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The Desert Song (1953)

Passed | | Musical, Romance | 30 May 1953 (USA)
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 »

Writers:

(screen play by), (based upon the play by) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
...
...
Sheik Yousseff
Dick Wesson ...
...
Azuri (as Allyn McLerie)
...
Gen. Birabeau
...
Hassan
...
Mindar
...
Lachmed
...
Neri
Mark Dana ...
Lt. Duvalle
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Practically all of the lyrics for "The Riff Song" have been rewritten, even the words that did not have to be changed. This was common practice in several Broadway musical adaptations made before 1955; it was done frequently in the Nelson Eddy- Jeanette MacDonald operettas and it was done in the 1954 film version of "The Student Prince". Movie studios did this so that royalties from all sales of sheet music for the film versions would go to the studios that made the films, not to the original lyricists. Exceptions included the 1936 film version of "Show Boat" and all of the songs except "Cotton Blossom" in the 1951 "Show Boat", as well as the 1943 film version of "Girl Crazy". 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

Romance
(uncredited)
Music by Sigmund Romberg
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Mandel and Otto A. Harbach
Sung by Kathryn Grayson
See more »

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User Reviews

El Hadj Aleman -- Nicht Wahr?
19 August 2007 | by (Gulf Breeze, Florida) – See all my reviews

I'm afraid I must contradict one of the contributors above. El Khobar (The Red Shadow) was not based on Abd-el-Kader but instead on the exploits of one known as El Hadj Aleman, who gave the French Foreign Legion fits during the Riff War in the 1920's. El Hadj Aleman was in fact a Legion deserter (Otto Klems) of German nationality. Despite being a Legion officer, he hated the French, defecting to the Arabs and with his military skills became a very effective leader. His identity was a mystery to the Foreign Legion until nearly the end of the war. Surrendering, he was sentenced to death by the French, but he had become a romantic hero in the U.S. due to dispatches by American reporters (witness Romberg's operetta, The Desert Song, as a result). U.S. pressure was applied to the French and they at last quietly released Klems. Back in Germany and in prison for burglary, he committed suicide.

Just setting the record straight.


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