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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Robert Z. Leonard,
W.S. Van Dyke
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>
The movie was shot at the Algodones Dunes near El Centro, California. The Sheik's palace, always seen at a distance, was a matte painting. The scenes of the entrance, walls, garden, etc. of the palace were shot on a sound stage. See more »
When the desert messengers are sending the message with their flutes, the fingering doesn't match the tones being played at all. See more »
Released during the Silver Age of the comic book action hero genre with which this movie's plot bears similarities.
Gordon Macrae does look a lot like Superman and Clark Kent and in this film, he has a secret identity as a mild mannered professor as contrasted with his hero persona, El Khobar.
I must admit I was a collector of Batman, Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Silent Knight comics when I first saw this movie as a boy in knee pants. But even then, I knew a good song when I heard it. So well into adulthood when this movie was re-released, I made it a point to see it again. I have borrowed the video version twice and I plan to do so again. I simply can't let go of the melodies of The Desert Song and One Alone.
On Gordon MacRae, what can I say? It doesn't seem fair that one so handsome could also be the greatest singer on celluloid and besides, he is funny. Spoiler: Even my little sons who had no clue about Broadway musicals were in stitches when he pulled that stunt with the ethnic musical instrument that sounded like a cross between the bleating of an ass and a sheep.
Kathryn Grayson who strikes me as prim and proper with a seriously classical singing voice gamely plays the role of a flirt. I am sure if she didn't hit it very big in the movies, she would have been the resident soprano of a major opera theatre. She is always a treat to watch and listen to.
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