Baghdad Movie: A Review of Three Films Set in the Iraqi Capital
Baghdad, the largest city and capital of Iraq, has been the setting for many films over the years. Some of these films depict the historical and cultural aspects of the city, while others focus on the political and military conflicts that have plagued it. In this article, we will review three films that are set in Baghdad: Bagdad (1949), Live from Baghdad (2002), and The Hurt Locker (2008).
Bagdad is a Technicolor adventure film directed by Charles Lamont and starring Maureen O'Hara, Paul Hubschmid, and Vincent Price. It tells the story of a Bedouin princess who returns to Baghdad after being educated in England. She finds that her father has been murdered by a group of renegades, and that a corrupt Pasha is in charge of the city. She also meets Prince Hassan, who is falsely accused of the murder. The film is a typical example of the "tits and sand" genre, as O'Hara called it, with exotic costumes, sets, and music. The film was shot on location at the Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California. O'Hara later wrote in her memoirs that she was stung by a scorpion during the shoot, but that it was an uneventful experience otherwise. The film was not well received by critics or audiences, and is mostly remembered for a trivia fact: a female camel on set fell in love with Vincent Price and howled whenever he was around.
Live from Baghdad (2002)
Live from Baghdad is a television war drama film directed by Mick Jackson and co-written by Robert Wiener, based on Wiener's book of the same title. The film premiered on HBO on December 7, 2002, during the prelude stage of the Iraq War. It stars Michael Keaton as Wiener, a CNN producer who decides to cover the Gulf War from Baghdad with his team of journalists. The film depicts the challenges and dangers they face as they try to report the truth amid censorship, propaganda, and bombings. The film also features Helena Bonham Carter as Ingrid Formanek, a CNN reporter who has a romantic relationship with Wiener; David Suchet as Naji Al-Hadithi, an Iraqi Information Ministry official who helps them; and Bruce McGill as Peter Arnett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent who delivers a controversial report on CNN. The film was praised for its realistic portrayal of journalism and war, and won three Emmy Awards out of 16 nominations.
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Hurt Locker is a war thriller film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, based on Boal's experiences as a journalist embedded with a bomb disposal team in Iraq. The film follows Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), a reckless but skilled explosive ordnance disposal technician who joins a three-man team in Baghdad during the Iraq War. The film shows the intense and dangerous situations they encounter as they defuse bombs and deal with insurgents, snipers, and civilians. The film also explores the psychological effects of war on the soldiers, especially James, who is addicted to the adrenaline rush of his job. The film co-stars Anthony Mackie as Sergeant J.T. Sanborn, James' cautious and responsible team leader; Brian Geraghty as Specialist Owen Eldridge, James' nervous and insecure team member; Guy Pearce as Staff Sergeant Matt Thompson, James' predecessor who dies in action; Ralph Fiennes as a British mercenary; David Morse as Colonel Reed, James' superior; and Evangeline Lilly as Connie James, James' estranged wife. The film was shot on location in Jordan, near the Iraqi border, using handheld cameras and natural light. The film was widely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, and won six Academy Awards out of nine nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. 248dff8e21