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The crownThe fifth season of picks up with events that some viewers may remember from the plethora of tabloid coverage around the royal family in the 1990s.Imelda Staunton) reign in earlier seasons is somewhat limited, Princess Diana’s lifespan (Elisabeth Debicki) has been overwhelmed with countless retrospectives and documentaries, including this year’s Sundance hit Princess. The season mainly focuses on Diana after her separation from Prince Charles (Dominica West), and his first meeting with his eventual partner Dodi Al-Fayed (Khalid Abdella). Unlike the royal family, Al-Fayed was a friend of Hollywood and even took part in the production of one of the most famous British films in history.

Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw), was born in Egypt and became an adviser to the Sultan of Brunei in 1966. After moving to England in the 1970s, Al-Fayed became very wealthy through his position on the board of the mining conglomerate Lonrho. Al-Fayed’s later business ventures included Fulham football club, House of Fraser department store, luxury department store chain Harrods, and several Hollywood ventures. After being approached with the script for chariots of fireAl-Fayed chose to finance the project.

RELATED: ‘The Crown’ Season 5: The Real Story Behind Diana’s Bombshell Panorama Interview

What is “Chariots of Fire” about?


chariots of fire is a monumental achievement in the history of cinema. The 1981 biographical film tells the true story of British Olympic champions Eric Liddell (Ben Cross) and Harold Abrahams (Ian Charlesson), who represented their country at the 1924 Olympics. Although Eric was a devout Catholic and Harold was Jewish, they overcame prejudice to win gold medals. The film is considered a classic in the sports genre and is best known for its Oscar-winning score by Vangelis. It won the Best Picture Oscar, as well as other trophies, and beat out popular contenders like Reds and The Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was listed on the British Film Institute’s all-time list and was adapted as a stage play in 2012.

Al-Fayed’s Involvement in “Chariots of Fire”

Picture via Netflix

Producer David Puttnam had been inspired by his father, Len, to create a film about the Olympic Games. Puttnam attended Eltham College at the same time as the Al-Fayed family lawyer. According to Puttnam, “the lawyer was so enthusiastic about the project that at one point it all went wrong because Al-Fayed began to suspect, and wrongly, that there was some kind of malpractice going on. ”. The scenario of Colin Welland had been deemed a “non-starter” by Hollywood studios and had languished in development hell for years. Due to the lack of action and romance, it was deemed not to be commercially viable.

Al-Fayed coped with the stress of a very chaotic production. Filming had to be put on hold when several actors reported injuries, and filling an audience of 7,000 people for the actual games footage proved difficult. Cross and Charleson reportedly had conflicts on set, which made their friendship difficult to capture on screen. The expensive production also included several international trips to film in Scotland and Paris. First Time Director Hugues Hudson was under pressure to maintain the film’s upbeat nature as the setting was seemingly cursed.

Although Al-Fayed viewed the project as a doomed venture, he saw it as an opportunity to support his son. At the time, Dodi was a playboy known for his erratic behavior. Al-Fayed saw giving his son control of the Allied Stars production company as an opportunity to expand his business knowledge. Puttnam remarked in 2012 that “the idea of ​​him being an executive producer was always going to be hopeless because he had the average chip’s attention span.” According Tina Brownit is The Chronicles of DianaPuttnam should have forcibly removed Dodi from the set when he discovered he had brought cocaine and shared it with numerous cast members.

‘Chariots of Fire’s Reception and Legacy

chariots of fire
Image via Warner Bros.

While initial reactions to the film’s London premiere were lukewarm, it subsequently received enthusiastic praise from international critics. It became the highest-grossing British film of 1981, earning £106,484 in its first four weeks alone. While international films were generally not the highest grossing in the United States, the film’s North American total of $59 million was enough to break the all-time record for an export film, surpassing the record established by Meatballs two years ago. Al-Fayed made £6.5million after becoming an international hit.

chariots of fire was considered a classic over the next few years, setting a new standard for sports films and sparking a wave of national pride. In 2012, Al-Fayed said that “young sports fans around the world found inspiration in the film that Dodi believed in and helped produce”. Interest in the project increased when a parody featuring Rowan Atkinson made its debut at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. Ironically, the ceremony was hosted by Mr Kenneth Branaghwho made his acting debut in a minor role in chariots of fire.

The 2012 Olympics coincided with a UK theatrical re-release and a Blu-ray remaster. It inspired a stage adaptation featuring James McArdle and Jack Loweden the same year, which featured additional compositions by Vangelis. Dodi became a prominent figure in England, which led to his first encounter with Princess Diana, as seen in season 5 of The crown. Dodi and Diana were later killed in a car crash in 1997 after being chased by tabloid reporters.

The crown Season 5 is now available to stream on Netflix.

Did the Al-Fayeds really produce chariots of fire? – CNET