Sound of the Desert (Glos Pustyni) is a romance with action and drama. The movie is exotic in a way as it takes us to an unusual place. The story is set in beautiful North Africa. The setting itself is striking with its cobblestone paths and unique architecture; the vegetation is breathtaking as the palm trees and unusual cactuses are quite a sight; and there are sand dunes in the background of all of this, which adds a romantic feeling to the movie.
The opposing sides in the film are the French Foreign Legion and a free tribe led by Sheik Abdullah, who terrorizes caravans that pass though the deserts he controls. After Abdullah captures a legionnaire the drama really begins. The Sheik's wife, Dzemila, takes pity on him and frees him. But she takes it a step further and decides to leave with him and even falls in love with her husband's enemy. Now, the Polish angle to the story is that the Legionnaire is a Pole.
Although the love smitten Dzemila follows her soldier with hungry eyes, her new life isn't exactly a step up. Her new life isn't as romantic as she may have envisioned it as she now has to work as a dancer to get by. Without giving away the plot, I can say there is trouble brewing from the beginning.
Just as the life is Dzemila has a tragic side, so does the actual life of the actress that plays her, as Nora Ney's film career did not resume after the war. Nora was a silent era star so she did well with this role that in which she had to communicate so much with facial expressions. However, Nora wasn't able to find her place with the next transition in Polish cinema when it became serious and an outlet for healing the wounds Poland and its people endured during the war.
As you may know, Polish cinema in the 1930s was family friendly and modest; there wasn't any nudity and violence was minimal. Although Voice of the Desert complies with these standards, it also comes close to the edge of acceptability and may have raised some eyebrows at the time with a seductive belly dance scene.
Glos Pustyni was directed by Michal Waszynski in 1932. It should be mentioned that Eugeniusz Bodo wrote the screenplay, dialogue and also played the role of Sheik Abdullah. Bodo and Waszynski were co-owners of the film company BWB, which made Glos Pustyni.
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