Classic Film Review- The Wind and The Lion

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The Wind and The Lion was released to theaters in 1975. It was written by and directed by the master director John Milius, director of Red Dawn (the inspiration for the 2012 film). It has an ensemble cast that includes:  Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith, John Huston, Geoffrey Lewis, Vladek Sheybal, Deborah Baxter, and a whole host of others. It fictionalizes a real kidnapping that happened in 1904. Milius made several changes to the story to make it more cinematic. As I am not familiar with the historical incident, I will only speak of the movie.

In 1904, Morocco is controlled by a young Sultan and the Bashaw of Tangier. To the eyes of Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli they are a corrupt lot, allowing the Germans, the French, and the British to take territory. As such, he kidnaps Eden Pedecaris and her two young children. He vows not to harm them and demands some territory and some released prisoners to be returned.

In the United States, President Roosevelt is outraged at the kidnapping and orders a battalion of Marines to Morocco saying, “Pedecaris alive or Raisuli dead!” The Moroccans are not happy with the American involvement and neither are the other great powers.

From afar, Raisuli admires Roosevelt and the feeling is mutual. They discuss each others weaponry to their allies and even when Raisuli hears of Roosevelt’s chant, he still finds him a noble man, showing curiosity about his Winchester. As he learns to play chess with Mrs. Pedecaris, he constantly tells her that she is a lot of trouble.

As Eden stays with the Raisuli, her and her children begin to admire him and though he is cruel to his enemies, he is kind to allies and even to his hostages. As the days in the Moroccan landscape grow longer, Eden begins to question whether Raisuli is the savage she originally thought.

I am curious what the social junkie whiners (or SJWs) would say of this classic film. Will they praise it for its positive portrayal of Muslims and advocacy for noninterventionalism in their society? Or would they blast it for its “Hollywood whitewashing” casting and its utter disdain for governments as the source of all corruption?

As for me, I found The Wind and The Lion a fantastic adventure. The story was truly brought to life and Milius’ master storytelling was really at its best. Sean Connery shined as Raisuli, Candice Bergen was fantastic as Eden, and Brian Keith was masterful as President Roosevelt. It was made before the time of CGI, so the crew had to rely on retro film making techniques. The sets were unreal. The filming took place in Spain and the beauty of it was not lost on me. It is truly a brilliant piece of cinema.

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