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Action in Arabia (1944)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 6 July 1944 (Mexico)
Reporter Michael Gordon uncovers intrigue in Damascus, where the Allies and Nazis struggle for control of Arab sympathies.

Director:

Léonide Moguy (as Leonide Moguy)

Writers:

Philip MacDonald (original screenplay), Herbert J. Biberman (original screenplay) (as Herbert Biberman)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Sanders ... Michael Gordon
Virginia Bruce ... Yvonne Danesco
Lenore Aubert ... Mounirah al-Rashid
Gene Lockhart ... Josef Danesco
Robert Armstrong ... Matthew Reed
H.B. Warner ... Abdul El Rashid
Alan Napier ... Eric Latimer
André Charlot André Charlot ... Andre Leroux (as Andre Charlot)
Marcel Dalio ... Chakka - Arab Henchman at Airport
Robert Andersen ... William Chalmers
Jamiel Hasson ... Eben Kareem
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Storyline

Michael Gordon, star reporter with a nose for trouble, is heading home after completing a difficult assignment in Iraq. On a Damascus stopover he relays a tip to a fellow American newsman who subsequently ends up in a local camel market with a knife in his back. Even though everyone, including the American legation, seems to want Gordon to leave the country, he feels obliged to find his friend's murderer. Among the red herrings he must sort through in the "World's Oldest City" are an informing card cheat, a beautiful femme fatale, an enigmatic hotel owner, a Frenchman with two aliases, and several sinister Arabs. In short order, Gordon foils Nazi plots to unite the Arab tribes against the Allies and help the Germans seize the Suez Canal. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Woman of Mystery. Land of Intrigue !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Arabic | German

Release Date:

6 July 1944 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Danger in Damascus See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story upon which this film is based (The Fanatic of Fez) was set in Algiers, but when headlines about World War ll shifted focus to Casablanca and Damascus, the locale was changed to make the setting more topical. See more »

Goofs

When Danesco (Gene Lockhart) is taken into the hotel owner's office, the two men who brought him there stand next to him on either side. Then when the owner had them frisk Danesco for cheating, the two men approach him from several steps away from behind. See more »

Quotes

Chakka - Arab Henchman at Airport: [to Chakka] What are you today? An undercover man out in the open?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inglourious Basterds (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Variations in the score when the Free French Cross of Lorraine is shown
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User Reviews

Sturdy but a little too straightforward
2 June 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Two Western journalists are on their way home through Syria when they see a familiar face talk with the daughter of an Arab leader. When one follows the man later that night, he is found dead. His colleague Michael Gordon investigates and finds clues pointing to a plot to pervert the leadership of the tribes and lead them with the Nazi's against the allied forces.

I watched this film simply because the title caught my eye in the schedules. Given the fact that the screening occurred while other channels were covering the war on Iraq as part of their news cycle, I initially assumed it was a documentary of some sort. A look to see it was a film made decades ago suggested that the schedulers had maybe been guilty of bad taste. However watching it there was little to support this thought.

The film is set in the Middle East which, in this film, spreads from Iraq across into Africa ending in Morocco. The politics of the area are difficult now and were still complex when this film was made, so the plot decides to mostly ignore internal issues and focus on the bigger picture of the Nazi threat. By doing so it becomes a bit of propaganda that almost works quite well, but mostly means the plot becomes quite straightforward. The film focuses on the potential for the Nazi's to use the tribes to sweep through the Middle East and Africa and Gordon's investigation to stop it. Mostly the film is very talky and even the action scenes are quite pedestrian (despite the music played loudly thought them), this would be OK if it had a bit more twists and turns but really it goes where you expect it to. This is not to say it is bad – but it is pretty unremarkable.

Sanders plays it as usual – upright, tough and gentlemanly, he also is quite stiff and unanimated. This works well for the majority but I would have liked a little more heart in it. The support cast are all OK but are strangely (or perhaps not so strangely) made up of mostly white characters playing Arabs – only the crowd shots appear to use non-white faces. This isn't a major detraction but it is a distraction at times – esp when supposed Arab princesses are played by white women who would be more at home shopping in Manhattan.

Overall this is a sturdy little film that is short but still feels a little too long. The straightforward plot and talky nature make it feel a little dull at times but there is just enough going on to hold the interest.


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