Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.
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Americans Sgt. Peter O'Gaffney and one of his soldiers, privileged "pretty boy" W. Daingerfield Phelps III (who is always drawing caricatures), are captured and interred at a POW camp in Northern Germany near the end of WWI. Their relationship has always been an antagonistic one based on what Phelps sees as O'Gaffney pushing him around. O'Gaffney's rank is despite being wanted by the police back home as a con man. It is because of these differences that their resulting friendship at camp is so unlikely, the friendship based on both having the nerve to attempt to escape. On a snow covered day, they do manage to escape, in part by stealing white robes to camouflage themselves against the snow. In their adventures and misadventures on the outside in trying to get to safety, those adventures which include being mistaken for Arab prisoners, they find themselves as stowaways on board a cargo ship headed to Arabia. It is there that they meet a beautiful Arab woman named Mirza, who they save ... Written by
The print for this film that was found was recovered just in the nick of time - there are points in the film where severe damage (and near-disintegration) can be seen, although the restorers did their utmost to undo the damage. See more »
TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS has been restored by Flicker Alley and TCM after being unavailable for decades. The film is the only recipient of the "Best Direction of a Comedy Film" Academy Award that was only given out in 1927-1928. William Boyd and Louis Wolheim are two feuding G.I.s that are both captured by the Germans in World War I. The film is more of an adventure/comedy rather than a straight comedy. They have a suspenseful escape from their prison camp, only to be recaptured and sent to Turkey. They end up being stuck on a train, and a ship, as well as well as being marked for death by an Arab suitor. A very young and beautiful Mary Astor is a veiled woman who boards the ship and is a target of romantic advances by both men. Look fast to spot a very young Boris Karloff as the ship purser. Louis Wolheim has a face only a mother could love, but he is perfect in his part as the gruff sergeant.
I'm not sure how this film could have beaten out Chaplin's THE CIRCUS, Keaton's STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. and Harold Lloyd's SPEEDY for the "comedy direction" Oscar. Still, it is a fun, sophisticated, and exciting film that is well written. I particularly liked the scene where they escape from a jam with a little help from God (or Allah). If you like silent films, you won't be disappointed.
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