Babes in Bagdad


1h 19m 1952

Brief Synopsis

Hassan (John Boles), the Kadi of Bagdad, has a harem housing 12 beauties, but concentrates his attention on Zohara (Gypsy Rose Lee). A newcomer, Kyra (Paulette Goddard), introduces rebellion into the by the unheard of act of complaining to the Caliph about the lot of the women in the harem. Hassan suffers a greater shock when his God-son, Ezar (Richard Ney), asserts that women are the equal of men. They make a wager under which Ezar must settle down with a conventional harem unless Zohara can outwit Hassan within ten days.

Film Details

Also Known As
Muchachas de Bagdad
Release Date
Dec 7, 1952
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fritzi Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Great Britain, Spain, and United States
Location
Barcelona,Spain; Barcelona,Spain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Anscocolor)

Synopsis

In the harem of Hassan, the Kadi of Bagdad, twelve wives await his pleasure, under the watchful eye of Sinbad, a eunuch. Hassan's favorite is Zohara and he gives her the task of calming Kyra, a new addition to the harem. However, Kyra begins to organize the women in a revolt against Hassan and dictates a letter which Zohara sends to the Caliph, Hassan's superior, protesting their required submission to one man. The Caliph is outraged and orders Zohara's execution, but Ezar, his godson, tells him that despite a birthday gift of two harem girls, he wants only one woman for all time. This appalls the Caliph but they both agree that Ezar will check on the women's complaints when he goes to Bagdad to investigate Sharkan, the tax collector, whom the Caliph suspects of malfeasance. In Bagdad, after Ezar overhears Kyra saying that she wants only one man for all time, he decides to help Kyra and Zohara formulate a plan to outwit Hassan. Ezar poses as a well-educated swordsman and doctor and ingratiates himself with Hassan. Ezar then hires several blind men to dig a tunnel into the harem, but Sharkan, who is suspicious of Ezar, plants a sighted informer in the group. After Ezar's uncle informs him that Sharkan is a notorious thief and has hired a spy, Ezar passes a snake in front of each man's eyes and the informer is discovered. Later, Ezar overhears Sharkan planning an attack on the caravan that is to deliver the Caliph's share of the tax revenues and tells Hassan. After they prevent the attack, Hassan offers Ezar a reward, and when Ezar states that he would like to be married, Hassan promises to officiate at the ceremony. Meanwhile, Hassan has become infatuated with Kyra and intends to marry her, but is very puzzled when he meets Jessica, Ezar's bride-to-be, as she is identical to Kyra. Unaware that Kyra is also posing as Jessica, Hassan becomes exhausted and confused while hurrying back and forth from his palace to Ezar's villa to check that there really are two identical women. Finally, on the point of collapse, Hassan officiates at the wedding of Ezar and Jessica. Exhausted, Hassan returns to the palace to find Kyra, who slips something into his drink and he passes out. Ezar then kidnaps Hassan, dresses him as a beggar and leaves him in the market place. Eventually, Hassan wakes up and greatly amuses the merchants with his lofty demands. Later, when Sharkan discovers that Ezar is the Caliph's godson and that he has taken his tax collection records, he orders his men to find and kill Ezar. At Ezar's villa, Sharkan's men take Kyra hostage against the return of the records. Meanwhile, during the annual celebration of Hassan's birthday, beggars are admitted to the palace feast and Hassan is able to approach Zohara and very humbly tell her who he is. At first Zohara declines to recognize him, but once convinced that he has been suitably chastened by his experience as a beggar, gives him his proper clothes back. He, in turn, promises that she will be his only wife and that he will release all the others immediately, with a dowry. During the festivities, Kyra escapes from Sharkan, and Hassan realizes that Jessica is really Kyra, but is reminded by Zohara that Kyra and Ezar are lawfully married. The Caliph then arrives, having been summoned by Ezar, and orders the arrest of Sharkan and his men. Finally, Hassan is happy with Zohara and, after Ezar introduces Kyra to the Caliph, the Caliph tells him he is free to settle down with only one woman.

Film Details

Also Known As
Muchachas de Bagdad
Release Date
Dec 7, 1952
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fritzi Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Great Britain, Spain, and United States
Location
Barcelona,Spain; Barcelona,Spain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Anscocolor)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Danziger Brothers, who were based in both New York and London, organized a company, Fritzi Pictures, Inc., specifically for this film. The file also indicates that the film was originally intended for Paramount release. Although Babes in Bagdad was released in color, the print viewed was in black-and-white. In a December 9, 1951 New York Times news item, co-producer Edward J. Danziger stated that the film would be shot in Cinefotocolor, a new, Spanish color process utilizing a chemical dye process and a special camera but ordinary black-and-white negative and positive film. The Hollywood Reporter review of the film described the process as "frequently hazy and murky in various shades of blue, tan and red." Advertisements for the film's U.S. release listed the color as "Exotic Color." The music composer was usually credited as Jesús García Leoz. The order of the opening and ending cast credits differ. The New York Times article stated that some scenes were to be shot in Tunis, but it has not been determined if location shooting actually took place there.
       Muchachas de Bagdad, a Spanish-language version of this film was made simultaneously and included variations on the original screenplay. The principal actors, Paulette Goddard, Gypsy Rose Lee, Richard Ney and John Boles were dubbed, while supporting roles were played by Spanish-speaking actors: "Sharkan" by Rafael Durán, "Zelika" by Julia Lajos, "Omar" by Antonio Riquelme and "Officer" by Luis Induni. The credits on the Spanish version list Jerónimo Mihura and Edgar G. Ulmer as co-directors, Jack Cox and Georges Perinal as directors of photography, José Luis Pérez de Rozas as camera operator and Marina Norek as choreographer. The pressbook for the Spanish version also credits Georges Perinal as director of photography of the English version.