Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ten Films Set in Egypt

List taken from Eyewitness Travel “Top 10 Cairo & The Nile”

Have you seen/read any of these?

1. The Spy Who Loved Me
In this 1977 James Bond adventure the requisite foreign exoticism appears in the scenes at the Pyramids and Karnak temple. The magnificent temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel becomes the fictional field headquarters of M16 containing M’s office, conference rooms, and Q’s laboratory.

2. Ruby Cairo
Largely ignored by cinema audiences, this 1993 film has “Four Weddings and a Funeral” star Andie McDowell investigating the mystery of her husband’s death and enlisting the aid of dashing aid worker Liam Neeson. But, the real star is Cairo, where much of the action takes place.

3. Lawrence of Arabia
David Lean’s 1962 epic has many scenes that are set in Egypt, which is where the real-time Lawrence worked for a time, at British Army HQ in Cairo.

4. Cleopatra
As famous for the on-set romance between it’s two stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burtin, as for the on-screen story, the 1963 “most expensive movie ever made” almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox. It used 79 sets, 26,000 costumes and 1,000 crew members, and Taylor was paid then a record-breaking million-dollar fee.

5. The Mummy
The ancient Egyptian dead can’t seem to stay still, judging by the incredible number of mummy movies. The best is still the poignant 1932 original with Boris Karloff in the title role. It was released just a decade after the opening of King Tut’s tomb supposedly unleashed the “curse of the pharaoh.”

6. The English Patient
Much of the action in the 1996 multi-Oscar-winning film is set in Cairo and Egypt’s Western Desert, which was shot in Venice and Tunisia, respectively. The central character of Count Laszlo de Almasy is based on a read character, a Hungarian desert explorer and spy for Germany during World War II.

7. The Yacoubian Building
Few Egyptian films ever get an interntainal release, but after being the biggest box office hit of 2006 in Egypt, The Yacoubian Building screened around the world. This is a fabulous tale of the intersecting lives of the residents of an apartment block in Downtown Cairo that doubles as a deft and often scathing critique of life in Egypt today.

8. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
The first, and best, of the Indiana Jones films, released in 1981, sees the whip-weilding archaeologist on the trail of the Ark of the Covenant, which is discovered at the remains of Tanis, an ancient Egyptian capital in the Delta region of Egypt. However, as often happens, all of the scenes set in Egypt were actually shot in the studio or in Tunisia.

9. Death on the Nile
The 1978 big-screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery didn’t stint on the budget, flying cast and crew to Egypt to fild at Karnak, Abu Simbel, the Pyramids, and the Old Cataract hotel in Aswan. It looks luscious, with an all-star cast headed by Peter Ustinov struggling not to be overshadowed by the scenery.

10. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
A hit French comedy that screened worldwide in 2008 featuring OSS 117, a Gallic super-spy, who is a cross between 007 and Austin Powers. Set in 1955, OS 117 is dispatched to Egypt with a simple mission: “Make the Middle East safe.” Joyous nonsense ensues.

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