Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Samia Gamal (1924-1994)

Samia Gamal, cover of Al-Kawakeb magazine 19 September 1961.

Samia Gamal was born Zaynab Ali Khalil Ibrahim Mahfouz in Bani Swaif, Egypt. She got her stage name from Badia Masabni, who was the founder of modern oriental dance and who ran a dance company of which Samia was a member. Samia Gamal was one of the greatest Egyptian dancers and appeared in many films during her active years as a performer (1942-1963). There is an article and filmography in Wikepdia. I have some images here of some of my favorite Samia Gamal posters:

Night Train [qattar al-leil] (1953) directed by Ezzel Dine Zulficar

First Romance [awwal gharam] (1956) directed by Niazi Mostafa

Father of Darkness [abul-lail] (1960) directed by Houssam El-Din Mustafa

Valley of the Kings (1954) (Robert, Taylor, Eleanor Parker) US one-sheet

Valley of the Kings (1954) (Robert, Taylor, Eleanor Parker) US lobby card showing Samia Gamal dancing the Dance of the Houris

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Cairo 1963 (George Sanders)

Half Sheet for the 1963 Wolf Rilla film Cairo

Watch the film on YouTube here.

This film was a remake of John Huston's 1950 Asphalt Jungle, based on the novel by W.R. Burnett. Most reviewers have considered it much inferior to the Huston version.

The cast was George Sanders, Richard Johnson, Faten Hamama, John Meillon, Ahmed Mazhar, Eric Pholmann, Walter Rilla, Kamal Al-Shennawi, Salah Nazmi, Shouweikar, Mona, Abdel Khalek Saleh, Said Abu Bakr, Salah Mansour, Mohamed El Sayed, Youssef Chaban, Ezzat El Alaili, Mohamed Abdel Rahman, Nahed Sabri and Aziza Hassan.

Some people may recognize the names Ahmed Mazhar (who was Saladin in the 1961 Youssef Chahine film Salah al-Din the Victorious) and Kamal Al-Shennawi, who has had a career of great prominence in Egyptian cinema for over 50 years. Salah Mansour had a role in this film as a doctor, but I will always associate him with his later role as the lecherous ill-fated village mayor in the 1967 Salah Abouseif film The Second Wife.

This film is interesting to me because it was made in Cairo and includes so much important Egyptian talent. The only Egyptian name on the poster is Faten Hamama, who was Egypt's most important actress at the time, married to Omar Sharif. Some people think the dancer pictured on the poster must be Hamama, but the dancer is actually the film's first dancer, Nahed Sabri, who is not named on the poster.

Nahed Sabri on the cover of the 19 September 1961 issue of Al-Kawakeb

Faten Hamama appears on one of the lobby cards:

Faten Hamama bidding farewell to George Sanders in a scene from the film. She was a major star in Egypt at that time, but in the lobby card caption she is identified simply as "Egyptian girl Faten Hamama."

She is also pictured in one of my film stills:

Faten Hamama as Amina sitting at the bedside of an injured George Sanders in his role as The Major

Faten Hamama shown (upper right) speaking with Cecil B. DeMille in the 19 October 1954 issue of Al-Kawakeb

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amal [امال] - (Shadia) Oversize Egyptian Poster (1952)

Amal [امال] (1952) - (Shadia) Egyptian oversize poster 47" x 36" art by Farag printed by Raghaeb Printers distributed by Lotus Films

Shadia [Fatima Ahmed Kamal] as she appeared in her role as Amal

Black and White (110 min.)directed by Youssef Maalouf, based on a story and screenplay by Henry Barakat, cinematography Mostafa Hassan; starring Shadia, Mohsen Sarhan, Farid Shawqi, Zouzou Nabil, Mimi Shakeeb, Mohamed Kamel, Choukoukou, Souraya Fakhry, Salah Mansour and Afaf Shaker.

The plot as summarized in the studio film program: "Hussein belonged to an old family in Alexandria and went to Cairo now and then. He knew the dancer Soheir, loved her and married her without telling his family, in order not to anger them. He chose a house for her in Cairo and made a habit of visiting her there from day to day. After months passed Soheir gave birth to a child named 'Widad.' When Hussein learned about this he went quickly from Alexandria to witness the birth, which was difficult in a way. After he was assured of the health of mother and child he arranged to return to Alexandria and to explain the matter to his family. He believed it would be easy to persuade his father to accept Soheir into the family, since he was his only son and because his father would be sympathetic to the little granddaughter. However fate was unkind to the wife and her daughter. Hussein's automobile turned over in a horrific accident. As a result he was taken to the hospital and there his uncle came to see him, since the father was bedridden. Hussein told his uncle about the secret marriage and then died. The uncle, named Amr, saw what was coming, because with the death of Hussein he would be the sole heir to his brother's enormous fortune were it not for the unexpected marriage. He therefore decided to make plans to make himself the sole heir of the enormous wealth; he was was encouraged by his wife Doria to carry out this evil plan, and the child Amal became an orphan. He turned her over to the costodian of the estate. The years went by and Amal became a lively, vigorous girl, but she lived like a stranger in her own house, an abject person in her own land. Was she destined to know her origins? Was she destined to win her beloved? You will find out in the film."

