SIREN OF BAGDAD (1953)
Article 2642 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-30-2008
Posting Date: 11-6-2008
Directed by Richard Quine
Featuring Paul Henreid, Patricia Medina, Hans Conried
The dancing girls in a magician’s troupe are kidnapped by thieves from Bagdad, where an evil grand vizier has usurped the throne from the true sultan. The magician combines forces with the deposed sultan to restore him to the throne and to get his dancing girls back.
Arabian Nights epics must have fallen on hard times during the fifties; the last one I saw came from poverty row studio Monogram (and which also featured Patricia Medina), and this one was produced by budget-conscious Sam Katzman. To its credit, this one plays it for laughs rather than thrills. “The Motion Picture Guide” makes a comment that it bears a certain similarity to the Hope/Crosby Road movies, which is an observation I found rather shrewd; though this movie has far more of a plot than you’d ever find in a Road movie, there’s no doubt the Hans Conried’s character, lines, and shtick sound ready-made for Bob Hope. It also has that same sense of surreal non-reality that pushed the Road movies into marginal fantasy, though this one has lots of magic to qualify it for the genre. All in all, I found this one quite enjoyable, with Hans Conried’s comic battle with the fake sultan (in which each combatant seems reluctant to attack) a highlight.