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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 most glorious musical adventure of all! 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

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 finest film version of a great operetta by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein
18 May 2007 | by (Central City, Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Spritely, joyous, full of heroics, romance and beautiful music, beautifully performed by Gordon McCrae and Katherine Grayson, a truly lovely actress, "The Desert Song" is simply one of the finest musicals of the first half of the twentieth century, and this 1953 version, the third filming by this studio, is by far the best. From the "Drum, drum, drum of Hobart's in the sand," as the Riffs ride across the vast trackless desert at the beginning of the film, the music seems almost continuous. On of the few disappointments of the film is the haunting "Azuri's Song" from the original musical, but the quality of acting, with Ray Collins, Raymond Massey, Frank De Cordova and William Conrad, assure that the action never becomes dull. This is the way musicals should be filmed and the direction J. Bruce Humberstone, who cut his teeth on the first Charlie Chan movies of the thirties makes it all come together in a real treat. Sit back and enjoy as El Khobar and the Riffs go riding across your living room.


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