The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951)

85 or 87-88 mins | Adventure | July 1951

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HISTORY

The opening title card for this film reads: "Theodore Dreiser's The Prince Who Was a Thief ." As noted in the HR review, Curtis and Laurie made their starring debuts in this film, and Midge Ware and Carol Varga made their feature film debuts. Although other HR news items add Bonnie Menzies, Zachary Charles, Willetta Smith, Vickie Saunders, Dolores Starr, Peggy Murray and Winona Smith to the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Many modern film critics have complained that Curtis' New York accent was incongruent with his role as a Middle Eastern prince. According to interviews with Curtis, his response to such accusations is that if British actors could play Romans, New York actors ought to be able to play ... More Less

The opening title card for this film reads: "Theodore Dreiser's The Prince Who Was a Thief ." As noted in the HR review, Curtis and Laurie made their starring debuts in this film, and Midge Ware and Carol Varga made their feature film debuts. Although other HR news items add Bonnie Menzies, Zachary Charles, Willetta Smith, Vickie Saunders, Dolores Starr, Peggy Murray and Winona Smith to the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Many modern film critics have complained that Curtis' New York accent was incongruent with his role as a Middle Eastern prince. According to interviews with Curtis, his response to such accusations is that if British actors could play Romans, New York actors ought to be able to play Arabs. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Jun 1951.
---
Daily Variety
31 May 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Jun 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 50
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 51
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald
2 Jun 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Jun 51
p. 879.
New York Times
2 Jul 51
p. 17.
New York Times
4 Jul 51
p. 13.
Variety
6 Jun 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Technicolor tech
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Prince Who Was a Thief" by Theodore Dreiser in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (Mar 1945).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Theodore Dresier's The Prince Who Was a Thief
Release Date:
July 1951
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Detroit: 29 June 1951
Los Angeles opening: 30 June 1951
New York opening: 2 July 1951
Production Date:
13 September--17 October 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
28 June 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1013
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
85 or 87-88
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14931
SYNOPSIS

In 13th-century Tangiers, regent Mustapha hires master thief Yussef to murder the baby Prince Hussein so Mustapha can take the throne in the infant's place. Yussef, too kind-hearted to kill the boy, instead adopts him and rears him as a peasant named Julna, with the mark of the rajah tattooed on his arm. Eighteen years later, Julna now reigns as the city's master thief and ladies' man, but becomes smitten by Prince Mustapha's beautiful and cunning daughter, Princess Yasmin. His romantic rival is the powerful Hedjah, Prince of Algiers, who is courting Yasmin with the renowned Pearl of Fatima. When the pearl is stolen, Hedjah threatens to declare war if it is not recovered in one month, and Mustapha informs Yussef that he must either find the jewel or lose his life. By posing as the owners of a priceless ruby, Yussef and Julna trap the thief, a mischievous girl named Tina, who enjoys a reputation as the master thief of Marrakesh. As Tina demonstrates her abilities as a contortionist and escape artist, the two men hatch a plan to use Tina to wiggle through the bars of the city treasury so they can steal the gold inside. They then return the pearl to Mustapha, but Tina steals it back without their knowledge. When Julna visits the prince to demand a reward for the pearl he thinks he has just returned, Yasmin, believing he has the pearl, pretends to love him in order to make him promise to find the jewel for her. Julna, Yussef and Tina, who has fallen in love with Julna, then carry out their treasury robbery, and are blackmailed into sharing the loot with two ... +


In 13th-century Tangiers, regent Mustapha hires master thief Yussef to murder the baby Prince Hussein so Mustapha can take the throne in the infant's place. Yussef, too kind-hearted to kill the boy, instead adopts him and rears him as a peasant named Julna, with the mark of the rajah tattooed on his arm. Eighteen years later, Julna now reigns as the city's master thief and ladies' man, but becomes smitten by Prince Mustapha's beautiful and cunning daughter, Princess Yasmin. His romantic rival is the powerful Hedjah, Prince of Algiers, who is courting Yasmin with the renowned Pearl of Fatima. When the pearl is stolen, Hedjah threatens to declare war if it is not recovered in one month, and Mustapha informs Yussef that he must either find the jewel or lose his life. By posing as the owners of a priceless ruby, Yussef and Julna trap the thief, a mischievous girl named Tina, who enjoys a reputation as the master thief of Marrakesh. As Tina demonstrates her abilities as a contortionist and escape artist, the two men hatch a plan to use Tina to wiggle through the bars of the city treasury so they can steal the gold inside. They then return the pearl to Mustapha, but Tina steals it back without their knowledge. When Julna visits the prince to demand a reward for the pearl he thinks he has just returned, Yasmin, believing he has the pearl, pretends to love him in order to make him promise to find the jewel for her. Julna, Yussef and Tina, who has fallen in love with Julna, then carry out their treasury robbery, and are blackmailed into sharing the loot with two petty thieves. Later, Julna informs Tina that he is really a prince, and she returns the pearl to him, stating that though she loves him, he should marry a princess like Yasmin. She then hides while he visits Yasmin and, seeing guards ready to grab him, shouts out a warning and is herself captured by the palace guards. Julna pays the petty thieves to help him rescue Tina, and a sword fight in the marketplace ends in victory for Julna when he reveals his royal tattoo to the guards. The city's inhabitants, tired of Mustapha's tyrannical ways, storm the palace and name Julna, now once again called Hussein, their rightful prince. After Julna has Mustapha arrested and gives both the pearl and Yasmin to Hedjah, he entices Tina to give up her plan to return to Marrakesh, and proclaims her the most brave and beautiful princess in the land. +

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

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