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In the world of Arabian Nights, Abu Amdar (Paul Henreid), head general of the Khalid, who is attacking Damascus, arranges a truce between the city and the Khalid's forces, and the Khalid (John Sutton') is furious. Amdar escapes to help the Persians, a decision prompted by his love for the Damascan Princes Zafir (Helen Gilbert). With the aid of Sheherazade (Jeff Donnell), Alladin (Robert Clary), Sinbad (Lon Chaney Jr., Ali Baba (Philip Van Zandt) and less-than-forty of his thieves, Abu Amdar soon sets things right in old Damascus...and Columbia's back lot.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1952's "Thief of Damascus" was a Columbia potboiler from producer Sam Katzman, scripted tongue in cheek with quotable lines aplenty. Evil conqueror Khalid (John Sutton) demands the arrest of his best general, Abu Amdar (Paul Henreid), simply for negotiating a treaty of surrender from the Sultan of Damascus, without his consent. With sword fights carefully sped up for the benefit of Henreid's stuntman, we get almost every character associated with the Arabian Nights- Robert Clary as Aladdin (minus lamp), Philip Van Zandt as Ali Baba, Jeff Donnell as the fetching Sheherazade, and Lon Chaney as Sinbad. Add Elena Verdugo as Neela and Helen Gilbert as Princess Zafir, all the girls provide quite a visual treat in color, but in all fairness, Howard Hughes didn't scrimp on the pulchritude when he cast so many beautiful wannabe starlets in his own "Son of Sinbad," casting Vincent Price as Omar Khayyam! (he later confided that it was indeed a very happy set). Speaking of Sinbad, 45 year old Lon Chaney looks both strong and healthy, hugely enjoying his comic sparring with Robert Clary, later on HOGAN'S HEROES, and it's nice to see him again alongside luscious Elena Verdugo, his old co-star from "House of Frankenstein" and "The Frozen Ghost" (her hair almost as long as Patricia Morison's). 'Miss Jeff Donnell,' as she was billed opposite Boris Karloff in her second film, 1942's "The Boogie Man Will Get You," was a longtime mainstay at Columbia, appearing in "The Power of the Whistler," "The Phantom Thief" (Boston Blackie), and "The Unknown" (I LOVE A MYSTERY); still only 29, she's as sexy a Sheherazade as any man could ask for. Too bad Khalid failed to ask.
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