Saadia is a wild, strange Arab girl whose life has been dominated by a local sorceress, a vengeful outcast in the community, who has convinced her she has the "evil eye" and brings disaster...
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Alfred L. Werker
Susan Douglas Rubes
Saadia is a wild, strange Arab girl whose life has been dominated by a local sorceress, a vengeful outcast in the community, who has convinced her she has the "evil eye" and brings disaster to all who love her. French doctor Henrik takes her to his clinic, for rehabilitation purposes, and falls in love with her as does his friend, Si Lahssen, the reigning prince of this small Moroccan state. When a plague falls on the town, Saadia is convinced she is responsible, and rides alone into the mountain country to retrieve the plague serum being held for ransom by bandits. The love triangle dominates most of the rest of the film. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mel Ferrer plays the same Chopin prelude (#28) on the piano as Hurd Hatfield does as Dorian Grey. See more »
During the sequence when Saadia escapes from the mountains with the Plague serum, the girth strap on her horse is loose and dangling during the initial horse chase scenes and then is cinched properly in the rest of the scenes. See more »
Thank you TCM for airing this 1953 offbeat adventure drama, no doubt filmed to showcase the exotic beauty of talented Rita Gam. Her portrayal of the outcast Moroccan girl, Saadia, is worthy of one of today's "action heroines" - she rides bareback, she brawls, she is brave, tough, resourceful, and beautiful. Part of the problem with the movie's reputation may be the early 1950s novel on which the film is based, "Checkmate to Destiny: The Story of Saadia" by French writer Francis D'Autheville - it's a multi-layered work that combines adventure, colonialism, and culture clashes in post WWII French-governed Morroco (think Lawrence Durrell meets Khaled Hosseini) and was way ahead of its time. Though the dialog is somewhat stilted, it is remarkable how respectful it is, for the 1950s, towards Arab culture, avoiding most of the obvious stereotypes. Lushly filmed in color by MGM, on location, with excellent stunt work, this film absorbed me immediately. Worth seeing!
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