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HISTORY

A 6 Jan 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review news item stated that producer Joseph M. Schenck had recently purchased film rights to Margaret Peterson’s 1922 novel, The Dust of Desire. The property was acquired expressly for actress Norma Talmadge, Schenck’s wife. Seven months later, news briefs in the 18 Aug 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review and 19 Aug 1923 FD indicated that production on Dust of Desire would begin “within the next two weeks” at United Studios in Los Angeles, CA. On 2 Oct 1923, FD reported that cast and crew were about halfway through filming.
       A full-page article in the Nov 1923 AmCin described cinematographer Gaetano Antonio “Tony” Gaudio’s innovative technique for shooting night scenes during the day. He tested his experimental ideas, which involved treating the film negative with a “special coloring solution,” on Dust of Desire, taking a company of 400 people to “the desert” of Oxnard, CA, for three days of shooting Algerian night scenes in broad daylight. When the pre-treated film was later processed, it yielded black skies, light foregrounds, a clearly defined skyline, strong silhouettes, and sharp moonlight shadows. The results were a significant improvement over former methods of tinting the film positive, a technique that could never compensate for the daytime sky. Alternatively, actual night filming was expensive due to the costs for electricians, electrical equipment, and the electricity itself. Producer Schenck enthused that Gaudio’s technique saved him well over $5,000 a day, and anticipated that the industry would soon adopt the new process.
       A 29 Oct 1923 FD article listed a 24 Dec 1923 release ... More Less

A 6 Jan 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review news item stated that producer Joseph M. Schenck had recently purchased film rights to Margaret Peterson’s 1922 novel, The Dust of Desire. The property was acquired expressly for actress Norma Talmadge, Schenck’s wife. Seven months later, news briefs in the 18 Aug 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review and 19 Aug 1923 FD indicated that production on Dust of Desire would begin “within the next two weeks” at United Studios in Los Angeles, CA. On 2 Oct 1923, FD reported that cast and crew were about halfway through filming.
       A full-page article in the Nov 1923 AmCin described cinematographer Gaetano Antonio “Tony” Gaudio’s innovative technique for shooting night scenes during the day. He tested his experimental ideas, which involved treating the film negative with a “special coloring solution,” on Dust of Desire, taking a company of 400 people to “the desert” of Oxnard, CA, for three days of shooting Algerian night scenes in broad daylight. When the pre-treated film was later processed, it yielded black skies, light foregrounds, a clearly defined skyline, strong silhouettes, and sharp moonlight shadows. The results were a significant improvement over former methods of tinting the film positive, a technique that could never compensate for the daytime sky. Alternatively, actual night filming was expensive due to the costs for electricians, electrical equipment, and the electricity itself. Producer Schenck enthused that Gaudio’s technique saved him well over $5,000 a day, and anticipated that the industry would soon adopt the new process.
       A 29 Oct 1923 FD article listed a 24 Dec 1923 release date for Dust of Desire. On 2 Dec 1923, the same trade magazine indicated that the film’s title had changed to The Woman of the Sahara. However, at some point prior to the Dec opening, the title The Song of Love was chosen. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Nov 1923.
---
Exhibitors Trade Review
6 Jan 1923.
---
Exhibitors Trade Review
18 Aug 1923.
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Film Daily
19 Aug 1923.
---
Film Daily
2 Oct 1923.
---
Film Daily
29 Oct 1923.
---
Film Daily
2 Dec 1923.
---
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Dust of Desire
The Dust of Desire
The Woman of the Sahara
Woman of the Sahara
Release Date:
24 December 1923
Production Date:
September--November 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Norma Talmadge Productions
Copyright Date:
13 December 1923
Copyright Number:
LP19710
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
8,000
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Ramlika, an Arab chief in Algeria, has plans to drive out the French and crown himself king of North Africa. Noorma-hal, a dancing girl whom he would like to marry, detests Ramlika but is instructed by her uncle, Chandra-lal, to lead him on. The French sense trouble among the Arabs and send for famous spy Raymon Valverde to learn the Arabs' plans. Arriving incognito, Valverde charms Noorma-hal, causing her to disclose the plans for the rebellion. When Ramlika leads the attack on the French garrison, Valverde, who is prepared for the attack but has no troops, fights singlehanded until Noorma-hal arrives and offers to sacrifice her life if Ramlika frees Valverde. Then, rather than go with Ramlika, Noorma-hal shoots herself. Fortunately, French troops arrive and kill Ramlika. Noorma-hal ... +


Ramlika, an Arab chief in Algeria, has plans to drive out the French and crown himself king of North Africa. Noorma-hal, a dancing girl whom he would like to marry, detests Ramlika but is instructed by her uncle, Chandra-lal, to lead him on. The French sense trouble among the Arabs and send for famous spy Raymon Valverde to learn the Arabs' plans. Arriving incognito, Valverde charms Noorma-hal, causing her to disclose the plans for the rebellion. When Ramlika leads the attack on the French garrison, Valverde, who is prepared for the attack but has no troops, fights singlehanded until Noorma-hal arrives and offers to sacrifice her life if Ramlika frees Valverde. Then, rather than go with Ramlika, Noorma-hal shoots herself. Fortunately, French troops arrive and kill Ramlika. Noorma-hal recovers. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

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.