While at work the other day, I was chatting with a client and she quoted Teddy Roosevelt’s old saying about walking softly and carrying a big stick. Naturally, my mind turned to movies and the movie in particular ended up being The Wind and the Lion. I remember the first time my mom called me downstairs to sit down and watch it. I was glued to the screen. So, thanks to my recommending the movie at work, you guys are getting a little review of the movie today while I’m away at Dragon Con.
During the early years of the 20th century, Eden Pedicaris (Candace Bergen) and her children are living in Morocco when they are taken captive by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli (Sean Connery), last of the Barbary Pirates. His hope is that having her in custody would prompt negotiations with President Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Keith) about the state of political affairs in his corner of the world. What happens, of course, is that his hostage taking starts and international incident.
While the film has fun going through the politics of the day, including Roosevelt’s campaign for re-election and how he uses the crisis to gain more favor with the public, its primary concern is with the relationship between Eden and Raisuli. While they don’t get romantic as such, there’s a certain spark between the two of them. Bergen and Connery have such great antagonistic chemistry that turns into a certain measure of fondness and respect as they learn about each other.
The movie is filled with great character moments from its fantastic cast that also includes the late, great John Huston. I even enjoyed the performances of the kids who played the Pedecaris children. It’s nice to see movies with child actors that don’t cause some amount of eye rolling.
On a random note, one of the things about this movie that fascinates me, other than the fact that I do love historical movies, is the juxtaposition between Roosevelt and Raisuli. I love the way they compare and contrast their leadership styles. “I, like the lion, must stay in my place, while you, like the wind, will never know yours.” Man. That’s some great stuff right there.
It should come as little surprise that I enjoy this movie so much as it was written and directed by John Milius with a fabulous score by Jerry Goldsmith. It’s got sweeping desert views and a lot of great, quotable lines. It’s one of my favorite movies to just randomly sit down and watch. So, if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend checking it out sometime.
We’ve established that I love the movie. I will, however, fully admit that it’s ridiculous to see Sean Connery playing an Arab. He does a great job, but it’s just another example of white-washing. There. I said it. Moving on from there, there are some problematic sexist moments, but what do you expect from a movie made in the 70’s?
As far as the historical event upon which it was based? Well, the Pedecaris that was actually kidnapped was a dude and, of course, a lot of the events depicted in the movie never happened. Apparently, they did get Raisuli‘s characterization right. So, that’s pretty cool.
I just wanted to include the fact that one can be critical of something while still loving it to pieces.