“Ben Hecht co-wrote the script with Robert Presnell, but if you are expecting snappy one-liners or blazing action, look elsewhere.
“ Colorless title for a dishwater-dull adventure saga starring John Wayne, Sophia Loren, and Rossano Brazzi, three disparate characters crossing the Sahara desert in the same direction as Brazzi's ill-fated father, who went missing ten years prior after finding a lost city stocked with rubies and emeralds.
“ Oh hold on why did I say " more exciting " ?
“ Beautiful But Boring.
“ It's part of the plot, of course, and had to be done, but those parts get just a bit tedious.
“The audience must be disturbed by the slow pace and by the fact that there are only three characters .
“I felt the latter part of the film was far too slow moving.
“ Very enjoyable piece of nonsense .
“ Kurt Kasznar makes a good impression as a venal official and the bizarre situation looks like developing into an intriguing "unlikely partners" yarn of dangerous adventures and hair-breadth escapes.
“ Rating : Acceptable and passable , well worth watching .
“ In the ensuing confusion, Brazzi steals off with the pack animals, the jewels and the water.
“I'd argue that this is a film that is well worth watching and is certainly far from Wayne's worst film or anything.
“ If we had it might have at least have made the journey more exciting .
“ Wayne is on form, as ever, and the drama of the climax makes up for the slow parts earlier on.
“ Breathtaking cinematography with luminous and bright colors by Jack Cardiff .
“ The script (Ben Hecht screwing it up as always) is perfectly watertight in its complex turnings and sudden surprises in the winding labyrinths of the relationships, constantly taking the audience aback, and to this comes the fascinating story of the quest for a lost city in the middle of the Sahara - this also brings "The English Patient" into mind.
“ Atmospheric and evocative musical score by the Italian Angelo Francesco Lavagnino .
“ From her first scene you catch yourself watching only her, and her character is the most complex and fascinating.
“ Worth watching once for John Wayne completists, and I'm one.
“ Timbuktu is the background of this mostly entertaining tale about three characters , an adventurer scout named Joe January (John Wayne) , an archaeologist (Rossano Brazzi) and a gorgeous girl (Sophia Loren ) in search for a lost city in the desert called Ophir and a fabulous treasure hidden.
“ This exciting picture is packed with adventures, action , thrills , a loving triangle and is quite amusing .
“ I should have just said " exciting " and left it at that This is a rather boring movie even by the standards of 1957 and is only of note for its colour cinematography by Jack Cardiff and perhaps by the strange ambiguous ending .
“A final note: the movie begins with the Prefect marching down a street followed by his entourage, each element of which is separated, given 2-3 seconds to drive home the point, as the Prefect inspects his territory (which includes its own little intriguing snippets) and finally meets up with the Important Foreigner (Brazzi).
“ Yes, at times, the feel is somewhat "Indiana Jones-ish", but the agonizingly slow pace kills any suspense.
“ Must have been confusing it with some other film.
“COMMENT: Despite wondrous location shooting in the Libyan Desert around Gaudames and Tripoli, and in the ruined Roman-built city of Leptis Magnor, this ends up as a rather dreary movie, which certainly partly deserves its poor reputation.
“I was surprised to learn that the film was directed by Henry Hathaway as other films directed by him that I have seen have been enjoyable.
“ But still very entertaining.
“ Considering that for most of this film there are only three characters on screen and two of them are very badly played by John Wayne and Rossano Brazzi, (the third is a sultry looking Sophia Loren and she's very good in an underwritten role), Henry Hathaway's "Legend of the Lost" is a surprisingly entertaining piece of nonsense, complete with lost treasure and some gorgeously photographed desert locations courtesy of Jack Cardiff.
“I do think it was pointless to shoot on location in Lybia, of all places, since all the exterior shots could just as effectively been done in the deserts of the South West, like Glamis, or Death Valley.
“Otherwise, this is a pretty enjoyable film, and the ending provides real surprises...