5 user 2 critic

Abdul the Damned (1935)

Passed | | Drama, History | 10 May 1936 (USA)
In 1908, Sultan Abdul Hamid faces resistance from the Young Turk party, while also becoming infatuated with a visiting Austrian singer.



(story), (dialogue) | 5 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fritz Kortner ...
Sultan Abdul Hamid II / Kelar - his double
Chief of Police Kadar-Pasha
Capt. Talak-Bey
Therese Alder
Ali - Chief Eunuch (as Esmé Percy)
Gen. Hilmi-Pasha
Omar - Hilmi's Attache
Clifford Heatherley ...
Court Doctor
Henry B. Longhurst ...
General of the Bodyguards (as Henry Longhurst)
Annie Esmond ...
Therese's Train Companion
H. Saxon-Snell ...
Chief Interrogator (as H. Saxon Snell)
Officer of the Firing Squad
Robert Naylor ...
Opera Singer


In 1908, Sultan Abdul Hamid rules the Turkish Empire, but he is faced with the threat of revolt by the Young Turk party. He allows Hilmi Pasha, the leader of the Young Turks, to return from exile and form the country's first constitutional government. With tensions still growing, chief of police Kadar Pasha assassinates Hassan Bey, the leader of the Old Turk party, and makes it look as if a Young Turk committed the crime, in order to give Abdul an excuse for arresting the Young Turk leaders. Meanwhile, Abdul becomes infatuated with a visiting Austrian singer. When she rejects his advances, she endangers both herself and her fiancé, a Turkish officer who also knows who really shot Hassan Bey. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A THOUSAND SPELLINGBINDING SIGHTS TO AMAZE YOU! (original USA lobby card-all caps) See more »


Drama | History


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 May 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abdul Hamid  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in My Family and Other Animals: Episode #1.3 (1987) See more »


Music by Hanns Eisler
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
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User Reviews

Interesting Historical Drama, With Good Performances From Kortner & Asther
13 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

This interesting historical drama is helped quite a bit by good performances from Fritz Kortner, in a dual role, and Nils Asther. It uses the historical situation near the end of the reign of Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II ("Abdul The Damned") as a basis for intrigue and melodrama. The setting itself is an interesting choice, as the nation of Turkey has a distinctive and important history that is too often little appreciated outside of its own borders.

The story has Kortner, as Abdul and as the Sultan's hapless double, along with Asther, as the suave but villainous chief of police, plotting to crush the reform-minded Young Turks, while Abdul also becomes increasingly infatuated with a visiting Austrian singer. Kortner gives an insightful portrayal of the tyrant, showing how his brutality comes from fear and inadequacy, rather than from strength. Asther seems to relish his role, and he has a number of good moments.

Although the historical setting and characters are often adapted for the sake of cinematic effect, it still communicates the basics of the actual historical situation in an interesting way that is worth seeing. Beyond that, it also offers a good, complex dramatic situation with two good leads, especially Kortner, who gives one of the better leading portrayals that you can find in the historical movies of the era.

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