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Arabs in Hollywood Movies on TCM: The Thief Of Bagdad, The Sheik

Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres in George Melford's The Sheik Long before they became Hollywood's favorite terrorists, Arabs were generally portrayed as lusty, uncouth, infantile beings in myriad Hollywood movies. Turner Classic Movies returns this month with their annual "Race & Hollywood" film series. The "race" this time around: Arabs. Frank Lloyd's long but generally entertaining 1924 epic The Sea Hawk is almost over. TCM has shown this one before a few times; long-thought lost, The Sea Hawk was restored about a decade ago. Popular leading man Milton Sills stars. Next are two silents starring movie idols of the 1920s: The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and The Sheik (1921). One of Douglas Fairbanks' biggest hits, The Thief of Bagdad was directed by Raoul Walsh; this Arabian Nights romp is probably Fairbanks' most enjoyable vehicle of that era. Quite possibly, it's Fairbanks best movie, period. Starring Rudolph Valentino, who set as many hearts aflutter as Justin Bieber,

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