"Lion Of The Desert" Roars On Blu-ray Review

Lion of the Desert is a classic war epic with a capital ā€œEā€ from a film era before CGI, back when battle scenes were populated by real actors who were all acting with a capital ā€œA.ā€ Everything is big from the action to the performances. There is a large supporting cast with memorable characters. The stakes couldn't be higher with Libyan freedom fighters led by Omar Mukhtar (Anthony Quinn) battling the might of Mussolini for the identity of a country and its people.

It belongs to a different time in so many ways, but in one major, inescapable way, Lion of the Desert is an unusual war epic for today's American audiences. This is a war epic where the heroes are dark-skinned Muslims hiding out in the mountains and attacking on horseback, and the villains are white-skinned Italians who roll into Libya with tanks and major weaponry. For this reason, I don't think Lion of the Desert is as well-known today as other major war epics, which is a real shame. Anthony Quinn is fantastic as Omar Mukhtar, a soft-spoken former teacher who becomes the leader and face of the Libyan people. He is intelligent, thoughtful, and strong-willed, and it is easy to see why he inspired such loyalty from his men, even when they knew they could not win against the forces of Italy.

The Blu-ray release looks and sounds great, and it is the perfect way to watch it for viewers wanting to revisit this classic film or viewers seeing it for the first time. One complaint I must note, however, is that the Blu-ray does not have subtitles which will limit the hearing impaired from watching it. It is such a disappointing oversight on a Blu-ray that I would otherwise recommend, and I hope it is corrected on a future re-release.


There are no special features.

"Lion of the Desert" is on sale November 12, 2013 and is rated PG. Drama, War. Directed by Moustapha Akkad. Written by H.A.L. Craig, David Butler, Paul Thompson. Starring Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, Oliver Reed.

Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.


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