Howard Hawks

Sog.: dalla commedia L’insoumise di Pierre Frandaie e dall’adattamento Prince Fazil di Philip Klein; Scen.: Seton I. Miller; F.: L. William O’Connell; Mo.: Ralph Dixon; Scgf.: William S. Darling; Co.: Kathleen Kay; Mu.: S.L. Rothafel (Roxy); Int.: Charles Farrell (Hadji Fazil), Greta Nissen (Fabienne), John Boles (John Clavering), Mae Busch (Hélène de Breuze), Tyler Brooke (Jacques de Breuze), John T. Murray (il gondoliere), Vadim Uraneff (Ahmed), Josephine Borio (Aicha), Erville Alderson (Iman Idris), Dale Fuller (Zouroya), Hank Mann (Ali); Prod.: William Fox per Fox Film Corporation; Pri. pro.: 4 giugno 1928
35mm. L.: 2057,5 m. D.: 75′ a 24 f/s. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

A commissioned film long considered lost and that reappeared in the mid ‘70s. The mix of genres – characteristic of Hawks – is gradual and surprising in this film. It begins with a caustic, humorous tone (for instance, the beginning where the executioner interrupts killing the convict twice in order to pray), as if Hawks did not really believe in this Arab fantasy reminiscent of Valentino films and wanted to put distance between it and himself. Slowly seriousness is established with the sense of adventure; and Hawks, who increasingly believes in the story, makes the spectator believe in it too, transforming the film in a romantic and tragic drama. It is like a Greek tragedy intruding upon an exotic photonovel for seamstresses. A clever way of tapping the viewer’s interest by first using skepticism. Impeccably classic directing heightens the allure of this film. Hawks, however, truly reveals his skill with the mix of tones, the unexpected seriousness. To him, no story is so worthless that it cannot be enriched and transformed from within.

Jacques Lourcelles, Dictionnaire du cinéma. Les films, Laffont, Paris 1992