16 December 2004 | bkoganbing
Jeff Chandler wins the Maureen O'Hara handicap
Back in the 1940s Universal studios big star was Maria Montez who hit a gold mine in those Arabian sand and sandal epics with Jon Hall and Sabu. A whole set was built for her and her films.
Now boss Carl Laemmle at Universal was always practical and why waste those sets. So Universal made a whole lot of those films for its post war pin up boys, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, and Jeff Chandler.
But this was one of the worst of them. Of course the obvious flaw is Maureen O'Hara as the Red-headed Arab princess. Ms. O'Hara was great when she was cast right, but here, she looks ridiculous and she knows it.
The plot such as it is involves Jeff Chandler as a Bedouin chief who has one aim, to capture the Black Stallion, Shozada. Along the way he develops a yen for Maureen. Well who wouldn't, redheads being such a premium out there in the Tunisian desert.
Maureen wants the horse too. She wants it so she can win the annual horse race and not have to marry one of the two Corsair Brothers, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Buddy Baer. Yoikes, what a choice.
So hero and heroine find a commonality of interest in the horse and each other.
I've often wondered what Jeff Chandler, who's real name was Ira Grossel, and who took being Jewish very seriously thought about playing an Arab. Remember this is post the Israeli war of independence and Chandler was a noted Zionist. He didn't look thrilled to be in this picture either. Was it politics or was it because it was such a stinkeroo.