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Lost in a Harem (1944)

Passed | | Comedy | December 1944 (USA)
Two bumbling magicians help a Middle Eastern prince regain his rightful throne from his despotic uncle.

Director:

(as Charles Riesner)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Marilyn Maxwell ...
Hazel Moon
John Conte ...
Prince Ramo
...
Nimativ
Lottie Harrison ...
Teema
Lock Martin ...
Bobo (as J. Lockard Martin)
Murray Leonard ...
Adia Kuznetzoff ...
Chief Ghamu
Milton Parsons ...
Crystal Gazer
Ralph Sanford ...
Mr. Ormulu
Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra
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Storyline

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 (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Were You Ever In a Harem? WOW! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harem Scare 'Em  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Overseas program #820 for U.S. troops during the war. See more »

Goofs

When Harvey shoots the rifle after the barrel was bent by the candle, there was only one hole in his pith helmet. There should have been two, one for the bullet's entrance and one for its exit. See more »

Quotes

The Derelict: I know a secret passage that will take us out.
Harvey Garvey: Swell!
The Derelict: [to Harvey] Shhh!
Harvey Garvey: [to Pete] Shhh!
Peter Johnson: [whispering] Go ahead.
The Derelict: Follow me.
Peter Johnson: Go ahead - follow him.
Harvey Garvey: Okay.
Peter Johnson: [impatiently] Go ahead.
The Derelict: Where are you taking me?
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Sons of the Desert
(1944) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Ralph Freed
Sung by Adia Kuznetzoff and other followers of Prince Ramo
Advisor Kay Thompson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not great...but watchable like most Abbott and Costello films.
19 August 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Like MGM's previous Abbott and Costello film, RIO RITA, LOST IN A HAREM has a sound and feel to it that is indicative of being filmed in a sound stage with lots of echo--an odd choice for a desert film. As a result, the film has a certain artificial and claustrophobic feel to it. Why MGM wouldn't take this immensely popular comedy team (one of the biggest box office draws of the era) and put them in a higher quality film is a mystery. MGM had a habit of misusing comedy teams--particularly in the post-Irving Thalberg era.

Now this doesn't mean that they cut lots of corners indoors, but what they did do wasn't exactly crowd-pleasing. These musical numbers were even more lavish than those in the Universal Pictures films the team made and starred Jimmy Dorsey and his famous orchestra--in the desert. All these songs didn't give the fans what they wanted--more Abbott and Costello. As a result, their three MGM films failed to make the money the studio had expected.

Despite these shortcomings, the film does have some laughs. While far from sophisticated, the prison skits with the seriously crazy cell-mate are pretty funny and are based on old Vaudeville routines--particularly the 'Pokomoko' skit. In fact, it was done in other films and by other comedy teams (such as The Three Stooges)--and was probably done by other comedy teams long before Abbott and Costello. Murray Leonard was very funny (though far from subtle) in these routines and worked well with the team.

As for the plot, it's a bit silly and unfortunately also has the formulaic lady and her love interest (who really do little in the way of plot or comedy). In this case, a beautiful blonde just happens to be in this desert country and the boys are trying to help her escape back to America. Unfortunately, there is an evil usurper (Douglass Dumbrille--who was pretty funny in a cartoony way) who has taken the throne and uses his cool hypno-rings to make people do his bidding. He immediately is taken by the blonde and the boys get caught up in a plot by the rightful monarch (is this an oxymoron?) to get the hypno-rings--helping him and the rebels to depose Dumbrille. Naturally, much of the film consists of the boys running about the palace and trying to avoid being executed.

Whether you like this film will depend a lot on whether or not you find these antics funny. Abbott and Costello fans will clearly find enough to merit watching, though those not familiar with the duo might find this hard-going, as the film is watchable but far from their best.


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