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The Adventures of Hajji Baba

The Adventures of Hajji Baba(1954)


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In ancient Persia, barber Hajji Baba tires of his sedentary life and decides to leave his home town of Ispahan to seek adventure and fortune. Merchant Osman Aga bets another trader that the handsome Hajji will become a success within six months, while in the palace, Princess Fawzia greets her father, the caliph of Ispahan. The caliph is infuriated by his headstrong daughter's insistence on marrying Prince Nur-El-Din, who has a reputation as a cruel womanizer. When her father informs her that she will instead marry his ally in Basra, Fawzia disguises herself as a boy and slips out of the palace to a nearby stream, where she is to meet one of Nur-El-Din's warriors. Unknown to the princess, Hajji, passing by and intrigued by the warrior's warning that he is there to pick up a valuable treasure, has bested the warrior in a fight and taken the prince's seal. Assuming that Nur-El-Din has sent a warrior disguised as a barber to accompany her to his home in Meshed, Fawzia asserts that her emerald ring is the treasure the prince is seeking, but when her turban unravels, Hajji realizes who she is and that she is Nur-El-Din's treasure. As her father's soldiers approach, Fawzia offers Hajji the emerald to take her to Meshed. The couple gallop off through the desert, and when they stop to rest, Hajji, more interested in escaping the caliph than in romance, resists the curious princess' attempt to kiss him. The couple then overtake Osman's caravan, and Hajji introduces Fawzia, again dressed as a boy, as his apprentice. Osman intends to sell goods at the wedding of Fawzia and Nur-El-Din, and shows Hajji a beautiful slave girl, the dancer Ayesha, whom he hopes will interest the fickle prince. Fawzia grows jealous of Hajji's delight in Ayesha and is angered to hear the men gossiping that the princess is spoiled and tempermental. Later that night, Nur-El-Din's warrior, who has followed Hajji, fights with him to regain the princess, but during their struggle, she is apprehended by one of her father's men. Hajji temporarily rescues Fawzia and squabbles with her again about love, but they are captured by the caliph's soldiers and marched through the great pass on the way to Basra. Occupying the pass, however, are the legendary Turcoman warriors, former harem slaves who have escaped and become thieves. The women capture both the soldiers and Osman's caravan, and the women's leader, the strong-willed Banah, decides to keep Hajji as her consort. Later, Fawzia's identity is revealed, and Fabria, one of Banah's compatriots and Fawzia's former slave, repays her ex-mistress' cruelties by tying her arms to a pole and hoisting her into the air. That night, Hajji sneaks out of Banah's tent to rescue Fawzia, but they are caught and strung up to die together. A group of the women are then attacked by Nur-El-Din's men, and Banah leads her troops to avenge them. Left alone, Fawzia apologizes to Hajji for her selfish behavior, and the couple declare their love for each other. In the desert, the Turcomans are captured by Nur-El-Din, and when he sees Banah wearing Fawzia's emerald ring, he demands to know where she got it. Ayesha, hoping to earn the prince's favor, tells him that Fawzia is at the Turcoman camp, and Nur-El-Din's men rescue her and Hajji. When they are brought before Nur-El-Din, Fawzia prompts Hajji to tell him that they are in love, but after Hajji sees the jealous prince execute a man who stole one of his harem girls, he states that he was merely bringing Fawzia to him in exchange for the emerald. Crushed, Fawzia goes with Nur-El-Din, who sends two of his men back to execute Hajji and retrieve the gem. Hajji kills the men, and before sending their corpses to Nur-El-Din's camp, shaves their heads as a message to Fawzia that he is still true to her. Back in Ispahan, Osman praises Hajji's new status as a wealthy merchant, due to the sale of the emerald, but Hajji admits that he is unhappy because he does not have Fawzia. In the desert, Fawzia interrupts a romantic encounter between Nur-El-Din and Ayesha and declares that she will not marry the prince. Angered, Nur-El-Din reveals that he needs control of Ispahan to succeed in his plan to conquer Persia. In the city, the caliph sends for Hajji and reveals that Fawzia has informed him of Nur-El-Din's plans. Knowing that Hajji loves Fawzia, the caliph begs him to save her and states that sometimes one man can do what an army cannot. The determined Hajji then travels with Osman's caravan to Nur-El-Din's camp, where, disguised as a holy man, he approaches Ayesha. Telling the dancer that if Fawzia is gone she will be able to become Nur-El-Din's bride, Hajji persuades her to slip the guards some drugged wine. Meanwhile, Fawzia has snuck away and, dressed as Hajji's apprentice, asks Osman to take her to Ispahan. Osman reunites Fawzia with Hajji, who tells her of his plan to free the Turcomans in order to distract Nur-El-Din from her escape. After Ayesha gives the guards the wine, the women are freed and begin to battle Nur-El-Din's men. The prince notices that Fawzia is missing, however, and pursues her and Hajji. Hajji defeats his enemy with a thrust of his sword, and soon the triumphant Banah wishes them well. Later, after Hajji and Fawzia have married, Osman collects his wager about Hajji's success, and the new prince retires to his bed chamber with his princess.