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Old 09-14-2013, 03:46 AM   #1
Le Saboteur
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Queen of the Desert

While shilling for Barnes & Noble at the last century’s end, an interesting biography made its way across my counter. Initially it was the Sphinx’s immortal gaze that caught my attention, but upon a closer look I could see a group of men mounted on camels. In the center of that group were two faces I recognized; despite the picture’s age, Winston Churchill & T.E. Lawrence stood out. Between them, however, was a woman I didn’t recognize. What had she done? Who was she to command the prime location in a photograph (I was to learn) commemorating the final day of the Cairo Conference on the Middle East?



The woman in question: Gertrude Bell. Archeologist, Arabist, spy, cartographer, & writer Ms. Bell spent the majority of her adult life in and around Mesopotamia. Following the close of the First World War she became integral to British policy making following her White Paper “Self Determination in Mesopotamia”. Where Lawrence was essential in establishing the House of Saud in what is now Saudi Arabia, Ms. Bell almost singlehandedly created the modern state of Iraq. Her letters, published in August of 2001, provided an in depth look at a remarkable woman, and she might have remained of interest to historians, Middle East scholars, and travel writers had George W. Bush’s Adventures in the Middle East not began shortly after.

The Iraq War 2.0 led to a renewed interest in her travels and writing. Outside of the usual suspects (policy wonks, journalists, politicians), Werner Herzog (Cobra Verde, Rescue Dawn, Fitzcarraldo) has been trying to bring a biopic of her life to the silver screen. After several fits and starts, he appears to have finally nailed down a leading lady in Nicole Kidman. Shooting is set to commence in Morocco & Turkey late this year. Robert Pattison and James Franco are rumored to fill out the principle cast as Col. Lawrence and Henry Cadogan respectively.



With her work on Australia and Far & Away, Ms. Kidman certainly has experience with the rough and tumble required of the time period and character. I’ll be interested in seeing how Herzog ties the historical record with modern events.

A pair of fansites have been chronicling all of the activity so far. You can check them out here and here.

The late Christopher Hitchens has a nice write-up on a more recent biography that you can read here.

More reading material here and here. You can find an excerpt from Shaper of Nations courtesy of NPR.
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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GREAT NEWS, Sabbie! I had heard that Ridley Scott wanted to make a film about Gertie with Naomi Watts but this news about Herzog doing one is even better!

Looking forward to this and anticipate the portrayals of T.E. Lawrence and (hopefully) Winston Churchill.

Gertrude Bell was a true adventurer, at a time when her escapades were abnormal for women. Before her Middle Eastern adventures, she made some signficant climbs in the Alps, taking routes and reaching peaks that nobody else had conquered until that time (c.1900). There is even a mountain peak named after her; the Gertrudspitze. It's in the region east of Lauterbrunnen (where the OHMSS James Bond mountain is) and south of Meiringen (where the Sherlock Holmes museum is). By complete coincidence, I was thinking about Gertrude recently because I was on top of an Alp in that area (Schilthorn again) just 4 days ago!

Indiana Jones connection: Indy met Gertrude Bell in the episode, "Paris, May 1919 / Winds of Change".

Tonight, I will re-watch the superb tele-film, "A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia", because she is in that, too.
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
GREAT NEWS, Sabbie!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
I had heard that Ridley Scott wanted to make a film about Gertie with Naomi Watts but this news about Herzog doing one is even better!

Oddly enough I had only ever heard of the Herzog production, and Ms. Watts was supposed to headline the picture before the eventual delays forced her to bow out. She's a superior actress to Kidman, but there's something about the former Mrs. Tom Cruise that makes me think she'll be spot on in the role.

A quick lap around the 'net seems to indicate that Angelina Jolie was going to headline Scott's attempt at bringing Gertie to the silver screen.

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Gertrude Bell was a true adventurer, at a time when her escapades were abnormal for women. Before her Middle Eastern adventures, she made some signficant climbs in the Alps, taking routes and reaching peaks that nobody else had conquered until that time (c.1900). There is even a mountain peak named after her; the Gertrudspitze. It's in the region east of Lauterbrunnen (where the OHMSS James Bond mountain is) and south of Meiringen (where the Sherlock Holmes museum is). By complete coincidence, I was thinking about Gertrude recently because I was on top of an Alp in that area (Schilthorn again) just 4 days ago!

I didn't know that she had a mountain named after her! That's quite the accomplishment. Sir Hillary only has a step!

For anybody reading this thread, do yourself a favor and read any of the biographies that came out in the past decade or so. They're quite the read.


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Indiana Jones connection: Indy met Gertrude Bell in the episode, "Paris, May 1919 / Winds of Change".

An episode nobody seems to watch. The appearance of the young Ho Chi Minh is one of the highlights of that episode for me. I would have liked to see that relationship developed in future episodes/movies/books.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:41 AM   #4
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While I don't normally go for minute-by-minute production updates, I was leery that this might remain in development hell. Barkers Marquees, however, has provided us with the first visual of actual production with this field tent.



