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The Guru (1969)/Lost film

February 9th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · 1960's, James Ivory, Lost film, Oregon director, Oregon film, Oregon film new definition

The Guru seems now to be a brightly colored fairy tale, a kind of 1960s fable, in which a muddled young urchin prince is deposited, via Air India’s flying carpet, in a land of broad rivers, oriental domes, and harems full of plotting ladies. In this ever-so-puzzling kingdom, ruled over by an insecure despot who can thunder one moment and summon up divine music the next, our urchin prince has many strange adventures. There are witches who cast evil spells, magic amulets, a courtesan who is strangled by her own strings of pearls, cups containing mind-altering brews, and ancient seers who deal out both encouragement and fierce rebuke.

At the end of all his trials, the young prince, now enlightened, boards his magic carpet to return to his own far off land. He is sheltering his treasure in his arms – the simple, good-hearted maiden he has set free from her imprisoning dreams, and who loves him. The Guru, the most unseen and mysterious of our movies, was Merchant Ivory’s version of a sixties trip. To me anyway, it holds up as well – though some might say no better than – any of the others of the genre that have survived.

From commentary by director James Ivory

I have not seen The Guru, starring Michael York and Rita Tushingham. I claim it as an Oregon film, as I will all James Ivory’s films, whether they star Rita Tushingham or not.

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