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The Desert Song (1953)

Passed  -  Musical | Romance  -  30 May 1953 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 310 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 2 critic

Shiek Yousseff, poses as a friend of the French while secretly plotting to overthrow them. Apposing Yousseff are the Riffs, whose secret leader, The Red Shadow, is Paul Bonnard, a professor... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (play), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Desert Song (1953)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Steve Cochran ...
...
Sheik Yousseff
Dick Wesson ...
...
Azuri (as Allyn McLerie)
...
Gen. Birabeau
...
Hassan
...
Mindar
...
Lachmed
Trevor Bardette ...
Neri
Mark Dana ...
Lt. Duvalle
Edit

Storyline

Shiek Yousseff, poses as a friend of the French while secretly plotting to overthrow them. Apposing Yousseff are the Riffs, whose secret leader, The Red Shadow, is Paul Bonnard, a professor who is studying the desert, and whose attacks on the supply trains intended for Yousseff keep the Riff villages in food. Foreign Legion General Birabeau arrives to conduct an investigation, accompanied by his daughter, Margot. Birabeau hires Bonnard to tutor her, and she is attracted to a Legionaire captain, Claud Fontaine. While the general, Bonnard and Fontaine pay a visit to Yousseff, an American newspaper man, Benji Kidd, discovers a secret way in and out of Yousseff's palace, with the aid of Azuri, a dancing girl in love with Bonnard. The latter is forced to resume his role as the Riffs leader, and kidnap Margot until he can convince her of Yousseff's treachery. But Yousseff's men attack the Riff camp and take Margot prisoner. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The wind-swept sands of North Africa! Screaming Arab terror raids! The Harem Dance of Desire! The embattled Foreign Legion! The sheik's palace stormed! And the glorious music of the new "Desert Song" See more »

Genres:

Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El Khobar - Schrecken der Wüste  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Desert Song and the Cold War: The original refrain for The Riff Song includes the lines: "Ho!/That's the sound that comes to warn you/So!/In the night or early morn, you know/If you're The Red Shadow's foe/The Riffs will strike with a blow/That brings you woe!" In this remake, filmed in the early Fifties at the height of the Cold War and McCarthyism, the "Red Shadow" sounded uncomfortably like the Soviet and Chinese communists, so the lyrics were changed to "If you're El Khobar's foe". When Gordon MacRae re-recorded the songs for the record album featuring Dorothy Kirsten as Margot, the original lyrics were restored. See more »

Goofs

When Margot Birabeau (Kathryn Grayson) is singing "One Flower in Your Garden" she reaches over to a rose bush and removes a long-stemmed rose with no effort instead of having to cut it free. She then handles the stem without being pricked by the thorns, revealing that the rose is artificial. See more »

Quotes

Azuri: It's you - the one with the face!
Benjy Kidd: It's you - the one with the body!
See more »

Connections

References The Mark of Zorro (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

The Riff Song
(uncredited)
Music by Sigmund Romberg
New lyrics by uncredited writers
Original lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Mandel and Otto A. Harbach
Sung by Gordon MacRae and Men's Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE DESERT SONG (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1953) **1/2
3 February 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

The third (and most popular) film version of the Oscar Hammerstein II-Sigmund Romberg operetta features an eclectic assembly of handsome singing stars (Gordon MacRae and Kathryn Grayson) and reliable character actors (Raymond Massey, Steve Cochran, Ray Collins and William Conrad). While I cannot say that the song score was particularly memorable in itself, the film is made tolerable enough by its straight "Arabian Nights" trappings: a mysterious avenger (MacRae, of course, posing by day as a mild-mannered anthropologist) takes on the might of a tyrannical Sheik (Massey) and the French Foreign Legion (commandeered by Cochran and Collins) while romancing the latter's rebellious daughter (Grayson). Also on hand to round up the colorful cast of characters are Dick Wesson as an indomitable reporter successfully providing the expected comic relief, Allyn Ann McLerie as the requisite dancer-temptress with a proverbial heart of gold and Frank DeKova as a typically hot-headed (and ultimately duplicitous) desert rebel.


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