Per the Tweet, a pair of these were delivered to the second unit who are filming this month. The principle players join the production in January!


Stay tuned for further developments!
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:57 AM   #5
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Stay tuned for further developments!

How about something, like, the film 'is in the can'. Does that count as a further development? The film's producer, Cassian Elwes (Dallas Buyers Club), took to Twitter and announced that principle photography had wrapped in London this past March, with production to resume in Jordan in... June.

We also have our first look at Ms. Kidman as Ms. Bell courtesy of the Queen of the Desert fansite.



There's also this groovy snap from one of the local extras...



And on a related, do keep an eye out for Tracks. It's the story of one woman's trek across Australia with a couple of camels and her dog. If you're curious, check out the book the flick's based on.

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Old 02-15-2015, 11:38 PM   #6
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After a lengthy bout of radio silence, the film made its debut at the Berlin Film Festival to... mixed reviews. Nothing new for a Werner Herzog film.

No trailer exists yet, but we did get a look at the film's eventual(?) poster.



Perhaps of greater interest to the crowd here is the idea of Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence, since his name has been tossed in the hat as a potential candidate for taking over as Indiana Jones.

If you look really, really hard you might able to find him in full regalia. There's a bit of O'Toole's Lawrence about him in the pictures, but I'll be interested in seeing his performance on the screen.



There's a few glimpses of footage in this interview.



A bonafide trailer should be available soon.
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Old 07-22-2015, 04:23 AM   #7
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A bona fide trailer should be available soon.

I suppose five months later counts as... soonish. Right? Be sure to stop it at the 3:15 mark to avoid the silly talking head with the latest Hollywood news, but we finally have a trailer!*




* - It does the job of selling the picture, but seems to be oddly edited in spots.

The flick's official site has gone live and a bunch of gorgeous looking stills have found their way online via the various media outlets. Many of them have been collected at the aforementioned fan site.



And finally, the picture's US distributor, Atlas Distribution, has a shorter, but better edited trailer!



Oh, and dig the rad poster.



That is all. For now.
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:15 AM   #8
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Finally, a thinking man's film.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:51 AM   #9
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That is all. For now.

We still don't have an official release date (and 2015 is almost gone), but friends in the orbit of the City of Angels can catch a special screening as part of the American Film Institute's 29th Annual AFI Fest.

It takes some rooting around and signing up for the institute's newsletter before they'll kick down the screening information, so here you go.



Fest officials have confirmed that this will be a brand new cut of the film.

And a new official Twitter account seems to indicate that the picture has slipped off the 2015 release schedule and will instead bow in 2016.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:06 AM   #10
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...[the] official Twitter account seems to indicate that the picture has slipped off the 2015 release schedule and will instead bow in 2016.

But when?! Inquiring minds want to know exactly when Ms. Kidman's most harrowing scenes will be available for public consumption.

In the meantime, our European contingent (especially those poor sods trapped in Blighty) might like to know that the Great North Museum: Hancock currently has a new exhibit running through May 2016 on Ms. Bell!



If you're unable to visit due to distance, then do yourself a favor and stop in at the official Gertrude Bell Archive at Newcastle University.

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Old 03-25-2016, 02:35 AM   #11
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But when?! Inquiring minds want to know exactly...

...they can tease an official release date from the depths of oblivion. Such a thing remains sequestered apparently and will only be released on a need to know basis.

The producers, however, were kind enough to drop a new trailer our way. Stop at the 1:53 mark to avoid the ad begging you to subscribe.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Gertrude Bell
Light of mine eyes and harvest of my heart,
And mine at least in changeless memory!
Ah, when he found it easy to depart,
He left the harder pilgrimage to me!
Oh Camel-driver, though the cordage start,
For God's sake help me lift my fallen load,
And Pity be my comrade of the road!

Poems from the Divan of Hafiz.
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:11 PM   #12
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...they can tease an official release date from the depths of oblivion. Such a thing remains sequestered apparently and will only be released on a need to know basis.

Lost amidst the holiday hullabaloo was this little tidbit of news: IFC Films has nabbed the US-release rights to Herzog's Queen of the Desert. IFC intends on releasing the picture in Spring of 2017.



I caught part of this on a long flight home. Unfortunately I had been awake for forty plus hours and fell asleep so I don't remember much. Kidman gave a strong performance -- and it looked really good -- but that's about all I can recall. I look forward to it finally releasing domestically!
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:28 AM   #13
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IFC intends on releasing the picture in Spring of 2017.

Accoring to IFC's official site, the flick will be finally hitting theatres and On Demand on the 14th of April! No idea on how wide the release will be, but do keep an eye on your local listings.

New trailer plays up the proto-feminist aspect of Ms. Bell.



Make it a long weekend of parallel stories with this Lawrence of Arabia, and Theeb.
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