Monday, November 12, 2012

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1962)

Letter from an Unknown Woman [resala min emraa Maghula] (1962) - (Farid Al Atrache) Egyptian film poster

Plot summary: The musician Ahmed Sami received a letter on the evening of his birthday. He was used to receiving flowers every birthday but this time he was reading a letter from a woman he did not know. Her name was Amal and she lived in front of him in his old home. She loved him without him knowing about it; she seldom saw him or had any reason to go into his home, but she knew his servant Ibrahim. However her mother had to get married and moved to another city. From time to time Amal looked at the home of her beloved who did not know her. One day he stopped his car for her, accompanied her to his home and she became pregnant by him, but he forgot her because she was just another girl to him. He lived the life of a musician. Amal worked in an office. The owner of the office offered to marry her but he knew there was another man in her life and he left her alone. Amal met her beloved one night but he did not remember her. He avoided her sonbut one day the son was hurt in an accident with a bus. The doctor said the type of blood the injured boy needed was rare. Amal was obliged to send her letter to Ahmed Sami, who came to the hospital on the evening of his birthday. He gave the blood to his son and married Amal after he learned about the length of time she had loved him. This film was directed by Salah Abouseif based on a 1922 novella by Stefan Zweig. That novella was also the basis for a 1948 movie with the same title starring Joan Fontaine.

Cast and crew: Farid Al Atrache, Lobna Abdel Aziz, Amina Rizk, Marie Munib, Salah Abouseif, Ezzat El Alaili, Abdel Moneim Ibrahim, Fakher Fakher, Hussein al-Sayed, Abdel Ghani Nagdi, Marie Ezzedine, Nawal Abul Foutouh, Fatthy Zaky, Wafia Khayry, El Sayed Bedeir, Aly Hassan, Stefan Zweig

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Manhunter صائدة الرجال Hoda Soltan (1960) Egyptian one-sheet

Man Hunter (1960) - (Hoda Soltan) Egyptian one-sheet

Plot Summary: A woman was working in a nightclub and trying to get away from that world at any price. She met a poor young boy who fell in love with her and asked for her hand in marriage. She accepted and left the world of the cabarets. She became extremely loyal and served her disabled father-in-law, but her husband felt he was not making her happy and embezzled some money from the company where he worked. What he did was discovered and he was imprisoned. Under these conditions she decided to go back to the bar and continue caring for her husband's father without the husband knowing the truth. However the husband was hurt when he got out of prison and he divorced her, but his father revealed to him the goodness of his wife and he went to her and brought her home again. This film was directed by Hassan Al Imam, story, screenplay and dialogue by Mohamed Osman and cinematography by Abdel Aziz Fahmy. Poster art is by Hassan Mazhar Gasour.

Cast and crew: Hoda Soltan, Shukry Sarhan, Mahmoud El-Meliguy, Hassan Al-Imam, Mohamed Osman, Abdel Aziz Fahmy, Shafik Noureddin, Salah Nazmi, Souraya Helmy, Soheir El-Bably, Ahmed Said, Omar Afifi, Ali Al Ghandour, Mousen Hassanein, Hussein Ismail, Mimi Gamal, Mahmoud Mokhtar, Nabila El Sayed, Hussein Kandil

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Birds of Paradise [عصافير الجنة] (Fairuz) - (1955)

Birds of Paradise (1955) - (Fairuz) Egyptian one-sheet

Plot summary: The old husband of a young woman manager of a beverage company died and the employees gathered around her. One of them flattered her because he wanted to be the general director. However she preferred the company's director of advertising and took him as a husband instead of appointing him general director, even though he was already the husband of a good woman and the father of three girls. The new wife was able to convince her husband to divorce the mother of his children and keep his daughters with him until they were of legal age. This separation was painful for the family. The youngest went to visit her sisters in the home of her father. They decided to run away and resolved not to separate. The three sisters passed their nights outside for they had no place to go. Their lives continued in this painful way. The father and the divorced mother searched for the fugitive sisters with the police while a journalist became aware of this social problem, and then the truth was told. The three sisters disguised themselves as boys and went to work for the pianist Ibrahim and his boy, another child who had lost his family in a similar way. The three sisters took up the profession of dancing and singing accompanied by the piano and stayed in an abandoned bus procured for them by Nadia. They decided to attack the factory of the carbonated beverage company owned by the wife of the father. The three little girls began distributing publications and warning the people against buying the factory's products. This threatened the factory and brought it to a sales slump. The angry wealthy wife lodged complaints against the divorced wife accusing her of inciting her daughters against her.

The accused was interrogated and the police arrested the girl. The sisters learned of the arrest and fled with a determination to commit suicide. The police, the father and the mother began searching for the sisters and the group found clothing floating in the water. This seemed to mean the sisters had killed themselves, but then the girls suddenly appeared and the father embraced his divorced wife.