Cast and crew: Youssef Maalouf, Shadia, Mohsen Sarhan, Farid Shawqi, Zouzou Nabil, Mimi Shakeeb, Choukoukou, Souraya Fakhry, Salah Mansour, Mostafa Hassan, Afaf Shaker, Henry Barakat

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Salah Abouseif, Emile Zola Poster #2

The Criminal [al-mogrem] (1978) - (Shams El-Barudy) 27"x39" film poster, art by Walid Wahig, distributed by Dollar Films, printed by Al-Nasr Printers.

This film is a remake of the collaboration between Salah Abouseif and Naguib Mahfouz on a screenplay for the 1867 Emile Zola novel, mentioned in the previous post. The two versions are 26 years apart, the first was in black and white, the second was in color, both with completely different casts. It is the only collaboration they did that was produced and marketed twice.

Color (100 min.) cinematography Mahmoud Nasr. Starring Shams El-Barudy, Hassan Youssef, Mohamed Awad, Gamal Ismail, Nabil Badr, Hamdy Ahmed, Amina Rizk, Soheir El-Barouni and Anwar Mohamed.

Zaghloul married his cousin Ensaf even though he was a fool. The two of them lived under the support of her mother. Monir met the family through Zaghloul, who was a colleague at work. He began working a fiendish plan to take over the family, which he saw as a source of income for his constant gambling. He finally succeeded in eliminating Zaghloul by drowning him in the Nile during a boating trip. The people in the neighborhood claimed he was not able to save him because he did not know how to swim. Monir asked the aunt for Ensaf’s hand and she agreed. After he married her he began plotting against her. He obtained the right to take over the aunt’s property. In the neighborhood there was doubt about the activities of this person. It was discovered he had a relationship with a dancer and knew how to swim. Ensaf was told about this but she did not believe it. They took her to see him swimming with her own eyes, and the aunt was paralyzed with shock when she heard the story. The people in the neighborhood knew what had happened. They rushed in upon them and threw the aunt upon the ground. Meanwhile Monir tried to steal the jewelry and the people in the neighborhood chased him. The chase ended with him falling into the public bath.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Salah Abouseif, Emile Zola Poster #1

Your Day is Coming [lak yom ya zalem] (1952) - (Faten Hamama) Stone litho film poster (23.5 x 35.5 inches) art by Gasour, distributed by Dar al-Halal Films, printed by Raghaeb Printers

Black and White (110 min.); the film was directed by Salah Abouseif adapted from Emile Zola’s 1867 novel Thérèse Raquin, screenplay by Naguib Mahfouz and Salah Abouseif, cinematography Wahid Farid. Starring Faten Hamama with Mohsen Sarhan, Mohammad Tawfik, Mahmoud El-Meliguy, Abdel Waress Assar, Said Abu Bakr, Adly Kasseb, Wedad Hamdy and Ahmed Al-Gezeiry.

A man falls in love with the wealthy wife of a friend. He kills his friend, marries the widow, steals her money and jewelry and mistreats her. He is then arrested and punished.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Adventures of Antar and Ablah مغامرات عنتر وعبلة (Seraj Munir) - (1948) Egyptian one-sheet

The Adventures of Antar and Ablah (1948) - (Seraj Munir) Egyptian one-sheet

The theme of this film is idealistic, historic, nationalistic and patriotic; it lacks the wit and the careful and somewhat more pessimistic character studies and contemporary urban street scenes for which Naguib Mahfouz is best known in his later work. The story was written in 1945 and was Mahfouz’s first work for film. Its release was delayed until 1948. Directed and with screenplay by Salah Abouseif; story by Naguib Mahfouz and Abdel Aziz Salam, cinematography Mustafa Hassan; starring Seraj Munir and Kouka, with Zaki Toleimat, Negma Ibrahim, Khairia Kheiry, Abdel Hamid Zaki, Fakher Fakher, Stephan Rosti, Said Soliman and Farid Shawqi.

Plot summary: A magnificent celebration was held for the wedding of Antar and Ablah. The group was surprised on the wedding night when the governess of Antar and Ablah declared that they were siblings and that marriage was forbidden to them. Antar was overcome with sadness. He went into the desert where he encountered a band of Arabs under Roman attack. Antar observed in their ranks a brave warrior who was captured by the Romans after a fierce battle. The news reached his family and clan and they rushed to help him fight the Romans. They were joined by other Arab tribes. The Arabs defeated the Romans after a violent battle. The governess admitted she had fabricated the story that Antar and Ablah were siblings because of the demand by the prince who had hired her to separate the lovers because he wanted to marry Ablah. In the end the lovers returned to each other and married.

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