigger star this time. Joe January(John Wayne), two-fisted, hard-drinking and hard-living, is hired by Paul Bonnard(Rossano Brazi)to lead an expedition in the wasteland of the North African desert. The object is to find Bonnard’s father or his grave, as well as a much rumored treasure. Making things real interesting is Dita(Sophia Loren), a local whore, who happens to be in love with Bonnard and follows him into the desert. LEGEND of the LOST is more curious than anything and beautifully photographed. Both men end up in battle for the rights to the gorgeous Dita…as well as their own survival. The Sahara proves to be a harsh mistress. This film is directed by Henry Hathaway and also stars Kurt Kasznar, Sonia Moser and Ibrahim El Hadish.

  • christopher-lucero
    christopher lucero

    Scallywag desert veteran Joe January is bailed out of prison to act as a guide for Paul Bonnard. Bonnard is in Timbuktu to search for treasure in the Sahara, something his now missing father set off to do some time before. Along for the journey is Dita, a low moral woman who caught Bonnard’s good will during a set-too in the town earlier. So January sets off with his suspicions on full alert, women and treasure!, has to be a recipe for trouble…surely?I can’t dress it up, Legend Of The Lost is just about watchable for a few comic moments and it’s decent enough production values. John Wayne {Jones}, Sophia Loren {Dita} and Rossano Brazzi {Bonnard} star in what on paper looked to be a real good thing. Three actors who can arguably lay claim to having a volume of fans to rival those of the Hollywood heavy weights past and present. Yet it doesn’t quite come together, it lacks an adventure spark that the story clearly hints should be there. It’s not helped by Brazzi and his inability to act, he is someone who continues to baffle me in how he managed to get mainstream cash work in the first place. Loren as usual, pouts and teases the men on screen and the boys in the audience, but do we care? Actually no. During her moments of peril, one can’t help hoping that Duke Wayne will shoot her to ease all the suffering of the viewers.Ah, bless The Duke, for he be the one bright acting spot in the picture. In fine physical shape and clearly knowing that tongue in cheek is the best way to play this one, Duke enjoys himself and hopefully his fans can get a modicum of enjoyment from this badly casted piece. The location work in Libya is real nice {Jack Cardiff once again delivering fine photography}, with the desert sequences enhanced by the always pleasant Technicolor. But don’t be kidded that this is a character study worth venturing into, for if it didn’t have the star names attached to it, they would have burned the negative long before release. 3.5/10

  • klavdiia-andriievich
    klavdiia andriievich

    Timbuktu is the background of this mostly entertaining tale about three characters , an adventurer scout named Joe January (John Wayne) , an archaeologist (Rossano Brazzi) and a gorgeous girl (Sophia Loren ) in search for a lost city in the desert called Ophir and a fabulous treasure hidden.John Wayne leaves his Stetson and horse for a camel in this exotic adventure set in Sahara desert plenty of Tuaregs , sandstorms , mirages and amazing dangers . This exciting picture is packed with adventures, action , thrills , a loving triangle and is quite amusing . Interesting screenplay by Ben Hetch , Billy Wilder’s usual writer. Breathtaking cinematography with luminous and bright colors by Jack Cardiff . Atmospheric and evocative musical score by the Italian Angelo Francesco Lavagnino . The motion picture is professionally directed by Henry Hathaway. He had a reputation as being difficult on stars, but some actors such as Cary Cooper , Marilyn Monroe -Niagara- and especially John Wayne , The Duke , benefited under his direction . Big John played for Hathaway various films as ¨The sons of Katie Elder (65), ¨Circus World (64) ¨ certainly not one of his memorable movies , ¨How the west was won (62) ¨, ¨ North to Alaska (60)¨ , but his greatest hit smash was ¨True grit (69)¨ in which Wayne won his only Academy Award . Although Hathaway was a highly successful and reliable director film-making within the Hollywood studio system , his work has received little consideration from reviewers . Rating : Acceptable and passable , well worth watching . The film will appeal to adventure buffs and John Wayne and Sophia Loren fans .

