The Jewel of the Nile

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The Jewel of the Nile
The Jewel of the Nile (1985) film poster.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed by Lewis Teague
Produced by Michael Douglas
Written by Mark Rosenthal
Lawrence Konner
Based on Characters 
by Diane Thomas
Starring Michael Douglas
Kathleen Turner
Danny DeVito
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography Jan De Bont
Edited by Peter Boita
Michael Ellis
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • December 11, 1985 (1985-12-11)
Running time 107 mins
Country France
Morocco
United States
Language English
Arabic
Budget $25 million[1]
Box office $96,773,200[2]

The Jewel of the Nile is a 1985 romantic adventure film, and a sequel to the 1984 film Romancing the Stone, with Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito reprising their roles. Directed by Lewis Teague, the film sends its characters off on a new adventure in a fictional African desert, in an effort to find the precious "Jewel of the Nile." Despite being a box office success, it was a disappointment in critical reviews.

Plot[edit]

Six months after the events in Romancing the Stone, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is having trouble writing her next romantic novel while living with Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) on his boat, the Angelina, which is currently docked in a South of France port, and she refuses to discuss marriage. Later that afternoon at a book signing engagement held by her publisher, Gloria (Holland Taylor), Joan meets a charming Arab ruler named Omar (Spiros Focás) who has managed to persuade the world that he is the firm, but fair, ruler of Kadir. Omar offers Joan the opportunity to live like a queen at his palace, while she writes a fluff piece about him. However, as soon as Joan leaves with Omar, Jack runs into Ralph (Danny DeVito). Ralph, a comical swindler from Jack's past, recently out of prison, plans on killing Jack for abandoning him to the authorities in Colombia, but is stopped by an Arab named Tarak (Paul David Magid), who tells Jack of Omar's true intentions. This includes the fact that he has their greatest treasure, the Jewel of the Nile, in his possession. Ralph, immediately interested at the prospect, agrees to help find the Jewel. Jack, however, is less than convinced. But seconds later, the Angelina explodes, having been sabotaged under Omar's orders. He then agrees to team up with Ralph and Tarak in order to track down the lost jewel in Omar's kingdom.

During her stay at his palace, Joan discovers that Omar is a brutal dictator, who imprisons her until she agrees to finish the fluff piece that will introduce him to the world as an enlightened ruler that will unite the Arab world. In the palace jail she meets a holy man, Al-Julhara (Arabic for 'The Jewel'), (Avner Eisenberg), who is in fact the Jewel of the Nile. Realizing that he is the only one who can stop Omar, Joan offers to take Al-Julhara to Kadir herself. The pair escape the palace, and with the help of Jack (who hijacks an F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet), are able to flee Omar's army into the desert. Ralph, who provides much of the film's comic relief, is left to fend for himself in the desert and thus joins with the rebel Sufi tribe led by Tarak that has sworn to protect the Jewel so he can fulfill his destiny.

After Jack's battle for Joan's hand, with the son of a Nubian mountain African tribe chief, Joan breaks the news to Jack, that the Jewel is in fact Al-Julhara who is the true spiritual leader of the Arab people. Omar plans on using a British rock & roll technician's (Daniel Peacock) smoke and mirrors special effects at an upcoming festival, planned by Omar, to convince the Arab world that he is in fact a prophet that will unite the Arab world under his rule. Jack, Joan and Al-Julhara decide to crash the festival in Kadir and unmask Omar as the fraud that he is. However, they are all captured and Omar sets up an elaborate and fiendish trap from The Savage Secret, Joan's most popular novel. Jack and Joan are suspended over a deep pit; the ropes holding up Jack are soaked with goat's blood and being rapidly chewed away by rats, while those supporting Joan are slowly being dissolved by drops of acid. Al-Julhara, however, is simply locked up in stocks. As Omar leaves them to their fate, they are found later and inadvertently saved by Ralph, who along with Tarak and his Sufi followers have come to rescue Al-Julhara.

