Dir. Moustapha Akkad USA/Lebanon/Syria 1977 177 mins (PG) In English and Arabic
Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, Michael Ansara
Sunday 3 November, 1pm (National Media Museum)
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A contentious film at its time of release, Moustapha Akkad’s The Message still ignites debate wherever it is watched around the world. The Message (originally screened in the USA as Mohammed, Messenger of God) proved to be highly controversial during its production and initial release. Unfounded rumors had it that Mohammed would not only be depicted in the film, but that he was to be played by Charlton Heston or Peter O’Toole. As it happened, the prophet was not featured and the film was shot in two versions: one in English and one in Arabic (entitled Al-Ris-Alah), with different actors taking over some of the roles due to language requirements.