  • micheal-hayden
    micheal hayden

    Yet Wayne, Loren, Brazzi all together and at the top of their form and status as stars!And not just Wayne, Loren and Brazzi but a script by Hecht and Presnell and cinematography by Cardiff. Should have been a blockbuster.Instead a studio-like programmer focused on a Saharan adventure and getting everything wrong. For example, making Timbuktu a part of French Morocco, complete with belly-dancers and corrupt Prefect. And a hackneyed plot, recycled from everything from She to King Salomon’s Mines. Apart from Wayne, Loren, Hecht and Cardiff, this movie has absolutely nothing going for it.Except for Wayne, Loren, Hecht and Cardiff.As ridiculous as it is, Legend of the Lost is very much a vehicle highlighting all of the principles at their best. Wayne as Joe January (are you serious?) pulls off Hecht’s tongue-in-check dialogue effortlessly as well as his character’s jovial lechery, with Loren doing the same as a sexy-as-hell bad girl, flashing a lot of leg and coming just short of repeating her Boy on a Dolphin wardrobe malfunction. All the while projecting a serious intelligence as well as sex. Even Brazzi makes his character dramatically believable. Add to all of that the energetic extras and you’ve got the makings of a great Graphic Comic.Which, I think, is the standard Legend of the Lost should be judged by. Especially when you add Cardiff’s cinematography, which even many of the negative reviews praise. The visuals, editing and production values are outstanding.Before its time or, more likely, a happy accident, Legend of the Lost seems to have suffered more from audience expectation than its success at doing exactly what it set out to do. I don’t think it was ever meant to be anything except a fun romp through a territory already well trod and familiar, as such, to its audience. What we would call today a ‘Little’ movie.And that’s where, I believe, all of the negative reviews come from. When you’ve got Superstars as principles, especially in the 50’s, you’re going to expect The Ten Commandments or Gone with the Wind, not Harold and Maude. Reacting according.So, in my opinion, Legend of the Lost is a small gem worthy of serious reconsideration. Suspend your disbelief, dump the Big Stars expectations and just watch the visuals (the score’s pretty good too) and you might be rewarded.A final note: the movie begins with the Prefect marching down a street followed by his entourage, each element of which is separated, given 2-3 seconds to drive home the point, as the Prefect inspects his territory (which includes its own little intriguing snippets) and finally meets up with the Important Foreigner (Brazzi). As a tone setter, I thought it was brilliant.Correction and blame the lame Web algorithms: I tried French Timbuktu and French Mali, coming up goose eggs on both. Turns out the French mistook Mali for the Sudan (not a big surprise) soooo …. The French were in charge of Mali, Timbuktu and a lot of other West African territories in 1957. Even so, Timbuktu still never looked like Morocco, French or no French.

  • roberto-castillo
    roberto castillo

    This film is invaluable for its exquisite production values. It should not be missed for ’50s costuming and make-up conventions, however improbable for a desert expedition. In addition, the no-show direction left all three principals to their own devices; and their natural strengths and weaknesses as performers are exposed. John Wayne fares best here, as he has never been more charismatic…or done more with less of a script. Brazzi fares worst, being unconvincing as a rival to John Wayne and as a romantic match for Sophia Loren. Pay close attention to the fist fight among the three adventurers. You will see each punch miss by at least a foot and a half.

  • zakharenia-samtanidou
    zakharenia samtanidou

    It is a good combination to have strong John Wayne together with attractive Sophia Loren in a film, which was complemented with the acting of the Italian Rossano Brazzi. The film in fact is just an invention, everything starts in Timbuctu, an area populated by Touaregs and today part of Mali in West Africa, which at the time of the film plot was under the French domination. Here you have an American (Wayne)trying to celebrate 4th July there, then a white prostitute (Loren) and a French “Lord” (Brazzi). Wonder how a white prostitute and an American were able to reach that far area as Timbuctu. At present a plane flies daily from Bamako to Timbuctu, and to go by road is not advisable. Another fiction is to find a river in the Sahara. In any case, the best is to forget the origin of the subjects and its fictions in the film and to follow the plot, which is of value. Love may be developed after continuous talks between people, poor and non educated ones may like to be rich, but in several cases their sense of solidarity prevails over the ambitions, and this is what we find in the film, a good example of cruel egoism and also human solidarity. The best is that the egoist does not win finally.

  • grishin-leontii-isidorovich
    grishin leontii isidorovich

    I’m surprised that others have referred to the script, by Ben Hecht, as being good. Ben was having an off day when he wrote this one. The adventurers run into a hostile group of Bedouins, who have a medical problem with one of their number. Rossano heads into their camp with his medical kit, and we’re expecting to see him pull a chicken bone out of the guy’s throat and save his life. But no! All of a sudden it’s morning and the three adventurers go on their way. But the one I love is when they’re in the ancient lost city of Timgad, and Rossano steals the water, the donkey, and the supplies and sneaks off into the night, while the Duke is sleeping off his nightly booze-out. So in the morning, Sophia and the Duke follow him on foot, with no water. And you would never in a million years guess what happens next! They catch up with him! By this time, without Joe January’s desert know-how, Rossano is staggering around aimlessly. Then, a friendly caravan happens along and saves them. And then, movie’s over!It’s a gorgeous movie, especially with Sophia to look at, and the photography is terrific. But you know right away when the main character has a phony name like “Joe January,” they were running out of ideas. The cast does the best they can. Worth watching once for John Wayne completists, and I’m one.

