Time: A.D. 1249. Shalimar, an Egyptian princess, striving to rid her country of its Bedouin conquerors, forms an alliance with Prince Haidi, son of the Caliph of Bagdad. She practices her ... See full summary »
Time: A.D. 1249. Shalimar, an Egyptian princess, striving to rid her country of its Bedouin conquerors, forms an alliance with Prince Haidi, son of the Caliph of Bagdad. She practices her intrigues both at the court and, disguised as a dancing girl, in the market place. Written by
Rousing Adventure; Strong Characters; a Very-Underrated Adventure
This is one of my favorite films for many reasons. To begin, there are standout performances from lovely Debra Paget as a princess/dancing girl, from Michael Rennie as the villain, handsome young Jeffrey Hunter investigating crime in her city/state and others. The film is an unusually colorful adventure, and we even see the princess rehearsing the dance she later performs (for once). She manages to skewer Hunter before she learns he is on her side; also the photography, the costumes by Travilla, Lionel Newman's music and the film's style are unusually fine. Add to this rousing action, intelligent characterization and fine direction by veteran Harmon Jones of a Gerald Drayson Adams' script set in 1249 AD, and you have the ingredients of an enjoyable Grecianized Near-Eastern. But there is much to praise about the unusual and well--developed storyline here, as there is much more to praise other than the film's swift pace, well-managed physical action sequences and superior technical aspects. Classically-trained actors such as Michael Ansara, Edgar Barrier, Wally Cassell, Jack Elam and Dona Drake are not commonly found in one "B" film together; nor are there fascinating sets, a variety of locales and a mystery of the quality that is supplied here. One way of assessing a film is, "If I were guaranteed to live through the experience, would I choose to undergo these events and perform these actions?" Since my answer is a resounding "yes" in this case, this film remains one of my choices as a favorite and very-underrated cinematic work. Could it be that US critics' all-too-frequent disdain for females as warriors and thinkers that as in so many other cases has caused closed minds to misprize this estimable film's obvious anti-tyranny and pro-entertainment qualities?
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