And the Razzie Award for Worst Performance by an Actor in a supporting role goes to ……….
Brooke Shields! No fooling!
Before going any further I’d like to point out that Brooke came up short in her bid to pull a double win for her work in Sahara. She would lose the Worst Actress Award to the mind numbing performance given by sexy Bo Derek in Bolero, released during the same year.
Did I get caught up in the beauty of Brooke Shields while growing up? Considering that up until yesterday I had only seen her in three films, I guess not. Seeing Sahara came about for a trio of reasons. The DVD was in a bargain bin, it was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, a member of the John Wayne/John Ford stock company and the fact that I knew it was a huge box office disaster for The Cannon Group who are surely attaining a cult status among us youngsters of the VHS era.
In a variation on The Great Race or perhaps Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies minus Tony Curtis, Brooke finds herself driving her father, Steve Forrest’s car after his death due to a crash in the big race of 1927 across the Sahara. It turns out that it’s for male drivers only hence the mustached disguise and playing up a rather feminine son of Forrest.
I will say that Brooke makes a great flapper in the opening scenes of the film sending us back to the music and costumes of the times.
Under no circumstances take the shortcut across the Sahara raceway as there is a tribal war on going led by the likes of John Rhys-Davies. With a story credited to Cannon’s Menahem Golan, what’s a girl to do but take the shortcut in an attempt to get ahead of her competition including the favored Horst Buchholz. While it’s not the wisest decision, at least Brooke has gotten rid of the mustache disguise by this time as it truly was an embarrassing plot point of the film.
“You should be proud to please me.”
Brooke finds herself a slave to evil Davies in no time at all as her car is overtaken by a band of warriors on camels. Cue attempted rape scene number one. A quick escape into the desert that leaves Brooke parched but no where near as weather beaten as Blondie in Leone’s classic and it’s time to be recaptured and to cue rape attempt number two by Davies.
Entering Brooke’s life and doing his best at bringing to life the spirit of Valentino is Lambert Wilson as her clad in black sheik saviour. Still, that’s not to say there won’t be a third rape attempt from another evil faction.
Time to fast forward over the details and point out that Sir John Mills is in here as is a score from Ennio Morricone. For the peeper crowd, Brooke does give us the wet t-shirt look as our exploitation film makers have her taking a clothed bath under a cascading waterfall leading to her not so steamy love scene with her very own Omar Sharif wannabe.
One thing must be said in defence of Brooke’s role. It is that of a strong willed woman at a time when women were considered dainty and didn’t yet have the vote. Hey! Didn’t I mention there’s an auto race going on here? Incredibly after what must seem like months under a veil and tent, Brooke gets her car back on track and ……..
Far be it from me to tell you the outcome of the not so exciting race.
On the plus side, I could swear those giant Styrofoam rocks being dropped down mountainsides during the big battle of warring tribes are from any old Star Trek episode that I know I’ll watch numerous times again before sitting down to enjoy Brooke’s big budget bomb that almost served as a template for the Richard Chamberlain – Allan Quatermain adventures the studio would soon put out. The funny thing about box office bombs are that while no one goes to see them, they’re much more enjoyable while watching them with a crowd. A crowd of like minded cinema geeks that enjoy a good bit of camp.
Kind of a catch 22 for the producers hoping to line their pockets with gold and silver.