  • christelle-fouquet
    christelle fouquet

    This is a really underrated movie and i stayed away from it for so long because of all the bad reviews i’ve seen of it, like Leonard Maltin giving it only two stars. This was directed by Henry Hathaway and this was the first time John Wayne and Hathaway worked together and they would go on to make four more movies, including True Grit. The movie starts out with Rossano Brazzi looking for a guide to take him through the Sahara desert to find a lost city. Brazzi hires Wayne as his guide and Sophia Loren is a women who tags along, against Wayne’s wishes. Wayne finds out Brazzi is looking for a lost city full of gold and thinks he is crazy and wants to turn back. It’s a underrated movie and one of Wayne’s better films.

  • tracy-lee
    tracy lee

    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.

  • jennifer-daniels
    jennifer daniels

    Henry Hathaway had something in his hands few director’s would ever dream of having. A winning combination, to include the screen strength of John Wayne (Joe January) the sexual allure of beautiful Italian goddess, Sophia Loren (Dita) and dashing leading man, Rossano Brazzi (Paul Bonnard,) all in the same film. The Legend of the lost is one of those particular film which should have become a superb adventure/drama, which in turn should have evolved into a classic. But like a Formula One Car which should win the international Gran Prix, unfortunately run short of fuel. The story is that of three people all searching for something which it seems lies beyond them. January seeks enough money to break free of the monotonous cycle of drunken nights in jails, Dita hoping to find someone who appreciates her for herself and not just one night stands and Bonnard, hoping to find a desert treasure left to him by his father. All three struggle against themselves and their weaknesses and then at the temptations which cause them to remember why they failed the first time. Against them is the limitless Shahara which is unforgiving and more than a challenge to lesser adventurers. Expected steamy scenes between the story characters in the novel are abandoned and disappointed viewers are resigned to the “Romance-Lite” they are given. A good film if you don’t expect too much from such international greats. ***

  • milosz-naczk
    milosz naczk

    Wayne is a desert guide in Timbuktu and anxious to get out of town for good. Loren is a local lady of questionable morality. Brazzi is a pious visitor seeking a guide to lead him into the deep reaches of the Sahara; he’s searching for a lost treasure, the location of which was disclosed to him in a letter from his beloved, saintly father who, he believes, probably died at the site. Brazzi wants the treasure to help the poor and sick, i.e., to carry on the work of his father. Early on, Wayne makes it clear he has no respect for Loren and she returns the feeling, but Brazzi treats her in a kindly way and tries to save her soul. Wayne regards Brazzi as a hollow do-gooder. A very long trek through the Sahara eventually leads them to the treasure site which turns out to be a Roman settlement. There they find the treasure but they also find the body of Brazzi’s father entwined with the remains of a woman, a lower-class (or worse) woman judging by the cheap jewelry that remains on the body. Brazzi’s father had been stabbed in the back. There’s also a love letter in the woman’s effects that makes it clear Brazzi’s father and she were having an affair. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, Brazzi’s image of his father (and, derivatively, of himself) collapses and he loses his mind. His father is transformed from saint to sinner and everything about him is revealed as a lie. He no longer wants to save Loren’s soul, now he wants her body and he’s willing to bribe her with the vast wealth he’s discovered. But she wants to stay saved — she rejects Brazzi’s advances. Brazzi decides Loren’s really in love with Wayne so he tries to shoot him. In the ensuing confusion, Brazzi steals off with the pack animals, the jewels and the water. Wayne and Loren set off on foot and catch up eventually. I reiterate the plot at some length to clarify two issues raised by other reviewers. First, Brazzi’s mental breakdown is dissimilar from that of Fred C. Dobbs in Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Dobbs was motivated by greed and it was his essential paranoia that ultimately worked its way to the surface. Brazzi’s character broke down because the core of his personality, i.e., the self-image of the faithful son longing to live the life of his beloved father, disintegrated when he learned the truth of his father’s affair. Second, Brazzi and Wayne are not rivals for Loren’s love. For most of the movie, Brazzi is protecting Loren from Wayne’s ill treatment because he respects her soul; he isn’t in love with her. When, later, Brazzi lusts for Loren, he’s out of his mind and Loren knows it (she says he’s drunk). Legends of the Lost turns out to be a really interesting character study with a fairly clever storyline, good acting by all, and, as many have noted, some gorgeous Technicolor photography. One strange note — the music sounds like a 50s sci-fi or “chiller theater” score. It’s not bad but, at least to me, it sounds out of place.

  • mercedes-estela-aviles
    mercedes estela aviles

    I first saw this film on television as a kid in the 1960s and loved it. I have seen it many times since, and am now blessed to watch it on DVD in wide screen on an LCD display, and I continue to enjoy it. Okay, it has some corny lines, and Sophia is just too beautiful… but more than that, this film tells a wonderful story of broken promises, hidden agendas, and betrayal from others we believed were above reproach… and there is some terrific character development in the dialog, I feel I know these people. For me, it is one of the most atmospheric films I have come to know. I feel the hot Sahara sun in that Lybian desert, the wind blowing sand in my face, the coolness of the water in the oasis, and the quiet beauty of a desert twilight. This film is haunting to me… and it is one of my very favorites.

  • michele-wright
    michele wright

    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.”