Friday, July 22, 2016

Muchachas de Bagdad

Les Mille et Une Filles de Bagdad 
Babes in Bagdad
Jerónimo Mihura et Edgar G Ulmer 
Barcelona 1952

Starring Paulette Goddard and Gypsy Rose Lee, and known as Muchachas de Bagdad, and Les Mille et Une Filles de Bagdad, as well as Babes in Bagdad, this was Ulmer’s follow up to his made in Lower Manhattan comedy, St Benny the Dip, also for the Danziger Brothers.  Christopher Lee has a small role as a slave merchant, and he fondly recalled attending the Barcelona Opera with Goddard and Ulmer for a performance of Tristan und Isolde.  The Burlesque elements here are pretty heavy handed and feel grossly misapplied, but once the plot kicks in with Kyra running back and forth between the two houses, and later when the Kadi, Hassan, is put out on the street as a beggar, one begins to see just how skillful a director Ulmer can be.  La Danse de la Mer in the long last scene is especially well handled.  Shot in an archaic two strip color film process called Cinefotocolor by master DP Georges Périna, it resembles the color movies put out by Ulmer’s old buddy, Carl Laemmle Jr, twenty years earlier.

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