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A Bedouin princess returns to Bagdad after being educated in England, only to find that her father has been treacherously murdered by the head of the Black Robes, a group of renegades. She is hosted by the Pasha, who is the corrupt representative of the national government. She is also courted by Prince Hassan, who is falsely accused of the murder. The plot revolves around her attempts to bring the killer to justice while being courted by the Pasha. Written by
I'm not leaving, your going to ride to my people. It's dangerous for you here.
If I leave How will you keep the soldier entertained? Will you dance for them? And Sing?
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7 years after striking box-office gold with ARABIAN NIGHTS (1942), Universal were still milking the same exotic formula with moderate success; in fact, after the star of that film's female attraction (Maria Montez) started to wane, they called on fiery, red-headed Irish beauty Maureen O'Hara who had already appeared in RKO's SINBAD THE SAILOR (1947; co-starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) to fill in her shoes in BAGDAD and, later on, FLAME OF ARABY (1951; co-starring Jeff Chandler) which I have yet to catch up with. The threadbare plot line of English-educated Arab princess O'Hara seeking revenge on the leader of the "Black Robes" for causing her father's death after letting him down in battle against a confusing number of rival Arab tribes! is nothing to write home about but, thankfully, this is made up for by an agreeably camp attitude that permeates the whole film and makes the viewing more enjoyable than it ought to be. O'Hara makes for a fetching heroine in her Technicolored exotic attire (including one in which she seems to have a drape attached to her head gear!) and, despite her royal heritage, she even gets to belt out 3 operatic songs in a tavern and impersonate a gypsy dancer out in the desert!; villainous Turkish Pasha Vincent Price keeps slapping everybody around and, bafflingly, has his right eyelid almost completely closed the whole time!; Paul Christian (aka Paul Hubschmid of Fritz Lang's famed "Indian Epic" diptych), sporting a distracting Austrian accent, is another Arab 'misfit' prince with a chameleon-like personality that sees him being, alternately, a guest and a fugitive in Price's palace; John Sutton whom I will soon get the chance to see in similar surroundings in the notoriously cheap Sam Katzman production of THIEF OF DAMASCUS (1952) plays yet another Arab chieftain whom greed and ambition has not only turned into Price's partner-in-crime but also the leader of the Black Robes; renowned character actor Jeff Corey is O'Hara's ill-tempered associate, etc. Unfortunately, the video quality of the copy I landed is far from optimal (hazy and slightly washed-out) but still serviceable under the circumstances given that, due to the current international political and financial climate, the emergence of such films on legitimate DVD editions is growing remoter with each passing day! Having said that, I look forward to getting my hands on more lightweight, nostalgic stuff in the same vein in the future.
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