Monday, August 2, 2010

Raya and Sekina (Egypt 1953)

Ria and Sekina (1953) - (Anwar Wagdi) original Egyptian film poster

Based on a true story, directed by Salah Abouseif, story and screenplay by Naguib Mahfouz and Salah Abouseif, art by Solly, printed by Orfand and Sons, distributed by Al-Hilal Films, cinematography Wahid Farid, starring Anwar Wagdi, Negma Ibrahim, Zouzou Hamdy El-Hakim, Farid Shawqi, Shukry Sarhan, Samira Ahmed, Berlanty Abdel Hamid, Reyad El Kasabgy, Shafik Galal, Said Khalil and Seraj Munir.

English Plot Summary from Film Program: Ghoulish fiends in female shape, murderesses without parallel in the annals of criminology in Egypt! Though thirty years have elapsed since the hangman's noose throttled forever their foul activities, those who remember still shake with horror when thinking of them.

The curtain is raised in Alexandria, the second largest city of Egypt, where for two consecutive years its inhabitants were living under a spell of terror: young women were disappearing into thin air one after the other, leaving absolutely no trace; the police were at their wits end and it was certain that these disappearances were caused by a most highly organized gang and could not be brought about by an individual single-handed.

117 women had disappeared and still the entire police force of Alexandria were baffled and seemingly powerless to deal a death blow to the gang... until one day an apparently insignificant information pricked the ears of a smart young police officer, who at the risk of his life set about to free the country from these murderers: he was certain now that all the missing victims had been murdered, and that the motive was robbery, since all the women wore on them gold jewellery.

These horrible crimes could not go on indefinitely and the old dictum 'crime does not pay' had to be proved correct once more: after breath-stopping incidents the country at last learnt with immense relief the arrest of the gang of assassins; after their arrest only 37 bodies could be found out of the 117 missing.

The scenario of the film Raya and Sekina on the basis of which the film has been made is nothing more than a complete reporting of the case, dramatically brought to screen-life following a thorough study of the Criminal Investigation Department's old files.

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