Ebu Müslim Horasani

Original title
Ebu Müslim Horasaniaka
Running Time
51 min.
Turkey Turkey
Yilmaz Atadeniz
Melih Gülgen
Kaya Ererez
Tamer Yigit, Aliye Rona, Müjgan Agrali, Kamuran Balli, Atilla Ergün, Berrin Baran, Nuri Kirgeç, Ahmet Danyal Topatan
Atadeniz Film
Drama. Adventure | Half-length Film. 8th Century

[Above credits from FILM AFFINITY; Review by Robert Monell]

Abu Muslim Khorasani (719-755) was a Persian born leader of a series of revolts against the Ummayad dynasty which held sway in Khoransani and the area of Marv, Iran in the mid 8th Century. He was an agent of the Abbasid dynasty who led a series of popular revolts which included Turks, Kurds, Persians, Arabs and non-Arabs. This was during an era of Islamic civil wars in the region. Abu Muslim was later betrayed and set up for assassinationi by his former sponsors when he became too popular due to his charismatic personality, which made him a target of those who feared him as a cult icon. Those kind of icons and charismatic figures  are still  forces to be considered in Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, while Iraq and NATO partner Turkey have current issues which grab the headlines even as this is being written. Islamic identity remains up for grabs by political commentators and candidates with their own ambitions. 

Yilmaz Atadeniz, Turkey's prolific producer-director of B minus genre projects, made this historical adventure in 1969 and it's bursting with the same frenetic energy, no-nonsense focus on action, action and more action as his legendary, better known KILINK movies, KILINK ISTSANBUL DA (1966), KILINK, STRIP AND KILL (1967). It opens with Abu Muslim and his horseman storming an opposing group in the godforsaken desert locales of the Turkey-Iran wilderness, which are the film's killing grounds. This region has near zero vegetation and is characterized by lots of rocks, ranging in size from huge boulders, small sharp stones to natural monoliths strewn across a pitiless desert. The villain is a ruthless Imam ensconced in an ancient castle in which tortures, hangings take place in the tunnels underneath while scantily clad dancers entertain the Ummayads.

Abu Muslim romances a slave girl who becomes his partner in revolution and after a great many battles on horseback, in dark chambers, scaling the castle walls and finally a duel with outrageously elaborate swords, Abu and his followers prevail and he walks off into his new Caliphate. The film stops short of his later demise at the prompting of his backers and that's understandable. Whether this is based on a one of the Abu Muslim romance novels, ancient history, screenplay fancies, or a mixture of all, remains unclear to me since I don't understand Turkish and the only print I've seen in an un-subtitled, black and white print which is either washed out or blurry or both and is totally silent for some reason. It looks like it was dug up from beneath the floor of the Iranian desert and features a running vertical scratch located center screen which never goes away along with numerous marks, nicks, blotches and a complete lack of definition. It takes us back to the very beginnings of cinema, seeming like a film made in 1909, rather than 60 years later. There may be a better print somewhere in Turkey but who knows. It's on YouTube but I dare not provide a link as film connoisseurs will want me eliminated.

Tamer Yigit has an Errol Flynn mustache and a Douglas Fairbanks demeanor which is all well and good since there is little to no time for characterization, dialogue or anything besides furious duels, heroic deeds and horse pursuits which make up much of the films under 60 minute runtime. There is a little romance here and there, though. Imagine a project with the historical epic ambitions of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in black and white, made with a poverty row budget and lasting for 50 something minutes. 

The ever resourceful Atadeniz manages to make a film which looks a lot more expensive than it must have been. The costumes, weaponry and location atmosphere are all milked for premium value. The numerous battle scenes are miracles of adept staging and clever set ups to make the armies seem more massive and the crowd control is at times impressive. Atadeniz once again proves he can make any kind of movie, spy, adventure, serious drama, romantic comedy, gangster, you name it and he was able to master it with minimum resources and no pretensions, excuses or complaints. EBA MUSLIM HORASANI might actually have taken two weeks to shoot!

As an endlessly productive B minus level auteur, Atadeniz was as creatively stalwart, workaholic and hard to beat down as Eurotrash icons Jess Franco and Joe D'Amato, among others.

(C) Robert Monell, 2016

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Edited 3 times by bobmonel Aug 20 16 10:00 AM.