As Omar takes center stage to address the Arab people, Jack and Joan disrupt the ceremony while Tarak and the Sufi battle Omar's guards below. A fire breaks out when part of Omar's platform apparatus crashes into the stage, engulfing it in flames. Jack and Joan are separated in the chaos and Omar corners her at the top of the burning scaffolding surrounding the stage. With help from Ralph, Jack rides a crane to the top of the scaffolding and knocks Omar over the side and down into the flames below just as he is about to kill Joan. Once Omar is killed, Al-Julhara rises as the real spiritual leader and Jack and Joan are finally married by Al-Julhara himself the following day. While he is genuinely happy for Jack and Joan, Ralph laments sadly that once again, he has nothing to show for his efforts. But he is then acknowledged as being a true Sufi by Tarak, signified by being presented with a priceless jeweled dagger. Ralph is genuinely touched and happily accepts the gift. The film ends with Jack and Joan sailing down the Nile as Al-Julhara and his people, along with Ralph, Tarak, the Sufi and Gloria wave goodbye from the river's dock.

Cast[edit]

  • Paul David Magid as Tarak
  • Howard Jay Patterson as Barak
  • Randall Edwin Nelson as Karak
  • Samuel Ross Williams as Arak
  • Timothy Daniel Furst as Sarak

Response[edit]

While The Jewel of the Nile grossed more than its predecessor,[3] the film was much less successful critically and helped to effectively kill the franchise,[citation needed] although it was said at the time that both Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas only made the sequel because they were contractually obligated to do so.[4] At one point during pre-production, Turner tried to back out of the project, and 20th Century Fox threatened her with a $25 million lawsuit.[5] Turner, Douglas, and DeVito would later reunite in the unrelated film The War of the Roses.

Critics felt the film was loaded with numerous plot holes and that it lacked the first film's original charm. The New York Times opened its review by writing, "There's nothing in The Jewel of the Nile that wasn't funnier or more fanciful in Romancing the Stone."[6] Roger Ebert agreed that "it is not quite the equal of Romancing the Stone," but praised the interplay between Douglas and Turner. "It seems clear," he wrote, "that they like each other and are having fun during the parade of ludicrous situations in the movie, and their chemistry is sometimes more entertaining than the contrivances of the plot."[4]

Soundtrack[edit]

"When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going", performed by Billy Ocean, plays during the film's end credits. Douglas, Turner, and DeVito also co-starred with Ocean in the MTV music video of the same name. The soundtrack features 1980s rap group Whodini and their single "The Freaks Come Out at Night" as Michael Douglas and company make their way through the desert on camel back[7] as well as "Party (No Sheep Is Safe Tonight)" by The Willesden Dodgers during the campfire party scene.

Production notes[edit]

As with the first film, the novelization of the sequel was credited to Joan Wilder, the character played by Kathleen Turner; both books were actually ghost written by Catherine Lanigan. [8]

Approximately two weeks before principal photography began, a plane carrying Richard Dawking (production designer) and Brian Coates (production manager) crashed during location scouting over the countryside of Morocco, killing all on board. The film is dedicated to the memory of Dawking and Coates, as well as Diane Thomas.

The Jewel of the Nile was the final film released on the RCA SelectaVision CED video format.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p260
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Box Office Mojo: The Jewel of the Nile
  4. ^ a b "The Jewel of the Nile". by Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times. 1985-12-11. Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  5. ^ "The Last Movie Star". Entertainment Weekly. 1991-08-02. Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (1985-12-11). "Film: 'Jewel of the Nile'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  7. ^ 80s Music Channel: The Freaks Come Out at Night
  8. ^ The Amazon.com page to The Jewel of the Nile novelization, mentioning Lanigan's ghost authorship. http://www.amazon.com/Jewel-Nile-Catherine-Lanigan-Wilder/dp/B003X6759C/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355363409&sr=1-3&keywords=the+jewel+of+the+nile

External links[edit]