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Desert Nights (1929)

Passed  -  Adventure | Drama | Romance  -  9 March 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 879 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

A con man with his beautiful accomplice and a hostage steals a half million dollars worth of diamonds but finds they're all lost in the desert without water.



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Title: Desert Nights (1929)

Desert Nights (1929) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Complete credited cast:
Hugh Rand
Ernest Torrence ...
Lord Stonehill
Mary Nolan ...
Lady Diana Stonehill


Hugh Roland is the manager of an African diamond mine, when Lord Stonehill and his daughter Diana arrive to visit the mine. He immediately takes a liking to the lovely Diana, but unfortunately they turn out to be imposters who seize a tray of diamonds and kidnap him while escaping to the desert. Not knowing how to survive in the desert, the two eventually must rely on Hugh to find water and get them out. Written by Robert Tonsing <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

diamond | desert | water | hostage | con man | See more »


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Release Date:

9 March 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Thirst  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(alternate version)| (Movietone) (musical score and sound effects)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Gilbert's last silent film. Later that year he would make his disastrous sound debut in His Glorious Night (1929). See more »


Assistant manager: [after reading telegram] A woman from home! Haven't seen a white woman in years.
Hugh Rand: Don't expect too much. No beauty would come to this desolate hole.
[Takes the telegram]
Hugh Rand: I bet she's an old maid - bow-legged and cross-eyed.
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User Reviews

The End Of The Beginning For John Gilbert
4 December 2000 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Kidnapped by jewel thieves, the manager of a British diamond mining operation in Africa spends long DESERT NIGHTS plotting his escape...

John Gilbert is most enjoyable in this lively yarn, his last starring performance in a silent film (he would appear in the William Haines' picture A MAN'S MAN, which was released a few months after DESERT NIGHTS, but that was in a cameo role as himself). His verve & vitality propel the (sometimes silly) plot and make the movie into a very enjoyable action picture.

Ernest Torrence - in a fine portrayal - makes a florid, hammy villain. Beautiful Mary Nolan enacts the sort of woman any red-blooded male viewer would gladly walk the Kalahari to gain.

By 1929 silent films were truly an art form in their own right. (Witness the piano sequence early in the picture, with Gilbert & Nolan waltzing on the porch, to see the kind of nuance possible in this not-so-silent medium.) MGM was at the apex of the industry & Jack Gilbert was the Studio's greatest male star. Which is what makes DESERT NIGHTS so poignant. Before the year ended silent cinema, that most emotionally penetrating of all the photo dramas, would be dead & Gilbert's career would be dying. A new crop of stars would be on the rise & Noise would be king.

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