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Forgotten Films That Capture The Nile (VIDEO)

Posted: 09/07/11 10:16 AM ET

Forget Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot unraveling the deadly mendacities of a steamer full of wealthy foreign tourists. Divorce your gaze from the spray-tanned Elizabeth Taylor and her cast of genuflecting thousands. For a cinematic glimpse of what life was like along the Nile in the glorious old and not-so-old days, check out these overlooked classics of exploration, identity, betrayal, and fear on the world's longest river.

General Idi Amin Dada
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Barbet Schroeder and cameraman Nestor Almendros were given extraordinary access to Idi Amin for what the Ugandan dictator apparently believed would be a tribute to his greatness. The surreal result depicts Amin playing the accordion with a jazz band, chummily upbraiding his foreign minister (who was later found floating dead in the Nile), and directing his military in a make-believe assault on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. Laugh if you want at this quintessential cartoon tyrant, but the entire film is laced with terror.
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Dan Morrison's reporting has taken him from BBQs with the Latin Kings street gang to ride-alongs with the police assassins of Bombay. He is author of The Black Nile, an account of his 3,600-mile journey down the Nile River through Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt, published by Viking Penguin.