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Grounded in kitsch, Arabesque still packs an erotic wallop

 Gay Video Review Gay Video Reviews Archive  
April 2006 Email this to a friend
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By Giacomo Tramontagna

Rating: 4 Stars
Produced by Chris Ward and Michael Brandon. Directed by Chris Ward. Videography by Ben Leon. Music by J.D. Slater. Starring Huessein, Remy Delaine, François Sagat, Manuel Torres, Sarib, Cory Koons, Colin West, Ivan Andros, Joey Milano, Dario Granada, Joey Russo, and TC.
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Director Chris Ward weights this color-saturated three-hour epic with clips from Rudolph Valentino's black-and-white forays into date-palm-and-camel romance. "Women­ bah! Heed them not, for today's peach is tomorrow's prune," says the silent star in an intertitled excerpt from Son of the Sheik (1926). In that film, Valentino disregards his own advice and tussles with Vilma Banky. But in Arabesque, the all-male cast remains true to the Great Lover's counsel, tussling exclusively with one another. Valentino, dubbed "The Pink Powder Puff" by contemporary critics, might have envied their fate.

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The Valentino clips put Arabesque in its proper context: Westerners' erotic reveries of Arab men. Authenticity is beside the point. Among the predominantly dark and hirsute 12-man cast, perhaps three models can claim Middle Eastern ties. Not everyone is circumcised (though, to be fair, foreskins are hard to spot); some models have decidedly non-Arabian piercings and tattoos. Sharp-eyed viewers will recognize parts of the Bay Area mansion Ward used to evoke Costa Rica in Passport to Paradise, redecorated to look as if it's just been vacated by Maria Montez and the cast of Cobra Woman.

Grounded in kitsch, Arabesque still packs an erotic wallop. The seven sex scenes peak early, in a marketplace orgy. Five men stop haggling over rugs and other goods, reach inside one another's loose-fitting trousers, and merge into a naked, sweat-soaked tangle. Jet-bearded newcomer Sarib steals the show by tonguing the head of his own cock while Huessein fucks him. There are four explosive duos, the best of which pairs black-pelted Huessein with French-Slovak sex machine François Sagat. Satyr-faced Manuel Torres gets a solo, then reappears to join Huessein, Sagat, and Joey Milano for a round of rutting.

A second, supplementary disc contains bonus scenes expropriated from Raiders of the Lost Arse (2001) and A Porn Star Is Born (2003); a conversation between French Raging Stallion colleagues Taurus and François Sagat; QTV footage of Remy Delaine touring San Francisco on a Segway; and the usual behind-the-scenes featurette.

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