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Directed by John Mulius, the film The Wind and the Lion is a masterpiece that tackles both social and political historical issues in a dramatic way. This movie explores real life events that took place in Morocco in 1904 when Raisuli, a Berber chieftain kidnapped Ion Perdicaris, an American. Interestingly, the kidnapping resulted to the two becoming friends, something that saw Ion Perdicaris’ unscathed release.
Running from power conflict between France, Britain, America, and German in Morocco in 1904, through President Theodore Roosevelt bid to win a re-election, to the eventual war between Americans and Germans, The Wind and the Lion is a howling, politically incorrect film that fetes martial virtues, the ultimate victory of good over evil and honor. It also celebrates the United States of America bid to become a super power in the face of the world.
It is important to note that, John Mulius has always been politically incorrect. “John Mullis is a proud member of the National Rifle Association and has on occasion described himself as a ‘Zen fascist’, no doubt to needle his more liberal acquaintances” (Whittington Para. 6).
From a critical contemporary standpoint, this movie resonates well with the current situation between the United States of America and the Middle East. For acting reasons, Mulius changes the real life story a little bit by changing Ion Perdicaris from male to a female called Eden Perdicaris. Eden has two kids and they are caught in swoop pioneered by Raisuli.
John Mulius uses Raisuli deliberately as a symbol of his fascism. Raisuli is against the Moroccan authorities and this is why he kidnaps people especially women and children; men who cross his way are unlucky for he simply chops their heads. In his dealings, Raisuli realizes he has a big problem to deal with when he realizes he has crossed the path of the United States of America President, Theodore Roosevelt.
Due to the insatiable urge of the United States of America to wield world power, Roosevelt offers military support to deal with Raisuli. He sends a message saying, “Perdicaris alive, or Raisuli dead” (Mulius). By chipping in this act, Mulius is celebrating the power wielding nature of the United States of America.
Taking into consideration that the movie was released in 1975, “when the fall of South East Asia had cemented the conventional wisdom that all military intervention was folly” (Byron 19), Mulius fetes how the United States of America rose to super power. It has taken a very short time for Americans to run out of patience and intervene by throwing in their military support.
The reason why Raisuli kidnaps women and children is not to anger the Americans; he only wants to protest against the European rule in Morocco. However, the Americans have a different agenda and despite the fact that French and German soldiers are on the ground, Americans move to offer their suspicious support.
As aforementioned, in 1975, military intervention was unwelcome; nevertheless, the U.S chooses to carry on with her attacks sweeping Tangiers streets and palace arresting Bashaw, a force to reckon with in the country. All this takes place as the amazed European soldiers and diplomats watch who are now visibly insulted.
Why are the Americans intervening in a situation that appears to be under control? Mulius uses this act as a way of celebrating the nature is the United States of America to dominate the world with her uncalled for interventions whilst trying to maintain her honor.
At the end, Mrs. Perdicaris has to be ransomed with gold and some other concessions. Raisuli takes his captives to a distant village where he is to receive the ransom. Unfortunately, the Germans who are in waiting capture him after rescuing Mrs. Perdicaris and her children. However, America has to maintain her honor and Mrs. Perdicaris notes that the German soldiers have to play by the rules and release Raisuli to uphold the American honor.
However, the German soldiers cannot bear the nonsense of releasing a criminal under the pretext of keeping an honor. Consequently, fight breaks out between the Germans and the Americans and the French soldiers rescue Raisuli in the ensuing melee. Roosevelt wins the elections and reads Raisuli’s letter saying, “I (Raisuli), like the lion, must stay in my place, while you, like the wind, will never know yours” (Mulius).
The United States of America’s agenda to wield super power comes out clearly in this movie. Raisuli is only trying to protest against European rule in Morocco; however, Roosevelt loses his patience and intervenes to save the situation.
Note that during this time military intervention is unnecessary; however, America decides to go against what many European authorities considers wisdom and launches attack on Raisuli. Even though the Americans appear to help the Germans, they eventually wage war against them in the pretext of keeping honor that they had made with Raisuli. This film is politically incorrect with Mulius echoing America’s hunger for power and honor.
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Byron, Stuart. “The Wind and the Lion (1975). New York Magazine. 1979. Web.
Mulius, John. “The Wind and the Lion.” Herb Jaffe, 1975.
Whittington, Mark. “The Wind and the Lion: John Milius’ Politically Incorrect Epic.” 2006. Web.