by Stanley Donen


USA (New York, Radio City Music Hall) - May 5, 1966 - Arabesque - 104'
UK - July 28, 1966 - Arabesque -
France (Paris) - August 19, 1966 - Arabesque -
Italy - September 1966 - Arabesque -
West Germany - September 8, 1966 - Arabeske -
Spain - 1966 - Arabesco
Mexico - 1966 - Arabesque

Spanish poster Italian poster German poster British poster


An American professor named Pollock is invited by an oil magnate to decipher a hieroglyphic, but he is warned by a certain Yasmin that his life will be at risk after he completes the assignment. Yasmin is a secret agent of Jena, the prime minister of a Far Eastern country who is about to go to England on a peace mission. When the hieroglyphic has been deciphered, the professor disco vers that a group of political adversaries is preparing an attempt against Jena; together with Yasmin he foils the plot, succeeds in destroying a helicopter with the hired killers on board, and is finally able to declare his love to Yasmin. Story based on the novel "The Cipher" by Gordon Cotler.


Blaenau Gwent, Crumlin (UK)
Ascot, Oxford, Isleworth, London (UK)
Pinewood Studios, Iver (UK)

Filming dates: May through August


Gregory Peck
(David Pollock)
Sophia Loren (Yasmin Azir)
Alan Badel (Nejim Beshraav!)
Kieron Moore (Yussef Kassim)
Carl Duering (Hassan Jena)


Christopher Challis (Technicolor, Panavision)
Sophia's Costume designer:
Christian Dior
Makeup Artist::

W.T. Partleton
Henry Mancini
Still photographer:
Tazio Secchiaroli, Norman Gryspeerdt
Sophia's voice is dubbed by:
Rita Savagnone (Italian), Elsa Fábregas (Spanish), Marion Degler (German).

Stanley Donen Enterprises for Universal Pictures


The part of David Pollock was originally written for Cary Grant.

The film wins Best Cinematography at the British Academy Awards.

Sophia plays cards with Peck on a regular basis. ''She beat the hell out of me in gin rummy day after day. I think I ended up owing her about $1,400.''

The village of Crumlin (Wales) has to be evacuated during an entire Sunday for the shooting of the scene where Sophia goes running on a bridge.

Sophia's costumes are all designed by Christian Dior and Marc Bohan. The film is nominated at the British Academy awards for Best Costumes which were billed at the cost of $50,000.

Sophia rents a Georgian country house near Ascot, Berkshire, for the duration of the movie.

Stanley Donen orders a closed set for the shower scene. Requesting a list of key personnel required to film the sequence, he discovers that the skeleton crew us larger, by 15 men, than the regular crew.


"Sophia, as the secret agent disguised in a $150,000 collection by Dior, fills a decorative role with golden warmth, and cannot be blamed if her superstar presence makes everything else in a film seem secondary."
Time magazine, 20 may 1966

"And, of course, Sophia Loren, a stunning bit of animated scenery who is not called upon to act but to Dior."
Grace Glueck, New York Times, 6 may 1966

"The stars are Gregory Peck, who is suitably earnest and bewildered, and Sophia Loren, who romps through the whole thing like a kid at a carnival. Wearing a whole closetful of Dior fashions, she plays a spy posing as the villain's devoted mistress."
Dennis Powers, Oakland Tribune, 1 jul 1966

"Peck and Sophia brilliant in Arabesque"
The Post-Standard, 1 jul 1966

"The beautiful Miss Loren portrays a seductive Arabian espionage agent with tremendous style and appeal. She wears an especially created, Christian Dior wardrobe including 14 outfits and all the accessories, plus 50 pairs of shoes. These costumes alone are valued at more than $150,000.
Big Spring Daily Herald, 24 jul 1966

"Sophia Loren, aristocratly lovely, reaps another magnificent triumph of beauty and grace."
Alberto Pesce, Il giornale di Brescia, 5 oct 1966

Copyrights for all photos belong to their respective owners.
© Excelsior Communication - 2007-2010

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