Down 98,195 this week

The Sultan's Wife (1917)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 93 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

On a sailing trip, sweethearts Bobby and Gloria arrive in a very sinister-looking India, where an evil rajah attempts to force Gloria into his harem.


0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 2753 titles
created 31 May 2011
list image
a list of 1092 titles
created 24 Oct 2011
list image
a list of 9883 titles
created 29 Oct 2013
a list of 537 titles
created 07 Jan 2014
a list of 45 titles
created 28 Apr 2014

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Sultan's Wife (1917)

The Sultan's Wife (1917) on IMDb 6.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Sultan's Wife.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming, Ernest Torrence
Spring Fever (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

To impress a wealthy young woman, a clerk pretends he is a pro-golfer.

Director: Edward Sedgwick
Stars: William Haines, Joan Crawford, George K. Arthur
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Lady Mary Lasenby is a spoiled maiden who always gets her way until shipwrecked with her butler, then learns which qualities are really admirable in a person.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Thomas Meighan, Theodore Roberts, Raymond Hatton
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A toreador's familial and social life is threatened when he has an affair.

Directors: Fred Niblo, Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Rosa Rosanova, Rudolph Valentino, Nita Naldi
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young American has her ship torpedoed by a German U-boat but makes it back to ancestral home in France, where she witnesses German brutality firsthand.

Directors: Cecil B. DeMille, Joseph Levering
Stars: Mary Pickford, Jack Holt, Raymond Hatton
The Sheik (1921)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A charming Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert.

Director: George Melford
Stars: Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres, Ruth Miller
The Cheat (1915)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A venal, spoiled stockbroker's wife impulsively embezzles $10,000 from the charity she chairs and desperately turns to a Burmese ivory trader to replace the stolen money.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Fannie Ward, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Dean
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An extended family split up in France and Germany find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield during World War I.

Director: Rex Ingram
Stars: Rudolph Valentino, Alice Terry, Pomeroy Cannon
Foolish Wives (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George
7th Heaven (1927)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Ben Bard
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young woman at life's crossroads is granted mystic visions of how her decisions will affect her future life.

Director: Albert Parker
Stars: Gloria Swanson, John Boles, Pauline Garon
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A prostitute's self-loathing makes her reluctant to marry an idealistic soldier during World War One.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd


Cast overview:
Joseph Callahan ...
The Rajah
Frank Bond ...
The Prime Minister
Blanche Payson ...
Harem Matron
Teddy the Dog ...
Teddy the Dog


On a sailing trip, sweethearts Bobby and Gloria arrive in a very sinister-looking India, where an evil rajah attempts to force Gloria into his harem.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short





Release Date:

30 September 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caught in a Harem  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Plucky Americans Confront Wicked Foreigners in Turbans (*sigh*)
23 February 2003 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

This two-reel comedy was the final entry of a 1916-7 series which cast young Gloria Swanson opposite boyish Bobby Vernon, but it also holds the melancholy distinction of being the one of the last comedies produced by Mack Sennett for Keystone, the company he founded. By the time The Sultan's Wife was finished, and well before it was released in September of 1917, Sennett had departed to set up a new studio under his own name. For a few more months, other hands attempted to run the studio and hoped to profit off the well-known Keystone name, but the new arrangement obviously didn't work out, and eventually they threw in the towel and shut the place down.

So much for background. Is The Sultan's Wife a good comedy, still worth a viewer's time? Well, in my opinion, "No." It's slapdash and perfunctory, perhaps reflecting the low morale of a studio on the verge of disbanding. There's very little here for anyone seeking laughs, although this movie may be of interest for historically-minded viewers, not because it's one of Sennett's last Keystone productions but because of the rather ugly picture it paints of American attitudes towards foreigners at a time of world crisis, six months after the U.S. had entered the Great War.

The story concerns a young couple, Gloria and Bobby. Bobby is in the Navy, and Gloria is the daughter of his commanding officer, who disapproves of the relationship for unexplained reasons. There's no explanation for Gloria's presence on this voyage with hundreds of sailors either, but then, the plots of Keystone comedies were never their selling point. As swiftly as possible it's established that Gloria and Bobby have landed together in India, where the rest of the U.S. Navy promptly vanishes until they're needed later on. It's too bad the filmmakers didn't concoct a more appropriate name for the exotic, sinister-looking place where the action is set -- something along the lines of Sylvania or Klopstokia -- because calling it "India" would be insulting if the movie weren't so lightweight. Let's just say that the story is set in Hollywood's idea of the Mysterious Orient, an imaginary land that looks as if it was designed by Dr. Seuss, where evil rajahs keep harems and the girls dance a lot. Bobby is immediately interested in flirting, and calls what the girls are doing "the Hindoo hop." The homely, buck-toothed rajah who is the villain of the piece sees Gloria and, of course, wants to add her to his collection, so he has one of his henchmen capture her by throwing a switch which opens a trapdoor underneath the bench where she's sitting. The switch is located inside a bust of a Buddha. That's right, a Buddha. Do you suspect that the people who made this movie didn't know much about India?

Eventually the plot goes out the funny-shaped window as the rest of the running time is taken up with chases, mistaken identity, and weak gags based on illogical behavior. Teddy the Keystone Dog, who was so memorable coming to the rescue in Teddy at the Throttle, reappears here to considerably less effect. It's typical of the sloppy film-making on display that when Teddy is shown running past the cyclorama, i.e. the familiar revolving background of trees seen in so many Sennett comedies, nobody cared that it looked nothing at all like the "India" where our story is supposedly set. But the most striking thing here is the depiction of the natives: "India," it seems, is made up of filthy beggars, sexy dancing girls, evil rulers and their henchmen. The second most striking thing here is that the story quickly becomes incoherent. Finally, as things get completely chaotic, American sailors show up with guns firing in all directions, mopping up the situation in customary fashion.

So, in short, The Sultan's Wife is hackwork. I suppose one shouldn't read too much into it, but considering the historical period when it was made it's hard not to draw parallels with contemporaneous American attitudes towards the outside world. After resisting for almost three years, the U.S. had been drawn into a "foreign" war, and our boys were being trained and sent Over There in large numbers. To a lot of Americans, the outside world was a nebulous concept -- vague, and scary. It's difficult for us to recapture the cultural isolation of that era, long before T.V. or the Internet or even radio were bringing information from around the world into most American homes. The "India" of this film wouldn't have looked at all ridiculous to a lot of unschooled viewers, and it may be worth pondering just how much misinformation about other cultures Americans have absorbed from the movies, even inconsequential short comedies such as The Sultan's Wife.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Sultan's Wife (1917) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: