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Pasha's Wives (1939)
"L'esclave blanche" (original title)

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Mireille, a Frenchwoman, has married a westernized Turkish diplomat. Thinking that she will live a dream life in an Arabian Nights setting, she accepts to follow Vedad Bey, her husband, to ... See full summary »


, (as G.W. Pabst)


(screenplay) (as Lily Damert) , (screenplay) (as L. Lania) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Viviane Romance ...
John Lodge ...
Vedad Bey
Le sultan Soliman
Safète - la mère de Vedad
Mila Parély ...
Tarkine (as Mila Parely)
Paulette Pax ...
L'amie de Safète
Marcel Lupovici ...
Mourad (as Lupovici)
Roger Blin ...
Maïr (as R. Blin)
Odile Pascal ...
Akilé, la soeur de Mourad
Joe Alex ...
Ali (as Joë Alex)
Jacques Mattler ...
Un conseiller (as J. Mattler)
Edmond Castel ...
(as M. Castel)
Louise Carletti ...
Saturnin Fabre ...
Djemal Pacha


Mireille, a Frenchwoman, has married a westernized Turkish diplomat. Thinking that she will live a dream life in an Arabian Nights setting, she accepts to follow Vedad Bey, her husband, to his native country. An unfortunate choice indeed as Turkey is not the way she pictured it. Tradition rules the Turkish society and Mireille just cannot be a free woman any longer. There, she is supposed to obey her husband and that is all there is to it. Or is it?... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

18 February 1939 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Pasha's Wives  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Michel Kelber, the film was in fact directed by G.W. Pabst. Marc Sorkin was content to sign the film while Pabst was credited as artistic supervisor. See more »

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User Reviews

Mardi Gras
16 February 2011 | by See all my reviews

There is a warning before the cast and credits :the movie does not depict historic events in case the viewer should take it seriously!Although made by an unknown French director,it was supervised by Pabst ,and it should be considered a very entertaining film,devoid of any substance and which is sometimes unintentionally hilarious.

A Turkish politician comes back to his native land with his French wife,Mireille,who thinks she will live a life in a setting like something from the Arabian Nights.She was probably not very smart when she got married because Turkey was not exactly the place where a wife was "free" .Her mother-in-law ("your son has always talked about you,I'm so happy to meet you,I hope we'll be very good friends ,blah blah ") is true to herself that is to say to traditions : a woman must obey her husband ,the kid sister (fourteen years old) is going to marry the pasha who could be her great grand father ,and there's worse: the young husband is presented with a second wife and Mireille is not prepared to accept it! "Those European women!how hard it is to understand their attitude!" moan the Turks.

It looks like "never without my daughter" sometimes,but without a daughter.The cast are incredible: the husband is played by an American (John Lodge) and all the other roles are played by French actors :Sylvie as the matronly mom-in-law and Saturnin Fabre as the pasha with a harem of hundreds are worth the price of admission.Dalio (hardly recognizable)plays the part of a ridiculous sultan fond of pets ("it's a mongrel" says the French woman );the scene when he 's afraid of electricity and shoots out the lights is the "peak" ,so to speak.

Viviane Romance is Mireille,the "modern" French girl ,lost in a land where a woman is not allowed to be "modern".Hence the title which means "White Slave" .A very attractive woman,vamp style,she was lucky enough to be directed by Duvivier ("LA Belle Equipe " and "Panique" ,her best part)and Grémillon ("L'Etrange Monsieur Victor" ).

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