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Michael Palin - Sahara

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Michael Palin: Sahara (Dbl DVD)

Michael Palin's Sahara adventure is one of the great challenges in world travel. In this exhausting journey, Michael will pass through the rock of Gibraltar to Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and beyond. His route will take him across sand-seas, along treacherous rivers, through oases and over mountain ranges. The remote regions are characterized by ceaseless travel, from camel caravans to car rallies, but Michael Palin's love of traveling takes you to places many people will never know.

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If the mere sight of Michael Palin striding purposefully towards the camera across some foreign terrain is enough to send you into fits of delight, then Sahara is just for you. Following his three pan-global expeditions, Palin is back on the exploration trail. This time it's traversing the Sahara desert; traveling from Gibraltar through Tangiers and the Arab world down through Africa and some of the most inhospitable conditions on the planet. The formula that Palin established in Around the World In Eighty Days has hardly been tampered with, but Sahara is proof that there are few better exponents of the travelogue. Palin is an engaging host, far more attractive than the extreme survival merchants, walking the fine line between experienced traveler and slightly eccentric Englishman abroad. The program also strikes a perfect balance between grand visual gestures (the camerawork is simply stunning) and focusing on the individual lives that characterize the region, all underpinned by Palin's unique brand of humor. This is one to return to again and again.

Sahara comes in at a mere four one-hour episodes and the producers were left with a huge amount of unused footage. Thus the DVD features a large selection of deleted scenes. The excellent set of extras also includes a collection of rough video diaries--mainly featuring Palin being pummeled by the elements--and an extensive interview with the presenter. The picture quality is fantastic (particularly compared to Palin's earlier series), as is the digital sound. The whole package is thoroughly recommended. --Phil Udell


Special Features

Interviews: Exclusive interview with Michael Palin Other: Behind the scenes footageInterviews: Exclusive interview with Michael Palin Other: Behind the scenes footageInterviews: Exclusive interview with Michael Palin Other: Behind the scenes footageInterviews: Exclusive interview with Michael Palin Other: Behind the scenes footageInterviews: Exclusive interview with Michael Palin Other: Behind the scenes footageInterviews: Exclusive interview with Michael Palin Other: Behind the scenes footage

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Palin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 236 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E0OE30
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,894 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Michael Palin - Sahara" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Rennie Petersen on January 29, 2006
Format: DVD
"Sahara" is a travelogue made for the BBC in 2001. Michael Palin and a camera crew traveled around the Sahara Desert and recorded their experiences. This resulted in four one-hour episodes that were shown on TV, and are now available on DVD.

The trip started at Gibraltar and went all the way around, and sometimes into, the Sahara Desert, through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria again, Ceuta, and back to Gibraltar. Some of these countries are huge, for example, Algeria is four times the size of France or three times the size of Texas. The Sahara Desert is roughly the same size as the United States, and the trip covered 10,000 miles and took three months.

The Sahara Desert is so close to well-known Europe (just on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea) and is yet almost totally unknown to most of us in the West. In "Sahara" this veil of ignorance is lifted.

All of the Michael Palin travelogue programs feature his wit and charm and exuberance, and "Sahara" is no exception. It was a very impressive trip, with many special Palin-style encounters with interesting people. And, of course, beautiful pictures from the desert and the picturesque ancient cities like Fez and Timbuktu.

Still, I'm giving only four stars to "Sahara" instead of the five stars I've given to most of the other Michael Palin travelogue programs.

My reduced enthusiasm for "Sahara" is related to the fact that most of the countries he visited this time are ones that represent many problems. Heat, drought, poverty, begging, sickness, cultures in decline, refusal to accept the modern world, political instability, even barbaric traditions (female circumcision).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chirp on May 15, 2006
Format: DVD
Compared to his Himalaya this is closer to the "old Palin" that I remember. Gritty to a degree, honest and fascinating narrative accompanied with beautiful footage makes this an amazing must see. Mr Palin's charisma comes thru to cut thru any national barriers and unite the people of this world in another fine adventure. A must have in any travellers collection!!

We just need ALL of his journeys in DVD, THEN we would all be happy :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gimme Some Truth on March 14, 2007
Format: DVD
Tragically, it is not easy to get access to BBC shows in the USA. There are some truly great series, for example all the travel series done by Michael Palin (some more amazing than others, but all very good). You might recognize him from his days as a star in Monty Python or from the film "A Fish Called Wanda." Part of what makes him a great travel series host is that he retains his humor while exploring extremely fascinating parts of the globe. His series are very balanced, informative, and entertaining all at the same time.

The most refreshing thing about his series is that they are not presented as "look at all these great touristic places I have been," but rather the camera is more of a silent witness to his adventures. It really just follows him as he sets out to do his carefully researched itineraries ("Around the World in 80 Days," "Pole to Pole," "Full Circle," "Sahara," "Himalaya") or themes ("Hemingway Adventure," "Palin's New Europe"). His style is both objective and subjective. Whilst retaining a journalistic like objectivity he also lets you know how he subjectively feels about the places he visits and about how he personally feels in regards to his personal health both physically and psychologically: he shares his apprehensions, feelings of triumph or defeat, relief or disparity, amazement and disappointments, mourning or elation or even neutrality, sickness and homesickness or feelings of health; in other words, his style is to bring the richness of a written travelogue to film. You get the feeling that you are watching his diary; for example, when he does his post trip/editing room voice-overs and other commentary, he adds his comments from it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Drennan on January 26, 2006
Format: DVD
After watching his various other adventures, such as his "Around the World in 80 days" and "Himalaya", I kind of knew what to expect from this outing. Thankfully, I was not disappointed, and was eager for more!

His journey begins in Gibraltar, in the more 'familiar' setting of an island with a lot of British heritage, before he heads south to Morocco. After seeing some of the most amazing sites in the various cities there - including an ancient cloth dying area, with huge vats of dye - he moves on through the Atlas mountains to the south. They briefly stop at a Berber village, and witness a traditional Berber wedding ceremony, which is different in character to those we would expect in a (majority) Muslim country.

One of the most remarkable places he stops on this leg of the journey, is a refugee camp literally in the middle of the desert. The people are refugees by virtue of them wanting to remain free, and not part of the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The camp is more like a village, but the nearest good drinking water is over 50 miles away!

After that he travels to Mauritania, and then travels towards Senegal "first class" on a 2km long iron-ore train. The cabin consists of some cramped quarters where people can lie down and look out of a hole ("window") for the journey. Other passengers do not fare so well, and lay out a mat on top of the iron ore, sitting on that for the 6+hr long journey through the blazing sun.

Once in Senegal, it looks like being in France - the reflections of colonialism are intense. One of the most amazing things about this whole journey, is how Michael manages to get by using his abilities in French - everyone seems to understand it, regardless of the country!
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