Pete Johnson and Harvey D. Garvey, two inept magicians on tour in the Middle Eastern kingdom of Barabeeha, help disenfranchised young Prince Ramo regain his throne from his devious Uncle Nimativ, who uses two magical hypnotic rings and ruthless methods to maintain his power. By posing as Hollywood talent scouts the boys break out of a dank dungeon with a deranged derelict, evade palace guards, elude the palace executioner, and avoid detection in the forbidden royal harem. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We've got to outsmart Uncle Nimativ. You go in and outwit him.
Why should I go out with him? I'm afraid of that man!
Not to go out with him. Go in and outwit him.
Why should I go in and go out wth him? I mean, he don't appeal to me!
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"Lost In A Harem" is Abbott and Costello's second Universal loan-out to MGM. As such, the film benefits from MGM's always excellent production values, but loses much in the fact that MGM didn't have a big comedy unit.
Bud and Lou play entertainers stranded in the Middle East with singer Marilyn Maxwell. They are enlisted by a Sheik who schemes to overthrow his evil uncle with their help.
A&C aren't bad, but there appears to be some energy missing from their performance. This is probably due to Lou's tough year in 1943; his bout with Rheumatic Fever, coupled with his son's tragic death, undoubtedly contributed to this (this was their first filmed effort in 1944, although "In Society," filmed after this, was released earlier.) A&C's carbon copy of the Three Stooges' "Niagara Falls" routine doesn't help either. Musical numbers abound, padding the film length to an unwieldly (at least, for A&C) 89 minutes. Also probably contributing to the downturn in humor was the team's pay cut at MGM! The print used in the video version is scratchy, which also doesn't help matters.
There are other funny moments, including seeing Jimmy Dorsey in a fez, but the tedium in the film outweighs moments of hilarity, keeping "Lost In a Harem" a notch below the team's middling efforts. All in all, A&C were better off at Universal. 5 out of 10.
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