The Veils of Bagdad (1953)

82 mins | Adventure | November 1953

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Prince of Bagdad . A written foreword reads as follows: "In the year 1560 the Ottoman Empire was ruled over by Suleiman the Magnificent. It extended over two-thirds of the civilized world. Fierce hill tribes abounded...and strange alliances were formed. Caravans bearing gold and precious jewels, were often set upon by bandits who rode about the country, seeking their prey...and striking without warning." According to a Jul 1952 LAT article, Maureen O'Hara was considered for the role of "Selima." Universal borrowed Victor Mature from Twentieth Century-Fox for the role. Modern sources claim that, due to a lack in publicity stills, advertisements for the picture featured a shot of Mature's head on top of Tony Curtis' body taken from an earlier film, The Prince Who Was a Thief (see ... More Less

The working title of this film was Prince of Bagdad . A written foreword reads as follows: "In the year 1560 the Ottoman Empire was ruled over by Suleiman the Magnificent. It extended over two-thirds of the civilized world. Fierce hill tribes abounded...and strange alliances were formed. Caravans bearing gold and precious jewels, were often set upon by bandits who rode about the country, seeking their prey...and striking without warning." According to a Jul 1952 LAT article, Maureen O'Hara was considered for the role of "Selima." Universal borrowed Victor Mature from Twentieth Century-Fox for the role. Modern sources claim that, due to a lack in publicity stills, advertisements for the picture featured a shot of Mature's head on top of Tony Curtis' body taken from an earlier film, The Prince Who Was a Thief (see above). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Oct 1953.
---
Daily Variety
29 Sep 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Oct 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jul 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Oct 53
p. 2014.
New York Times
27 Nov 53
p. 99.
Variety
30 Sep 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
DANCE
Dances
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Fencing trainer and choreographer
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Technicolor tech
Technicolor tech
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Prince of Bagdad
Release Date:
November 1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 4 November 1953
New York opening: 26 November 1953
Production Date:
19 November--mid December 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
3 November 1953
Copyright Number:
LP3153
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
82
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16350
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1560, Bagdad vizier Kasseim and his wife Rosanna lead a caravan transporting gold and jewels into Bagdad. When they are attacked by a band of thieves, a wanderer named Antar suddenly appears and quickly battles the thieves into submission, winning the admiration of Rosanna and an invitation from Kasseim to join him at the palace. Hours later, however, Antar joins the "thieves" in a forest glen, where they exult over the success of their plan to infiltrate the palace in Bagdad. In reality, they are spies sent by virtuous ruler Suleiman the Magnificent to discover why the pasha of Bagdad, Hammam, has killed the leader of the mountain tribes, Abu Karoum, and begun hoarding gold. Antar travels on to the palace, where Kasseim introduces him to Hammam as his new guard. Hammam accepts Antar, but later warns Kasseim to kill him as soon as his work is done. The two leaders then scheme to entice the new tribal leader, Mustapha, to join them in a plot against Suleiman. Hammam knows that when their ranks grow strong enough, Venice, and then the rest of Europe, will back them in toppling Suleiman. Soon after, Rosanna visits Antar and promises to reveal the whereabouts of the gold if he will spirit her away from Kasseim. Later, in the town marketplace, Antar witnesses Hamman and Kasseim's cruelty when he sees a man being publicly whipped for failing to pay the exorbitant taxes. There, Antar also spots beautiful dancing girl Selima and notices that her dancing style is that of Abu Karoum's tribe. Convinced that she is the slain leader's missing daughter, Antar visits her backstage, where she refuses to reveal her heritage ... +


In 1560, Bagdad vizier Kasseim and his wife Rosanna lead a caravan transporting gold and jewels into Bagdad. When they are attacked by a band of thieves, a wanderer named Antar suddenly appears and quickly battles the thieves into submission, winning the admiration of Rosanna and an invitation from Kasseim to join him at the palace. Hours later, however, Antar joins the "thieves" in a forest glen, where they exult over the success of their plan to infiltrate the palace in Bagdad. In reality, they are spies sent by virtuous ruler Suleiman the Magnificent to discover why the pasha of Bagdad, Hammam, has killed the leader of the mountain tribes, Abu Karoum, and begun hoarding gold. Antar travels on to the palace, where Kasseim introduces him to Hammam as his new guard. Hammam accepts Antar, but later warns Kasseim to kill him as soon as his work is done. The two leaders then scheme to entice the new tribal leader, Mustapha, to join them in a plot against Suleiman. Hammam knows that when their ranks grow strong enough, Venice, and then the rest of Europe, will back them in toppling Suleiman. Soon after, Rosanna visits Antar and promises to reveal the whereabouts of the gold if he will spirit her away from Kasseim. Later, in the town marketplace, Antar witnesses Hamman and Kasseim's cruelty when he sees a man being publicly whipped for failing to pay the exorbitant taxes. There, Antar also spots beautiful dancing girl Selima and notices that her dancing style is that of Abu Karoum's tribe. Convinced that she is the slain leader's missing daughter, Antar visits her backstage, where she refuses to reveal her heritage but asks him to bring Kasseim to her. Outside, Antar's band arrives, disguised as a troupe of wrestlers, and perform while he exchanges messages with the wise man who leads them, Kaffar. The next day, Kasseim orders Antar to protect the next caravan, and Antar's success endears him further to the vizier, who agrees to accompany him to see Selima. There, she seduces Kasseim and gains valuable information about her father's death, which she plans to avenge. Meanwhile, Antar, armed with knowledge fed to him from Rosanna, notifies Kaffar that Hammam has bribed Mustapha, and Kaffar offers the tribesman more money. Hammam learns that Mustapha is hesitant and offers him even more. The wise man is caught spying on Hammam as he secures Mustapha's backing, and when Kaffar is discovered, Hammam deduces that he is Suleiman's agent. Hammam tortures Kaffar mercilessly, but the older man refuses to betray Antar. Upon learning from Rosanna that an important prisoner is being held, Antar sneaks into the dungeon and frees Kaffar. He brings him to Selima's, where she and her bodyguard, Karsh, hide him. Knowing that Mustapha will change allegiance for the right amount of money, Antar plans to steal Hammam's gold. That night, he, Kaffar and their men sneak into the palace grounds, not knowing that Selima and Karsh have followed them for their own purposes of revenge. Antar's men easily secure the gold, ensuring that Hammam will lose the support of the Venetians, but as they are about to leave the grounds, Karsh is spotted by the palace guards. Antar orders his band to help, and in the melee, Selima slips into the mansion. The fight progresses to the throne room, where Antar duels with Kasseim, eventually killing him. With Selima's help, Antar roots Hammam out of his hiding place and forces him to abdicate his throne. Antar is named his successor, and both Rosanna and Selima rush to embrace him. Antar soothes Rosanna with a promise of gold and security, and although Selima is at first jealous that he seduced them both, she soon accepts his marriage proposal, to the cheering approval of the palace crowd. +

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.