The Magic Carpet (1951)

82 mins | Adventure | October 1951

Director:

Lew Landers

Writer:

David Mathews

Producer:

Sam Katzman

Cinematographer:

Ellis W. Carter

Editor:

Edwin Bryant

Production Designer:

Paul Palmentola

Production Company:

Esskay Pictures Co.
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HISTORY

Although reviews refer to George Tobias' character as "Gazi," he is called "Razi" in the film. "Caliph Omar's" wife, "Queen Yasmina," is listed incorrectly in several reviews as "Tanya." The Magic Carpet was the first release of producer Sam Katzman's Esskay Pictures Co. The film was also Lucille Ball's last film before she and her husband, bandleader Desi Arnaz, began their television series, I Love Lucy , one of the most successful shows in television history. Ball's next film was M-G-M's 1953 comedy The Long Long Trailer (see above), which she made with Arnaz.
       According to Ball's autobiography, before she made The Magic Carpet , she had one remaining picture under her contract with Columbia. When producer Cecil B. DeMille asked her to play a role in his upcoming Paramount production The Greatest Show on Earth (see above), Columbia's production chief Harry Cohn refused to allow Ball out of her contract and offered her The Magic Carpet instead. Ball stated that had she refused, her contract would have been terminated and she would not have received money owed her. Ball accepted the role and for five day's work was paid $85,000 which, she noted, was over half the cost of the entire ... More Less

Although reviews refer to George Tobias' character as "Gazi," he is called "Razi" in the film. "Caliph Omar's" wife, "Queen Yasmina," is listed incorrectly in several reviews as "Tanya." The Magic Carpet was the first release of producer Sam Katzman's Esskay Pictures Co. The film was also Lucille Ball's last film before she and her husband, bandleader Desi Arnaz, began their television series, I Love Lucy , one of the most successful shows in television history. Ball's next film was M-G-M's 1953 comedy The Long Long Trailer (see above), which she made with Arnaz.
       According to Ball's autobiography, before she made The Magic Carpet , she had one remaining picture under her contract with Columbia. When producer Cecil B. DeMille asked her to play a role in his upcoming Paramount production The Greatest Show on Earth (see above), Columbia's production chief Harry Cohn refused to allow Ball out of her contract and offered her The Magic Carpet instead. Ball stated that had she refused, her contract would have been terminated and she would not have received money owed her. Ball accepted the role and for five day's work was paid $85,000 which, she noted, was over half the cost of the entire production. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Sep 1951.
---
Daily Variety
22 Nov 1950.
---
Daily Variety
26 Sep 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Oct 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 51
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Sep 51
p. 1042.
Variety
26 Sep 51
p. 6.
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1951
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 Oct 1951
Production Date:
4 Dec--16 Dec 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 September 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1181
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
SuperCinecolor
Duration(in mins):
82
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15088
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In an Arabian province, Caliph Omar and his wife Queen Yasmina prepare to announce formally their infant son as successor when Omar is brutally murdered by high court usurper Ali. His cohort, vizier Boreg, chases Yasmina and the baby, but the queen places her son on a magic carpet and, along with a locket carrying the family's royal emblem, sends him to her uncle Ahkmid, before she too is slain. Ahkmid, a physician, places the carpet and locket in hiding and rears the infant, named Ramoth, as his son. Ali, meanwhile, proclaims himself Caliph and with sister Narah and Boreg, begins a harsh reign, draining money and food from the people. Unaware of his royal lineage, Ramoth takes up Ahkmid's trade, while secretly assuming the identity of the red robed Scarlet Falcon, who, with his friend Razi, struggles against Ali's tyranny. When Ramoth, Razi and the Falcon's men prepare to intercept a weapons shipment from Damascus, Razi's impetuous sister Lida demands to go along. The shipment turns out to be a trap, and during the ensuring assault, Ramoth saves Lida's life. Knowing that the only way to discover information about the arms shipment will be from inside the royal palace, Ramoth doses Ali's wine with a mild herb that causes the Caliph to require medical attention. Pleased at being cured, and at Narah's urging, Ali appoints Ramoth court physician. Once Ramoth settles at court, Narah flirts openly with him and implores him to give her some token of his affection. She asks for his locket and when Ramoth refuses, tears it from his neck. When Ramoth firmly rejects Narah's attentions, she ... +


