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...
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Following John Boles in 1929 and Dennis Morgan in 1943, Gordon MacRae gives this outdated hokum his best shot in the silly role of Paul Bonnard, sometimes a timid academic, sometimes an adventurer. He does get to sing some lovely songs though - it may be one of the most improbable musical plots, but 'The Desert Song' has one of the best scores of any musical.
Kathryn Grayson is on hand with her trademark soprano trill as female lead, while Steve Cochran and Raymond Massey enjoy themselves in the supporting cast. And there's some fabulous Technicolor. Recommended for musical fans who like to suspend belief and for those who have a long-term devotion to the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II.
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