Siren of Bagdad (1953)

72 mins | Adventure | June 1953

Director:

Richard Quine

Writer:

Robert Kent

Producer:

Sam Katzman

Cinematographer:

Henry Freulich

Editor:

Jerome Thoms

Production Designer:

Paul Palmentola

Production Company:

Esskay Pictures Co.
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HISTORY

In Siren of Bagdad , Paul Henreid satirized his famous two-cigarette lighting scene from Now, Voyager (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ) in a sequence in which he lights two hookahs (water ... More Less

In Siren of Bagdad , Paul Henreid satirized his famous two-cigarette lighting scene from Now, Voyager (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ) in a sequence in which he lights two hookahs (water pipes). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 May 53
---
Daily Variety
15 May 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Jun 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1952
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1952
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 53
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 May 53
p. 1837.
Variety
20 May 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and scr
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Magical eff
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1953
Production Date:
10 September--23 September 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2726
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
72
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16273
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the middle of the Arabian desert, magician Kazah the Great entertains a caravan with his daring acrobats, seductive dancers and astounding feats of magic, including a trunk in which people disappear. Shortly after his latest show, as Kazah juggles the attentions of his two helpers, Orena and Leda, the camp is attacked by the forces of bandit Hamid. When the women are taken by Hamid, Kazah is outraged that his show has been disrupted and, sending the acrobats on to Besserah, he and his assistant, Ben Ali, follow the bandits to Bagdad. Upon arriving in the city, Kazah discovers his dancing girls on a slave auction block, but when he attempts to rescue them, he and Ben Ali are attacked by the sultan’s guard. They are saved by a hulking stranger, Morab, and a dirty gypsy girl, Zendi, who take the pair to meet Zendi’s father Telar. They explain that Kazah’s women have been bought by Hamid for Grand Vizier Soradin, who controls the empty-headed Sultan El Malid. Telar reveals that he hoped that Kazah and Ben Ali might join his forces to overthrow El Malid, despite Soradin’s ban on merchant goods in the city, including arms. Kazah, impatient to reclaim his dancing girls, declines and hurries to the palace to offer to entertain the sultan. At the palace, El Malid instructs Soradin to keep the dancing girls on for his amusement, then expresses anticipation at proposing to Princess Alexia of a nearby kingdom. Soradin approves of the marriage as a way to solidify the sultan’s power, while El Malid only hopes the princess is beautiful. Later, ... +


In the middle of the Arabian desert, magician Kazah the Great entertains a caravan with his daring acrobats, seductive dancers and astounding feats of magic, including a trunk in which people disappear. Shortly after his latest show, as Kazah juggles the attentions of his two helpers, Orena and Leda, the camp is attacked by the forces of bandit Hamid. When the women are taken by Hamid, Kazah is outraged that his show has been disrupted and, sending the acrobats on to Besserah, he and his assistant, Ben Ali, follow the bandits to Bagdad. Upon arriving in the city, Kazah discovers his dancing girls on a slave auction block, but when he attempts to rescue them, he and Ben Ali are attacked by the sultan’s guard. They are saved by a hulking stranger, Morab, and a dirty gypsy girl, Zendi, who take the pair to meet Zendi’s father Telar. They explain that Kazah’s women have been bought by Hamid for Grand Vizier Soradin, who controls the empty-headed Sultan El Malid. Telar reveals that he hoped that Kazah and Ben Ali might join his forces to overthrow El Malid, despite Soradin’s ban on merchant goods in the city, including arms. Kazah, impatient to reclaim his dancing girls, declines and hurries to the palace to offer to entertain the sultan. At the palace, El Malid instructs Soradin to keep the dancing girls on for his amusement, then expresses anticipation at proposing to Princess Alexia of a nearby kingdom. Soradin approves of the marriage as a way to solidify the sultan’s power, while El Malid only hopes the princess is beautiful. Later, when El Malid glibly declares that he will offer Alexia half of Bagdad’s gold upon her acceptance of his proposal, the wary Soradin advises prudence. In order to discover what is going on with the girls, Kazah turns Ben Ali into a blonde dancing girl who mingles with the dancers and learns of the proposal. When Soradin takes a fancy to Ben Ali, Kazah then places each of his girls, including Ben Ali, in his magic trunk where each disappears. El Malid demands their return, but Kazah refuses, and he and the restored Ben Ali make a harrowing escape. After Ben Ali reveals the information about the sultan’s upcoming nuptials with Princess Alexia, Kazah is compelled to tell Telar. Though pleased to find that the freshly bathed Zendi is beautiful, Kazah is startled when Telar declares that they must intercept the proposal message and Zendi volunteers to be Alexia in order to secure a position within the palace. When Kazah questions why Zendi should take such a risk, Telar reveals that his real identity is that of former Sultan Ahmand the Just, who with his daughter, Princess Zendi, was overthrown by Soradin, who remains unaware that they are alive in hiding, fomenting dissent. Dismayed that Zendi would go so far as to marry El Malid, Kazah attempts to dissuade her, but when she persists, he agrees to help. El Malid’s courier carrying the proposal is intercepted by Morab and Kazah, who then departs for Besserah to make over his acrobats as an appropriate royal escort for “Princess Alexia.” After two weeks, Kazah, disguised as Grand Vizier Hazak, escorts Zendi into the city. Delighted by Zendi’s beauty, El Malid is on the verge of agreeing to Kazah’s demand for ten thousand gold pieces for her people, when Soradin intervenes, suggesting that they postpone the wedding for a week to let the princess rethink her demand. Disappointed, El Malid later eagerly accepts Soradin’s suggestion of privately marrying Alexia the next day, as she is too far from home for her country to protest. While searching for Kazah’s magic trunk in the palace, Ben Ali overhears the plan and tells Kazah. Meanwhile, the sultan’s courier, spared by the kindness of Telar, escapes and returns to Soradin to inform them that the former sultan lives. Realizing that Telar must have a large following, Soradin sends to the desert for help from Hamid. Kazah hurries to save Zendi with his magic trunk, but she refuses and Kazah is forced to escape without her when Soradin’s guards close in. Telar, Kazah and their men then build a barricade outside of the palace to delay Hamid’s forces, and Kazah and Ben Ali return to the palace for Zendi. Caught by Soradin and El Malid in Zendi’s rooms, Kazah and Ben Ali wage a sword fight that ends with Soradin’s capture and El Malid’s collapse. Returning to the burning barricade, now under attack by Hamid, Kazah halts Hamid’s assault by making Soradin and El Malid disappear in his trunk. Terrified, the bandits flee. Later, as Telar, Kazah and Zendi celebrate, Ben Ali plans headlining his own magic show, confident that Kazah is sure to settle down. +

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

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