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Three tales of destiny unfold on the banks of the Nile.
Each night, The girl, Gina, insists that her brother Gregor accompany her to a Cairo nightclub to see the act of knife thrower Tony Madrano. Tony and Gina are secretly attracted to each other, which annoys Gregor, as well as Tony's shrewish wife and partner, Fleury, who constantly berates Tony and his acrobat brothers. Tony refuses to listen to her and insists that she accompany him and the family to Rome, where they have just been offered a lucrative booking. One night, Tony arranges for a rendezvous with Gina in the garden of her hotel, and the two admit to each other that they fell in love at first sight. Although Gina and Gregor must return to their home in South Africa in two weeks, and Tony is going to Rome, they determine to spend as much time as possible together until then. On the night before Tony is to leave for Rome, he and Fleury argue because she does not want his family to continue with the act. The angry Tony quickly leaves to meet Gina along the Nile, but is followed by Fleury. Fearing that they will be separated forever, Tony proposes to Gina, but is interrupted by the appearance of Gregor. Tony sends Gina ahead, then argues with Gregor and knocks him unconscious. After Tony runs away, a thief arrives and takes an expensive ring off Gregor's finger, then brutally strikes him and pushes the body into the Nile. He is observed by Fleury, who has been following Tony. Unaware of Gregor's fate, Tony asks Gina to go to a restaurant owned by some friends instead of going home. The next day, a few minutes after Tony tells Fleury that he is leaving her, she calls the police to tell them that Tony killed Gregor. One of Tony's brothers immediately warns him that the police are coming, and Tony deduces that he must have accidentally killed Gregor when he hit him. Tony tries to escape as the police surround his house, but is soon trapped. Fleury then begs the police to let her talk with Tony before they shoot at him, and secretly reveals to him what she saw. She promises to tell the police the truth in exchange for Tony never seeing Gina again. He reluctantly agrees, and Gina waits, alone, in the restaurant. Sometime later, in Rome, Tony is about to finish his act. As he prepares to throw the last knife at Fleury, her eyes fill with terror when she sees the hatred in his face.
In the Egyptian desert, the child of pilgrims on the way to Mecca falls desperately ill, despite rituals performed by a magician. When American doctor Walter Jansen arrives, accompanied by an Egyptian doctor, they determine through a blood sample that the child has bubonic plague and implore the caravan to remain for an incubation period of six days. The boy's parents want to leave immediately so that the mother, who is pregnant, can give birth in Mecca, but the reluctant agreement of the caravan sheik, and the presence of soldiers, prevents them from continuing. Dr. Jansen finds the customs of the Egyptians difficult to understand, but the Egyptian doctor, who knows that Jansen is trying his best to prevent the spread of a terrible disease, urges him to be patient. Although a man of science, the Egyptian doctor also honors the customs of his people. While they are talking, one of the Egyptian guards informs them that the pregnant woman and her husband have escaped from the camp. A few days later, the magician, who is jealous of the doctors' influence, steals a piece of paper from their tent and takes it to the sheik. Because none of the others can read, the magician convinces them that the paper confirms that the doctors will not let the pilgrims leave in two days as promised. The sheik is angered by what appears to be a broken promise and arranges for the pilgrims to fool the soldiers into relaxing their guard. When Jansen finds one of the guards unconscious, he orders a shot fired above the heads of the pilgrims. Once he has their attention, Jansen broadcasts a message on a loud speaker urging them not to leave and spread the disease. The sheik refuses to listen until the Egyptian doctor convinces him to allow Jansen to speak for ten minutes, until the sand runs out of an hour glass. In a tent, Jansen, the Egyptian doctor, the sheik and the magician talk. Jansen is shocked by the magician's accusation, denies that it is true and says that he has great tolerance for all religions. Just then, the doctors' camp telephone rings and they learn that the couple has been found. Because the mother had the plague, she passed the disease onto her baby, who was born dead. Seeing the worry on the doctors' faces, the sheik proposes to settle the issue by letting some pigeons loose and seeing in what direction they fly. If they fly west, he will tell the pilgrims to stay two more days; if east, they will leave. As the sheik sets the pigeons free, they fly west. Jansen is relieved, but asks the Egyptian doctor how he could have remained so calm. The Egyptian doctor then reminds him that the sheik alluded to a parable about Alexander the Great. In the story, Alexander was in a situation in which he knew what he had to do, but to save face with his people, he said that the pigeons would determine his choice. The pigeons used were homing birds, which could only fly in one direction, thus making the right choice, but saving face at the same time.
Outside a Coptic Church, American con men Nick and Charlie discuss their latest proposal to make a profit from the holy bread the priests bake. Charlie wants to smuggle some diamonds out of the country, but Nick refuses, insisting that they are not crooks, but merely skim from "legit" businesses. The two go into the church to propose their idea to the kindly priests, who welcome Nick and Charlie, but are reluctant to sell bread that is given away to the poor. As Nick proposes that they wrap the bread in paper describing the good works of the Coptic church, Miriam, the young woman who runs the bakery, hears the plan and tells the priests that the idea is the gift from God that she has prayed for. Miriam, Nick and Charlie eventually convince the simple priests, who will only sell the bread for enough to cover expenses and help the poor. Soon the entire town is working industriously in the bakery and Nick is impressed by the kindness of everyone he meets, especially Miriam. Worried that Nick is "getting religion," Charlie decides to go ahead with his scheme to smuggle the diamonds into Ethiopia by placing one diamond into each loaf of bread that is to be set aside for a "special" delivery exactly five days before Easter. When Nick sees what he is doing, he is angry, but Charlie convinces him that, instead of skimming five thousand dollars from the sale of the bread, they should give all of the money to the church and make their profit only from the diamonds. Nick agrees, on the stipulation that the priests and people of the town will not be hurt, and when the advance from the bread distributors arrives, he gives all of the money to the priests. One day, some weeks later, Nick and Charlie wonder why the streets are deserted. They go through the town and soon find that everyone is taking part in a religious procession. Curious, they ask what the occasion is and the priest tells them that it is Easter. When Charlie shows the priest his calendar, and insists that Easter falls on the twenty-fifth of the month, the bemused priest tells him that the Coptic Church celebrates Easter on a different schedule than the Western Churches. Suddenly panicking, Charlie asks the priest in charge of shipments what happened to the "special" bread and the priest assures him that they were sent on schedule, five days before Easter. A few days later, as Nick says goodbye to Miriam and the priests, a telegram arrives from the bread distributor asking for an increase in shipments. He writes that the bread is a huge success, especially since a rumor began that some loaves contain diamonds. The priests give Charlie and Nick loaves of the holy bread to take on their journey. When Charlie bitterly declares that the bread tastes like poison, Nick says it tastes just fine to him.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1953||Production Date:||
A Victor Stoloff Production
16mm print from BOB
|Color/B&W:||Distributions Co:||Filmakers Releasing Organization, Inc.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Tales of Cairo, Inc.|
|Duration(mins):||76||Country:||Egypt and United States|
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