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W.S. Van Dyke
A racy story of Myrna, who arrives in Cairo to meet her fiance. She attracts the attention of Ramon, a conniving Arab guide who enchants rich women tourists in order to take advantage of them. She falls under his spell, and he turns out to be more than he seems. Written by
Robert Tonsing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Up The Nile & Across The Desert With Novarro & Loy
Kidnapped in the Egyptian desert, a beautiful American finds herself alternately loving & loathing THE BARBARIAN who abducted her.
Taken solely as romantic adventure, this lavish little MGM film has much to offer, including good acting & fine production values. Considered only from the standpoint of the plot, the story is ludicrous, what with a heroine suffering histrionics among the sand dunes & a hero who is a completely unprincipled cad.
Ramon Novarro does well in the title role, a reprise of his silent film THE ARAB (1924). MGM's Mexican star adds yet another ethnic stripe to his thespian escutcheon, this time portraying an Egyptian prince. Looking a little like a Valentino clone, he gets to sing & act in a variety of languages. Myrna Loy, who only gets billing below the title, is excellent as the Englishwoman caught-up in the allures & entrapments of the Nile Desert. After paying her dues in roles like this, she would very soon become a major Hollywood movie star.
In the very able supporting cast Reginald Denny plays Loy's stuffy fiancé; Edward Arnold is an unctuous pasha; Hedda Hopper appears briefly as an American tourist very pleased with Novarro's attentions. Wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith is well cast as Loy's eccentric uncle and elderly, tart-tongued Louise Closser Hale steals every scene she's in as Loy's peppery companion.
This film is definitely pre-Production Code vintage, a fact made plainly obvious by Loy's lounge-in-the-tub scene. Considered rationally, many of THE BARBARIAN's implications are rather disturbing. That Loy could only be happy with the man who has humiliated, beaten, abused & raped her are decidedly unwholesome ideas to come from the pen of screenwriter - and liberated woman - Anita Loos.
Novarro sings 'Love Songs of the Nile' quite well, but interminably. If it sounds suspiciously like his previous 'Pagan Love Song' hit, it may be because the two songs share the same composers, Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed.
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