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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 296 users  
Reviews: 14 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)

The Desert Song (1953) on IMDb 6.4/10

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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
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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 best loved of all musical adventures! 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:

The Desert Song  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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 the desert messengers are sending the message with their flutes, the fingering doesn't match the tones being played at all. 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

Version of The Red Shadow (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

The Desert Song
(uncredited)
Music by Sigmund Romberg
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Mandel and Otto A. Harbach
Sung by Gordon MacRae and Kathryn Grayson
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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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