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George Cukor, Joseph Strick, 1969
USA | Format: 35mm | 116 minutes
This intoxicating, rarely screened adaptation of Lawrence Durrell’s beloved novel—the first in his “Alexandria Quartet”—found Cukor working from the wreckage of a half-finished Joseph Strick project, adapting to unfamiliar scenery (an incense-heavy, pearl-encrusted Egypt, shot on a soundstage and bathed in perpetual magic-hour light) and an all-star European cast (Anouk Aimée—with whom the director was famously at odds—Anna Karina, Dirk Bogarde, and Philippe Noiret). The result is a heady, melancholic tone poem in which the novel’s story is blanketed over by a tapestry of atmospheric effects and mysterious gestures—the kind that linger in memory long after the credits roll.