Sog., Scen.: Ali Al-Zorkani, Helmi Halim. F.: Ahmed Khorshed. M.: Kamal Abou el-Ela. Scgf.: Maher Abdel-Nour. Mus.: Fouad El-Zaheri. Int.: Faten Hamama (Amal), Omar Sharif (Ahmed), Zaki Rostom (Taher Pasha), Abdelawarès Assar (il padre di Ahmed), Farid Chawki (Riad), Hamdy Gheith (Selim). Prod.: Gabriel Talhami per Films Gabriel Talhami. DCP. D.: 117’. Bn
A young sailor returns home to Alexandria after three years’ absence to find his mother and his pretty cousin, Amal, still living in the small house he grew up in. Now that he has saved up some money, there is nothing to stop him from marrying Amal. New developments, though, threaten his plans…
Wheeling and dealing in the port of Alexandria, boat chase sequences through raging seas, a torrid love affair… this black-and-white film left an indelible mark on generations of Arab film buffs, notably for its ardent movie kiss between the sailor and his cousin: a brutal kiss taken without consent to illustrate the devastating effects of this working class sailor’s passion for his beloved, whom he suspects, wrongly, of preferring a childhood friend, the prosperous new harbour manager.
Shot in Youssef Chahine’s native Alexandria, this social melodrama established his style, underpinned by a stint in Hollywood learning the business and an obsession with Shakespeare. It was to be a style that combined political commitment and a love for glamour with the highest artistic standards, both in camerawork and in the generosity with which he made his films accessible to a wide audience. This production also launched the career of another native Alexandrian, Michel Chelhoub, who achieved Hollywood star status as Omar Sharif, a more catchier name devised by Chahine himself. The sensuous manner in which Chahine filmed Sharif set him and Faten Hamama, the biggest Egyptian star of her day, at the pinnacle of glamour in the golden age of Egyptian cinema. They married after the shoot.
Restored by Association Youssef Chahine in collaboration with Cinémathèque française and MISR International Films with the support of CNC – Centre national de la cinématographie et de l’image animée and Archives audiovisuelles de Monaco at Hiventy laboratory from a negative nitrate print preserved by Archives audiovisuelles de Monaco