Sunday 4 April 2010

Recent additions

Since my last blog entry I have acquired a couple of items that might be of interest to the colonial wargamer.

The first is a DVD entitled OMAR MUKHTAR: LION OF THE DESERT.

This film is set in the late 1920s, and tells the story of the Italian attempts to crush the remnants of Libyan resistance to Italian colonial rule. This resistance was led by Omar Mukhtar who proved to be a very able leader of irregular forces. The films stars Anthony Quinn as Omar Mukhtar, Oliver Reed as General Rodolfo Graziani, and Rod Steiger as Mussolini, and features a large number of recreated and restored vehicles, including some Fiat tanks.

I managed to see this film when it first came out in 1981, but only recently discovered that it had been released as a DVD. When I saw a copy on sale at a recent wargames show, I had to buy it!

My other recent purchase is a copy of the Osprey book about the OTTOMAN INFANTRYMAN 1914-18.

The book's author is David Nicolle, who is well known writer on medieval and Islamic warfare, and the illustrator is Christa Hook.

The book is the latest volume in the WARRIOR series (No.145 [ISBN 978 1 84603 506 7]) and includes chapters on:
  • Enlistment
  • Training
  • Daily Life
  • Appearance and Weaponry
  • Belief and Belonging
  • Life on Campaign
  • The Soldier in battle
  • Museums, Re-enactment and Collecting
The book as a short Introduction, a Chronology of the main events affecting the Ottoman Empire from 1914 to 1918, a Bibliography, and a very useful Glossary of Turkish military terms.


DestoFante said...

You might be amused by the following trivia: "OMAR MUKHTAR: LION OF THE DESERT" has never been distributed in Italy. At the time of the theatre release, Italian authorities resented the less than flattery depiction of the Italian occupation and "pacification" efforts. Notwithstanding the stars in the cast, and the democratic nature of Italian Republic, government censorship prevented the movie to be watched by the Italian public. During the 1980s and 1990s, a few attempts to have the movie projected in theaters were stopped by the police. Finally, after Muhammar Gheddafi visited Italy in June 2009, the government relented, and in summer 2009 a satellite TV (Sky) finally broadcast the movie.
An additional, saddening irony: in 2005 the director of the movie, Moustapha Akkad, who could be deservingly looked at as a champion of Arab independence, was killed along with his daughter by an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber attack against a hotel in Amman, Jordan.

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Thanks for this information.

In some ways it makes the film even more interesting, especially as the topic was still 'off limits' in Italy until so recently.

I am very sorry to hear that the director is dead, and that he died in such a manner. He must have been quite a director to have worked on one film with so many actors who had had - shall we say - 'difficulties' with other directors and still managed to get the film made.

All the best,