Mr. Spielberg has also managed to make a movie that looks like a billion dollars (it was filmed in, among other places, Tunisia, France, England, and Hawaii) yet still suggests the sort of production shortcuts we associate with old B-movies. The Cairo we see on the screen is obviously a North African city but, also obviously, it's not Cairo. There's not a pyramid in sight. My one quibble with Mr. Spielberg is that he didn't insert a familiar, preferably unmatching stock shot of Cairo into the scene to make sure we got the point. Sam Katzman would have insisted on it but, I suppose, we can't have everything. Just almost everything.
And what we are starting now is one of the two greatest sword fights in modern movies (the other one happens later on), and right from the beginning it looks different.
Because they aren't close to each other -- none of the swords-crossing "en garde" garbage.
No, what we have here is two men, two athletes, and they look to be too faraway to damage each other, but each time one makes even the tiniest feint, the other counters, and there is silence, and as they start to circle --
The two men are almost flying across the rocky terrain, never losing balance, never coming close to stumbling; the battle rages with incredible finesse, first one and then the other gaining the advantage, and by now, it's clear that this isn't just two athletes going at it, it's a lot more that that. This is two legendary swashbucklers and they're in their prime, it's Burt Lancaster in "The Crimson Pirate" battling Errol Flynn in "Robin Hood" and then, incredibly, the action begins going even faster than before as we
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