Review of Khartoum

Khartoum (1966)
Decent film, Bad History
3 November 1998
Most films based upon historical fact seem to suffer from some screenwriter's idea that he can improve on reality. In most cases, tampering with the facts is a waste of time if not a positive detriment. "Khartoum" is no exception to the rule. The story of the siege of Khartoum and the death of Major General Charles George Gordon C.B.("Chinese Gordon")is a great Victorian melodrama that requires no embellishment from Hollywood types. The film suffers from numerous historical errors (most glaring of which are the face to face encounters between Gordon and his adversary ,the Mahdi, a moslem fanatic played with obvious fun by the late Lord Olivier). The choice of Charlton Heston to play the role of Gordon is a pure bow to the box office and something of a shock considering that Gordon was quite short and an eccentric. In any event, the film has some good action scenes as well as supporting performances by Sir Ralph Richardson and Richard Johnson.
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