Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Strange Casting of Genghis Khan

Manuel Conde was the first to play Genghis Khan (according to IMDb). Manuel was born in the Philippines which, I guess, is the closest to Mongolia than any other actor.

Marvin Miller in THE GOLDEN HORDE

In possible the strangest casting decision ever, John Wayne played the legendary Mongolian ruler in THE CONQUEROR that bombed at the box office.

Ronaldo Lupi played Genghis Khan in two movies: THE MONGOLS (above) and below, HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS

And there's Egyptian actor Omar Sharif in another oddly inaccurate adaptation in GENGHIS KHAN

originally posted: April 2011


Michael O'Sullivan said...

I rather like the 1965 GENGHIS KHAN, its a rather tatty mini-epic coming at the end of the epic cycle, it just has a great cast with Stephen Boyd playing nasty as Jamuga, and the likes of Robert Morley and James Mason playing orientals, theres Telly Savalas, Woody Strode, Eli Wallach, lovely french actress Francoise Dorleac (was was killed in a car accident in 1967) and veteran english actress Yvonne Mitchell.

The Wayne version in 1956 has some lively dancing girls and I like seeing Susan Hayward in spitfire mode. It was of course made in Utah near some atomic testing site, a lot of the cast & crew including the leads later died of various cancers or tumours.

PEPLUM cinema said...

The last time I watched GENGHIS KHAN, I have to admit, I couldn't wait for it to end. For me the length is the film's biggest liability. At 127, I thought it overstayed its welcome by 20 minutes. Also some of the cast, including Sharif, was odd. Robert Morley as the Emperor of China? This is not that different than the Christopher Lee Fu Manchu films and this is supposed to be a serious epic. If it was meant to be a pulpy epic, like the Italian PEPs, than it would be ok if it had a shorter time but for a serious film, the miscast actors and length was too much. I guess I like my PEPs at around the 90 minutes range. Arf.

As for The Conqueror, the film has big production values and it's surprisingly entertaining but like Ten Commandments, the dialogue is clunky and Wayne is totally miscast, borderline embarrassing. Hayward is cute and sexy in this, including her dance number.

Michael O'Sullivan said...

The 1956 film is of course a Howard Hughes production, so everything stops now and then for a dancing girls extravaganza ...