S.: dalla commedia L’insoumise di Pierre Frandaie e dall’adattamento Prince Fazil di Philip Klein. Sc.: Seton I.Miller. F.: L.William O’Connell. Scgr.: William S.Darling. M.: Ralph Dixon. Mus.: S.L.Rothafel (Roxy). In:: Charles Farrell (Hadji Fazil), Greta Nissen (Fabienne), John Boles (John Clavering), Mae Busch (Hélène de Breuze), Tyler Brooke (Jacques de Breuze) John T.Murray, Vadim Uraneff. P.: William Fox/Fox Film. 35mm.
Fazil, a melodrama about the impossible love between a sheik and a girl from Paris high society, was conceived as a silent film but distributed with a soundtrack of music and sound effects. The theme song that accompanies the first meeting between the two lovers was obviously already chosen in the silent phase of the production, as one can see the words of the song superimposed on the screen – a not altogether rare artifice in silent films.
The director, Howard Hawks (who always played down the importance of the film) very efficiently recreates the cultural differences between the two races that are “too different”. There are humorous and light breaks in the story of a cruel and inevitable destiny that drags the two lovers to hate and self-destruction, in spite of the love which unites them.
Up until now there was only a 16 mm version of the film which didn’t do justice either to the film’s photographic talents nor to the soundtrack which, even though it doesn’t contain any dialogue, is notably important and of high quality. “Large and liberal doses of good solid box-office sex and sheik stuff predict a dollar sudded future for this Fox production. […] Production is excellent. Especially unnecesssary, however, and rather gruesome was the scene early in the unreeling when Fazil Orders the decapitation of a run-away servant. […] Photography is credited to L.William O’Connell, who has done a first rate job all the way. Howard Hawks’ direction is good. Perhaps a major share of the flowers belongs to the men who handled the script. Sheik thing was done to death a few years ago and it is notable that this story manages to add a few new wrinkles to a seemingly exhausted theme”. (Variety, 6/6/1928)