AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
The Veils of Bagdad
Alternate Title: Prince of Bagdad
Director: George Sherman (Dir)
Release Date:   Nov 1953
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 4 Nov 1953; New York opening: 26 Nov 1953
Production Date:   19 Nov--mid-Dec 1952
Duration (in mins):   82
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast:   Victor Mature (Antar)  
    Mari Blanchard (Selima)  
    Virginia Field (Rosanna)  
    Guy Rolfe (Kasseim)  
    Leon Askin (Pasha Hammam)  
    James Arness (Targut)  
    Palmer Lee (Osman)  
    Nick Cravat (Ahmed)  
    Ludwig Donath (Kaffar)  
    Howard Petrie (Karsh)  
    Charles Arnt (Zapolya)  
    Jackie Loughery (Handmaiden)  
    Thomas Browne Henry (Mustapha)  
    David Sharpe (Ben Ali)  
    Sammy Stein (Abdallah)  
    Bobby Blake (Beggar boy)  
    Glenn Strange (Mik-Kel)  
    Charles Wagenheim (Bedouin spy)  
    Chester Hayes (Wrestler)  
    Thomas A. Renesto (Wrestler)  
    Hans Schnabel (Wrestler)  
    Vic Holbrook (Wrestler)  
    Russ Saunders Troupe (Acrobatic act)  
    Bob St. Angelo (Soldier guard)  
    Stuart Whitman (Sergeant)  
    Ben Welden (Stout wrestler)  
    George Lewis (Captain)  
    Dale Van Sickel (Messenger)  
    Merrill McCormick    
    Wally Walker    
    Ed Randolph    
    Carl Sklover    
    Emile Avery    
    Fred Carson    
    Herman Belmonte    
    Paul Stathes    
    Martin Cichy    
    Jack Perry    
    Ernest O. Flatt    
    Jimmy Dime    
    Al Haskell    

Summary: 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. 

Production Company: Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Co., Inc.  
Director: George Sherman (Dir)
  Fred Frank (Asst dir)
  Marshall Green (Asst dir)
  James Welch (Asst dir)
  Hershel Dougherty (Dial dir)
Producer: Albert J. Cohen (Prod)
Writer: William R. Cox (Story and scr)
Photography: Russell Metty (Dir of photog)
  Phil Lathrop (Cam op)
Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen (Art dir)
  Emrich Nicholson (Art dir)
Film Editor: Paul Weatherwax (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Russell A. Gausman (Set dec)
  John Austin (Set dec)
Costumes: Rosemary Odell (Cost)
Music: Joseph Gershenson (Mus dir)
Sound: Leslie I. Carey (Sd)
  Joe Lapis (Sd)
Dance: Eugene Loring (Dances)
Make Up: Joan St. Oegger (Hairstylist)
  Bud Westmore (Makeup)
Production Misc: Dewey Starkey (Unit mgr)
  Ralph Faulkner (Fencing trainer and choreographer)
Color Personnel: William Fritzsche (Technicolor col consultant)
  Harry Wolfe (Technicolor tech)
  Ledger Haddow (Technicolor tech)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 3/11/1953 dd/mm/yyyy LP3153

PCA NO: 16350
Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric Recording
  col: Technicolor

 
Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Arabian
 
Subjects (Major): Bagdad (Persia)
  Dancers
  Duplicity
  Impersonation and imposture
  Revenge
  Romance
  Spies
  Sultans
 
Subjects (Minor): Bodyguards
  Bribery
  Caravans
  Fathers and daughters
  Gold
  Marketplaces
  Palaces
  Proposals (Marital)
  Robbery
  Sword fights
  Torture
  Venice (Italy)
  Wives
  Wrestlers and wrestling

Note: 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). 

Bibliographic Sources:   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.

Display Movie Summary
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.
 
Advanced Search
AFI Membership

© 2014 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.