Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Julie Andrews & Omar Sharif in The Tamarind Seed 1974

Yesterday's film (The Odessa File, 1974) got me thinking about suspenseful films of that era. Many of them had a Cold War theme to them, so for the next few days I'll be featuring some obscure cold war cinema.

In 1974 Julie Andrews starred in this film directed by her husband Blake Edwards. Also starring was Omar Sharif as a Soviet agent who meets Ms. Andrews (a British Home Office worker) on holiday. They begin an affair, platonic at first, and it causes all sorts of problems for both of them with their respective governments. This film is based on a book of the same name by Evelyn Anthony and, except for a venue change from New York to London, is (as far as I remember) fairly faithful to it. One of the most intriguing aspects of Mr. Sharif's character is his deft ability play the game of espionage while still maintaining his integrity with Judith Farrow (Andrews) and the audience. His honesty is very refreshing. As Cold War dramas go, The Tamarind Seed has it's share of edge-of-your-seat action and doesn't disappoint on dramatic effects. There's a bit of a melancholy quality to the film but the resolution is quite a surprise. Look for veteran character actor Oskar Homolka as Omar Sharif's boss.

The film is available on VHS and on region 2 (UK) DVD, but has yet to come out on DVD for the USA/Canada market. It can be found in its entirety on YouTube and iOffer.com. The first installment of it is above, uploaded by DrageReborn.

Obscurity factor 7 (available on VHS, YouTube & iOffer.com and on DVD in the UK, rarely screened on TV, largely forgotten)


  1. Music by John Barry and title sequence by Maurice Binder... difficult for the last 118 minutes of the movie not to be a bit of a letdown. Wouldn't mind seeing it afresh now that it has gained period value, though.

  2. Now let's see if my obscurity sense is as good as it was last week:

    Obscure Cold War Cinema..........drumroll please..............TELEFON! Only in Telefon are hotel bedspreads so offensive they overtake everything, even Tyne Daly as a techie.

  3. You must have a camera inside my head, Oliver. Tomorrow was going to be Telefon, but now I'm going to have to change it up, just to throw you off. Look for it later this week tho.

  4. This film sounds oddly familiar like Alfred Hitchcocks Torn Curtain with Ms Andrews and the handsome Paul Newman. BTW-RIP Blake Edwards

  5. It has a little of that quality. There's an integrity mixed with duplicity to the leading male characters that's similar in both films.

  6. Once, I was queasy during a crazy bus ride in Ecuador, and the soundtrack of Torn Curtain was running relentlessly through my mind: I kept expecting a SECOND bus (the real one) to appear in the bend of the road...