8 May 2006 | copper1963
Banned but not forgotten in the Muslim world.
Hang on to your turban and ride your magic carpet to North Africa in search of camels, cabaret and oil. Set in 1953, the English and French already have their spigots in the "open" position. Sultry Yvonne Decarlo has been recruited to spy on an Arab rebel leader who has slaughtered hundreds of French Foreign Legionnairs at a place called Fort Algiers. The shot of numerous soldiers lying motionless on the grounds is shocking. The production values are so good, I thought they might have been lifted from another film. Oddly, the set dresser leaves the walls of the cabaret and palace bare--no art or detail. Ms. Decarlo has a role that is ahead of its time. She knows how to read and send codes, ride horses, fire weapons, and detonate explosives. She can also sing and speak Arabic. She is in high demand. The writers give her a neat spy kit to employ against the mean "Amir" and his palace guards. Carlos Thompson plays the love interest of Miss Decarlo. He looks and sounds a little bit like Danny Kaye--with an accent. They make a good team. One strange angle: there appears to be very little discipline in the outfit. The men talk back to their superiors, drink and play cards much too often, and are lacking in spit and polish. On the other hand, Miss Decarlo's shirts are always crisp and clean. She should lead the charge.