Sep 062021

Arabesque isn’t perfect and pales in comparison with the likes of North by Northwest or Charade, but the enigmatic performances from Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren was so much fun to watch.




Genre(s): Espionage Thriller, Romance, Comedy
Kino Lorber| NR – 105 min. – $24.95 | September 14, 2021

Date Published: 09/06/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Stanley Donen
Writer(s): Gordon Colter (novel ‘The Cipher’); Julian Mitchell, Stanley Price and Pierre Marton (screenplay)
Cast: Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Alan Badel, Kieron Moore

Features: Commentary, Featurette, Trailers, TV Spots, Poster Gallery
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 39.55 GB
Total Bitrate: 43.26 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Kino Lorber provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3½/5

Plot Synopsis: An American hieroglyphics professor (GREGORY PECK) is hired by a mysterious Arab oil magnate to decipher a secret message. When the hidden meaning is revealed, the chase is on as he and the oil magnate’s exotic yet unpredictable companion (SOPHIA LOREN) find themselves caught in the middle of an assassination plot.

Quick Hit Review: Arabesque, based on a novel entitled “The Cipher”, is a fun 1960s espionage romantic-thriller, which is pretty similar to Charade (1963), which makes sense considering the two films share the same writer (Peter Stone, credited here as Pierre Marton) and director (Stanley Donen). This one isn’t as precise as Charade but still has its charms thanks to the wonderful banter/romance between Gregory Peck and the amazingly gorgeous Sophia Loren.

While I would say the middle part does drag a bit and the finale was on the convoluted side of things, I can’t say I was never entertained or engaged. Plus, the few action set pieces, that did remind me a bit of North by Northwest (1959), which does miss Alfred Hitchcock’s eye yet still has its moments as our bad guys chase down the heroes in a helicopter, wildly missing shooting (they did strike one character, but merely a flesh would it seems).

There’s also an issue with the whole cipher. I’m still a bit confused by why it needed to be deciphered in the first place; by bringing in the professor, their plans were doomed. Of course, the antagonist, albeit rich, isn’t the smartest and his minions are even more incompetent, so maybe there is method to his madness…

In the end, Arabesque is still well worth checking out, if nothing else but for Peck and Loren.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and comes with a set of new features as the 2019 Blu-ray from Universal appeared to be bare bones. Included is a new Audio Commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger, Steven Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson; Music by Mancini (9:33), an archival featurette with Henry Mancini and Columnist Leonard Feather; Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots; TV Trailer & TV Spots and lastly a Poster Gallery.


VIDEO – 4½/5

Kino Lorber releases Arabesque onto Blu-ray after Universal had previously released it only two years ago. Since I don’t own that copy I’m not sure how it compares but from what I saw while watching the movie, and closely inspecting a variety of scenes, it does look fairly good. Detail was quite good and the natural film noise was thankfully present. Colors are generally vibrant and bright throughout. There was no obvious or major flaws like dust marks or film damage so it is relatively clean.

AUDIO – 4/5

The included DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is more than adequate for a film of this age and, outside of the third act, really doesn’t have a whole lot of action is mostly filled either with dialogue, which came across with fine clarity and no signs of pops or hissing, or Henry Mancini’s catchy score.


OVERALL – 3½/5

Arabesque isn’t perfect and pales in comparison with the likes of North by Northwest or Charade, but the enigmatic performances from Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren was so much fun to watch, even when the plot can get convoluted at times.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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