DATELINE: Treasure of the Libyan Desert
It’s been lost for years.
Now John Wayne’s classic treasure hunt movie, Legend of the Lost, has returned to DVD, available to Lost fans.
Written by Ben Hecht and directed in manly form by Henry Hathaway, this is the sort of boys’ adventure that was meant to put H.Rider Haggard to shame. And, it does a good job of it.
Wayne might as well be fighting Indians for all his character is concerned with the Tuareg Arabs. He’s stuck at the ends of the world in Timbuktu when morally righteous Rossano Brazzi shows up looking for a guide to find a lost city in the Sahara.
When big money is involved, a local beauty and prostitute, in the person of young and voluptuous Sophia Loren is bound to tag along.
James Mason turned down the Brazzi role, which is a shame, and Wayne suffered a broken leg during filming in Libya. But, the desert vistas are worth it—as is the ghostly lost city.
Most young viewers have likely not seen this one, featuring the legendary Duke Wayne at the peak of his powers, playing with wry humor. It’s also plain to see why Loren was about to explode onto the American screen.
The foreshadowing is fairly heavy handed, but who’s to quibble or even notice the augurs when Loren is seducing each man in turn.
We were also amused that the bottle of whiskey keeps being broken—and replaced with an endless supply. One mule must have been carrying nothing but booze. Who needs water in the Sahara?
This movie was a popcorn muncher in its day—and we are happy to say, it still is.