Rabu, 23 Februari 2011

Kol Mamzer Melech AKA Every Bastard a King (1968) - Uri Zohar

This Israeli-made feature was originally titled Kol Mamzer Melech. Dramatizing an actual event that occurred during the Six-Day War of 1967, the film top-bills Italian actress Pier Angeli, but the central character is a pilot named Ralphi Cohen (played by Oded Kotler). Hoping to bring peace to his country, Cohen takes it upon himself to fly his plane towards Egypt, there to hopefully commiserate with Abdel Nasser. Shot down en route, Cohen finds himself halfway between the Egyptian and Israeli armies; he'd like to get home, but he'd also like to retain the use of his life. Actual footage of the 1967 war is interspersed with several well-choreographed and convincing battles sequences. In some English-speaking markets, this film bore the title Every Bastard a King (a literal translation of the Israeli original). by Hal Erickson, Rovi

And here is a critique by By ROGER GREENSPUN for the New York Times from April 14, 1970.

AS "Every Bastard a King" opens, Pier Angeli, as the mistress of an American journalist in Israel, boards a plane to escort his body home. Blasting away in the background, as the titles unfold, is a terrible rock 'n' roll ballad, raucously sung, that defines what lies ahead. The picture is a dead duck. It opened yesterday at the Festival Theater.

Filmed in Israel by a color camera—and the color is poor—that flips around in self-conscious "cinéma vérité" style, this miserable little exercise pastes a slap-dash little drama signifying absolutely nothing against some authentic locales that mean a great deal.

Occasionally, as the journalist-hero roars around in a jeep after a "scoop," the picture slams, as though by accident, into some footage that looks documentary and real, such as cafe scenes suggesting the political turbulence of the country. There is also a shot of the massed street adulation of Abie Nathan, the young man who abruptly flew solo to Egypt to talk peace with Nasser.

Finally, there is some explosive footage of a tank battle apparently clipped from the reality of the six-day Israeli-Egyptian War. And we defy anybody to indicate which side is which.

Out of the confusing photography and an equally confusing babble of English-speaking voices, some of which sound dubbed, there emerges ever so obliquely a dull little story of a Heming-way-type writer covering the conflict. At least William Berger, squinting like a chow and sporting a thick mustache, looks like Hemingway as he pecks away, watched adoringly by Miss Angeli, who only remotely resembles the lovely little Italian of long ago.

"I'm the best," he yaps, a typical observation in his continual flow of stale, cynical wisecracks. He's not much of an actor, that's for certain.

Not much better is Oded Kotler, as his Israeli pal, who abruptly flies to Egypt and has a fliply comical encounter with a sub-official (hence the cut-in of that acclaim for the man who actually did fly over). The only remotely intriguing character in view is the hero's chauffeur, a burly ex-paratrooper played by Yehoram Gaon. The whole thing looks like a rush, topical job. The word for it is sloppy.

Hard English and Hebrew where needed.
no pass

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