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The 100




Sahara
(1983)
Reviewed by Ned Daigle
Rating: 10 Beans

have read countless reviews, books, columns and articles about bad movies; those that are enjoyably awful, and those that are truly unbearable. And I have always been disappointed that my all time favorite bad movie is always forgotten about. That film is the Brooke Shields stinkbomb known as "Sahara".

More than almost any other actress in history, Shields is the most dependably bad of them all (okay, I'm forgetting Pia Zadora and Bo Derek-but Zadora had done acclaimed stage work and Derek was made a star with Blake Edwards "10"). From the beginning of her career with "Alice, Sweet Alice" through her final starring role in "Brenda Starr", Shields has really taken the crown with one dependably bad performance after another (except for possibly "Pretty Baby"). But whenever Brooke's films are spoken of, "Blue Lagoon" and "Endless Love" are always mentioned, and "Sahara" is not. I wonder why.

Set in the 1920's, Shields plays Dale Gordon, a race-car driver(!) whose father is a car designer. He has designed a new vehicle, known as the Gordon-Packard, to be raced in the "Trans-Saharan International" a car race across the entire Sahara Desert (yeah, right). Anyway, daddums is dying, and on his death bed he makes Dale promise to enter the race. Thankfully for us, she does. Only one problem, women are forbidden to enter. So, Dale dresses up like a man to enter the competition, which she does successfully wearing a moustache and tucking her mane underneath a hat. I guess no one noticed her eye-liner, lengthy lashes, milky, glowing skin, and thin adam's-apple-less throat.

And they're off! Unfortunately for the racers, there are tribal wars raging across the sands. No sooner has Dale taken the lead, then she is attacked by a bedouin tribe, led by Jaffar (Lambert Wilson) and his henchman Rasoul (the dependably bad John Rhys-Davies). Jaffar has his eye on Dale to be his new harem wench, but she'll have none of it! To woo his captive, Jaffar wisks her away to his own private little oasis, which is complete with a waterfall(?). Maybe, or more likely maybe not, realizing there is not a river anywhere nearby, Brooke induces the movie's single funniest line, "A waterfall. In the middle of the desert. Who could believe it?"

There are a few sub-plots as well. The German competitor (since this is the 20's, he is, of course, a bad guy), tries to help the opposing bedouins by giving them a souped up combination car/tank. The filmmakers have helpfully distinguished the two tribes by having them wear color-coded robes and turbans (the good tribe wears black with blue trim, the bad tribe wears tan with pink trim).

Who will win the ancient tribal war? Who will win the race? Will Jaffar melt Dale's icy American heart and make her his love monkey? Will Brooke learn to act? Will the leopards in the pit eat her and finally put an end to this mess? Is there any wonder why Cannon Films went bankrupt in the 80's producing garbage like this and "King Solomon's Mines"? If you answered yes, sure, of course, not a chance, unfortunately no, no wonder, then you too can make a film as good as the glorious and wretched "Sahara".






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