In an Arabian province, Caliph Omar and his wife Queen Yasmina prepare to announce formally their infant son as successor when Omar is brutally murdered by high court usurper Ali. His cohort, vizier Boreg, chases Yasmina and the baby, but the queen places her son on a magic carpet and, along with a locket carrying the family's royal emblem, sends him to her uncle Ahkmid, before she too is slain. Ahkmid, a physician, places the carpet and locket in hiding and rears the infant, named Ramoth, as his son. Ali, meanwhile, proclaims himself Caliph and with sister Narah and Boreg, begins a harsh reign, draining money and food from the people. Unaware of his royal lineage, Ramoth takes up Ahkmid's trade, while secretly assuming the identity of the red robed Scarlet Falcon, who, with his friend Razi, struggles against Ali's tyranny. When Ramoth, Razi and the Falcon's men prepare to intercept a weapons shipment from Damascus, Razi's impetuous sister Lida demands to go along. The shipment turns out to be a trap, and during the ensuring assault, Ramoth saves Lida's life. Knowing that the only way to discover information about the arms shipment will be from inside the royal palace, Ramoth doses Ali's wine with a mild herb that causes the Caliph to require medical attention. Pleased at being cured, and at Narah's urging, Ali appoints Ramoth court physician. Once Ramoth settles at court, Narah flirts openly with him and implores him to give her some token of his affection. She asks for his locket and when Ramoth refuses, tears it from his neck. When Ramoth firmly rejects Narah's attentions, she hurls the locket away in frustration, and it is later retrieved by Boreg. Recognizing it as Omar's family locket, Boreg visits Ahkmid, who admits Ramoth remains unaware of his parentage. Boreg then knifes the old man when he refuses to divulge the location of the magic carpet. Ramoth discovers the dying Ahkmid, who tells him about his royal blood and the magic carpet. Ramoth tries out the carpet successfully, then informs Razi and Lida of his plan to dethrone Ali. Later at the palace, Ramoth discovers that a message regarding the arms shipment will be sent to Damascus by courier pigeon. Intercepting the pigeon on the magic carpet, Ramoth reads the message and sends Razi and Lida the information. That evening at the palace, Boreg pays an assassin to kill Ramoth, which is witnessed by Narah's attendant, Maras, who reports to Narah. Ramoth evades the assassin and when Narah warns Boreg to stay away from Ramoth, he tells her of Ramoth's true identity. Meanwhile, Riza and Lida receive word that one of their cohorts has been arrested and is being tortured to reveal the identity of the Scarlet Falcon. In order to warn Ramoth, Lida takes the place of a famed dancer scheduled to perform for Ali the following evening. As she dances, Ramoth fails to recognize Lida, however, until she insults Narah and is placed in a dungeon. There Ramoth attends her and she warns him that he is under suspicion. At the same time, Narah breaks into Ramoth's room and discovers his red Falcon's robes. When Ramoth confronts Narah, believing she murdered Ahkmid, she names Boreg as the killer before summoning the guards, who quickly subdue Ramoth. Narah then presents Ramoth to Ali as the Scarlet Falcon and his execution is quickly arranged. Lida, meanwhile, escapes from her cell and, retrieving the magic carpet from Ramoth's room, sends it to his rescue. The carpet carries Ramoth to Razi and his men, who await the weapons caravan. The Caliph's men pursue them, but Ramoth scatters them by dropping pepper on them from the carpet. Once the Falcon and his men intercept the weapons caravan, they storm the Caliph's castle. Ramoth kills Boreg and frees Lida, and as the castle is overrun, Ali also falls. Declaring himself the legitimate Caliph, Ramoth imprisons Narah and proposes to Lida and the couple fly over their domain on the magic carpet. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.