Stanley Donen’s spy-thiller Arabesque stars Gregory Peck as Professor David Pollock, a specialist in Arabic hieroglyphics at Oxford University. He’s approached by a mysterious Arabian businessman, Nejim Beshraavi (Alan Badel), who offers him $30,000 to decipher a puzzling inscription. Ensconced in Beshraavi’s palatial home, he finds out the true owner is Yasmin Azir (Sophia Loren), who tells Pollock that once he solves the riddle, he will be killed, and that it holds the key to a peace treaty to be signed by an Arabian prime minister, who will also be assassinated.

Pollock, helped by Azir, escapes, but he now holds dangerous knowledge and Beshraavi sends his heavies on his trail. And how far can he trust Azir, who seems to be playing both ends against the middle? After the success of Donen’s Charade , this similarly themed spy thriller includes the requisite historical English locations to satisfy the American market but works because of the chemistry between Peck and Loren.

Cast: Gregory Peck, Alan Badel, Sophia Loren

Director: Stanley Donen