Monday, May 21, 2012

Baby Take a Bow

It's been ages since we've had a look at one of the wonders of Egyptian cinema, hasn't it?  Today, we revisit the glory days of 1950, when King Farouk looked serenely solid on his post-war throne, and Hollywood on Nile was addressing its longstanding moppet shortage by starring the remarkable tot seen to great advantage in this number from a musical called Yasmin.

Her name was Fayrouz Arteen, and she occupies more or less the exact place in Egyptian movielovers' hearts that Miss Shirley Temple does for fans in the West.  She made only a handful of films, but remains even today, sixty years and more later, much beloved, living quietly in retirement in Cairo.  She's part of an extended performing family; two of her more famous cousins are the great stars Nelly and Lebleba, for what that's worth.

Here she's paired with veteran star Anwar Wagdi (more or less the Clark Gable of the East).  It's a long number, and Fayrouz doesn't get to strut her stuff 'til 4:30, but the whole thing is worth sitting through. 

It's a lavish production by Cairo standards, reaching, if one needs an equivalent, up from Monogram standards to reach, if only through the number of costumes and more-or-less dancing extras, the level of a middling Columbia second feature.  Still, Fayrouz does her considerable best, and it's all really rather charming, I think. 

Which must be worth something, since you know I loathe children.


  1. i'd forgotten all about that ancient egyptian motion picture law,
    medium & long shots-only!

  2. So much to love here. So very much. The lead clown strumming his trumpet like a banjo; the limp phallic balloon decorations; and then, belly-dancers! Belly dancers who've obviously never worked in a chorus line before. And the head caped crusader bellydancer who keeps her good stuff under wraps till the very end cause you don't want to waste it.

    As for Little Miss, am I wrong for wanting to slap her? Somewhere between the eye rolling, the ballet and the hoochie koochie, I was just overwhelmed with the urge to pop her a good one. I am ashamed.

  3. Fabulous insanity! Needless to say, I love it.