User Reviews (5)

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  • malcolmgsw5 February 2005
    It is difficult to believe when our age of cinema concentrates on youth,that here we have a film whose star is 68 years old.George Arliss managed to give the same performance in every film of his that i have seen.Namely a wise old man who would always outwit his rivals by the last reel.In this film he plays an Eastern sultan who is being wooed by Britain and an Eastern power.He manages to play both at their own game and to come out on top.The running time is a brief 62 minutes which seems short for what must have been one of Gaumonts more prestigious productions.Mind you i do not think that the film would have been able to stretch much more.Rather intriguingly the next film for 3 of the cast(Laurie,Tearle and Mannheim)would be "The 39 Steps" in the same studios for Hitch.Also the Sultans son is played by Ballard Berkeley,none other than the immortal "Major" in "Fawlty Towers".
  • One of Arliss' last efforts. He again (as in THE GREEN GODDESS) plays a sultan, one who is effortlessly adept at playing games of chess - with foreign powers, each of which thinks it is clever enough to manipulate him as ruler of a small but strategic kingdom. They ought to have looked more closely at the casting and know they could never come out on top with Arliss in the role.

    He is charming, clever, a master strategist, and does another impeccable job. Lucie Mannheim attempts to pull of a Dietrich impersonation and fails. The rest of the cast are acceptable.

    The dvd print runs 62 minutes with a missing third reel, FYI.

    Much fun and worth seeking out for a clever plot and a lesson in political maneuvering.
  • boblipton12 November 2017
    George Arliss channels the Raja of Rukh from THE GREEN GODDESS in a sly, rather than carnal mode. England wants an alliance with George Arliss' kingdom; so does a thinly-disguised Japan. Arliss wants neutrality and money to irrigate. His son, Ballard Berekeley, wants Lucie Mannheim, who is married to Ronald Ward.... who has just been caught smuggling booze into Arliss' very dry Muslim country and is scheduled to be hanged. As England demands its subject back, the population demands blood and Japan sees a chance to foment a revolution, who will come out on top?

    In any movie with Mr. Arliss, the fun is watching him say his lines in his sly, lazy way, while everyone dashes around, trying their hardest to get past him and his scriptwriters. Miss Mannheim offers some overwrought eye candy as temporary distraction, but Mr. Arliss is ninety per cent of the show, and a very good show it is.
  • I recently saw a 16mm print of this film at a film festival. It's a quirk of mine to time the films I watch and this one came in at 75 minutes. I've never seen a DVD of it, but this print seems to be very entertaining and was very well paced. Perhaps that missing third reel made it better. I liked it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Having spent the last half of the 1920's and first half of the 1930's in Hollywood, British actor George Arliss returned to his native England for the last decade of his life, wrapping up his film career by basically playing the same character he had played for that entire decade. Putting on a turban and a thin mustache, Arliss attempts to once again play a Muslim ruler (having done so in two screen adaptions of his successful play, "The Green Goddess"), and barely escapes the scrutiny that a bunch of non-Asian actors did as Charlie Chan. Cool and civilized, Arliss plots the execution of the husband of British the woman his son loves. Are his motives to punish the man he accuses of rum snuggling or free the wife to marry his son? Will this international incident mean war between this fictional Muslim kingdom and Great Britain?

    It is an understatement to say that Arliss is miscast, but that goes way beyond the silly little turbans he wears and the uppity, conniving manner in which he speaks. This is static, hammy, melodramatic and pretentiously poetic, in a way that could bring giggles rather than awes. But one question is raised, and that is how do you expose a power hungry mad man who hides behind an aura of charm? His decision to execute a well liked local businessman threatens to stir up the populace against Arliss. The rest of the cast pales to the hamminess of Arliss's obviously theatrical performance, although their subtleties for the most part aide them in being more believable. Most of the cast is made up of unknown or forgotten British actors, although Norma Varden will strike the cord of familiarity with.