5.5/10
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3 user 3 critic

The Desert Hawk (1950)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 5 August 1950 (USA)
A desert guerilla, with flashing scimitar, opposes a tyrannical prince and marries the caliph's daughter.

Director:

Frederick De Cordova (as Frederick de Cordova)

Writers:

Aubrey Wisberg (story and screenplay), Gerald Drayson Adams (story and screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Yvonne De Carlo ... Princess Scheherazade
Richard Greene ... Omar - aka The Desert Hawk
Jackie Gleason ... Aladdin
George Macready ... Prince Murad
Rock Hudson ... Captain Ras
Carl Esmond ... Kibar
Joe Besser ... Prince Sinbad
Anne P. Kramer Anne P. Kramer ... Yasmin
Marc Lawrence ... Samad
Lois Andrews ... Maznah
Frank Puglia ... Ahmed Bey
Lucille Barkley Lucille Barkley ... Undine
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Caliph
Ian MacDonald ... Yussef
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Storyline

"2000 years ago" desert guerilla Omar, with henchmen Aladdin and Sinbad, opposes tyrannical Prince Murad. To prevent Murad from marrying caliph's daughter Schaharazade, disguised Omar marries her himself. When the trick is discovered, both prince and princess want Omar's head; but Murad has yet more dastardly plans, leading to more captures, rescues, and scimitar-play. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A slave in the Palace of 1000 Delights !


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 August 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Wüstenfalke See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Goofs

Characters are Muslims, 600 years before the time of the founder Mohammed. See more »

Quotes

Omar: Wench or princess, a woman is only a woman, and always needs a master.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Foul Play (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gleason and Besser save this movie
31 December 2002 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

'The Desert Hawk' is a bog-standard adventure epic (Arabian Nights subclass), sorely compromised by its extremely low budget but benefiting from an interesting cast. When I saw that Yvonne De Carlo was the female lead (in harem trousers, worse luck), I was worried this might turn out to be a Maria Montez-type campfest: fortunately, this film never sank to that level. Rock Hudson, in a prominent supporting role, is not as embarrassing as one might expect. Richard Greene, in his Robin Hood period, basically plays an Arabian version of Robin Hood here. De Carlo's character is named Scheherazade, but she isn't the famous Scheherazade of the 'Arabian Nights' tales: she's playing a different character with that same name.

The best and most interesting performances here are given by Jackie Gleason and Joe Besser as Richard Greene's wily assistants. Confusingly, their characters are named Aladdin and Sinbad. I kept wondering why Aladdin didn't whip out his magic lamp and summon his genie (not to mention Widow Twanky), until I twigged that the 'Aladdin' and 'Sinbad' in this movie aren't the two famous characters: they're two completely different characters with the same names as those two.

Jackie Gleason, as 'Aladdin', does well in a semi-serious role: his performance here doesn't resemble any of his well-known television characters. Joe Besser is a 'comedian' whose unfunny performances have almost always annoyed me, and who spent most of his career in supporting roles to comedians much more talented than Besser ... such as Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. In 'The Desert Hawk', Besser gives a genuinely impressive performance, with some dramatic ability. I was especially impressed by one scene in which Besser as Sinbad is put into a torture device (a vertical form of the rack), and stretched unmercifully. Based on Besser's other characterisations, I expected him to scream effeminately and have a tantrum ... instead, he remains stoic and endures his torture manfully. (A trivia note: Joe Besser and the famous caricaturist Al Hirschfeld lived in the same house in St Louis, Missouri during their respective childhoods ... but not at the same time.) Gleason and Besser are the two main points of interest in 'The Desert Hawk', but their screen time is quite brief.

Michael Ansara and Nestor Paiva put their facial bone structures to good use in small roles. Ben Welden (an American actor who started his film career in England) is obtrusively American in a small role as an Arab. I'll rate 'The Desert Hawk' 4 out of 10. I'm grateful that this film wasn't very campy ... but I suppose that fans of Yvonne De Carlo and Rock Hudson will be disappointed that this film isn't MORE campy.


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