The Fairuz starring in this film was a much younger Egyptian actress and is not to be confused with Lebanese diva by the same name.

Cast and crew: Fairuz, Mahmoud Zulfikar, Seif Eddine Shawkat, Nelly, Aziza Helmy, Mohammed Tawfik, Hassan el Baroudi, Abdel Ghani Nagdi, Anwar Madkour, Abbas Rahmy, Hassan Tewfik, Bruno Salvi

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Sad Melody (1960)

Sad Melody [al-naghm al-hazin] (1960) - (Samia Gamal) Egyptian one-sheet

The sadness of this film directed by Hassan El-Seify comes from the fact that four people are portrayed in ongoing efforts to connect romantically with one another that never lead to marriage or reciprocrated feelings. Nightclub life, music and dancing are prominent themes throughout. It was filmed by Greek cinematographer Alvisy Orphanily.

Cast and crew: Hassan El-Seify, Samia Gamal, Hussein Riad, Lebleba, Maher Al Attar, Mohamed Osman, Alvisy Orphanily, Souraya Fakhry, Abdel Moniem Ismail, Ibrahim Heshmat, Abdel Azim Kamel, Qadreya Qadry, Susie Kheiry, Anwar Madhour, Lola Nader

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Brother Enemies (1974) - (Nour El-Sherif) الاخوه الاعداء Egyptian one-sheet

Brother Enemies الاخوه الاعداء (1974) - (Nour El-Sherif) Egyptian one-sheet

This is a 27" x 39" Egyptian one-sheet poster designed by an unknown artist for the 1974 Houssam El-Din Mustafa film Brother Enemies, [al-akhwa al-eeda] an adaptation of Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov with screenplay and dialogue by Houssam El-Din Mustafa, Rafiq al-Soban and Nabiha Lutfi and starring Nour El-Sherif as Shawqi. Plot summary: Tewfiq [Hussein Fahmy] the son arrived at his city Al-Fayyoum to ask his father al-Aramany [Yehia Chahine] for his share of his mother's inheritance. The good brother Ahmed [Samir Sabri] who ran a school tried to settle affairs between the brother and the father. The father gave a sum of money to Tewfiq in return for ceding the land, but Tewfiq threatened to kill him if he did not give him more. Tewfiq liked Aida [Mervat Amin] but she had refused him previously and had taken from him the money she had used to pay the debt caused by her father's embezzlement from the cashier's office. Tewfiq and Aida became engaged. Al-Aramany provided for Lula, [Nadia Lutfi] the owner of the hotel where he liked to drink. He sold Tewfiq's share of the inheritance to Lula and Tewfiq went to settle accounts with Lula, but he fell in love with her, which angered his father. Aida worried Tewfiq would leave her; Tewfiq's brother Shawqi even advised her to leave him. However the demented epileptic brother Hamza, [Mohi Ismail] who was an illegitmate son and worked as a servant in the home, told his father about it. Tewfiq threatened to kill his father to separate him from Lula and get what was left of his inheritance from him. At the time of the visit the father sensed the presence of a strange person in the garden and screamed. Tewfiq saw Uncle Abdou al-Safragi and fled. Hamza told his brother Shawqi that he was the killer then hung himself. The court sentenced Tewfiq to be hung but the atheist Shawqi knew the truth and declared God also knew it.

Cast and crew: Houssam El-Din Mustafa, Nour El-Sherif, Ibrahim Saleh, Samir Sabri, Nadia Lutfi, Mervat Amin, Yehia Chahine, Hussein Fahmy, Mohi Ismail, Ahmed Mazhar, Imad Hamdi, Salah Zulfikar, Abdel Waress Assar, Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Love of the Millionaire (1957)

Love of the Millionaire (1957) - (Samia Gamal) Egyptian one-sheet poster

Plot Summary: Salwa (Samia Gamal) was a beginning dancer in a big exhibition dance troupe; she was trying to become the star of the team. Sure of her talents, she cut through the ranks until she became the first dancer in the troupe. The rumor spread that there was a love connection between her and a young millionaire (Kamal Al-Shennawi). Theater director Rashid took advantage of this rumor and asked Salwa to rob him. The millionaire asked about the truth of the rumor; she believed he was a journalist and he learned from her that the report was not correct. She asked him to publish her denial of this rumor. The wealthy young man was pleased with Salwa's directness and told her the truth about himself. Feelings of love developed between them and they married. This film was directed by Atef Salem.

Cast and crew: Samia Gamal, Kamal Al-Shennawi, Atef Salem, Abdel Salam Al Nabulsy, Said Abu Bakr, Klelio, Adly Kasseb, Souraya Fakhry, Abdel Moneim Ibrahim, Shafik Noureddin, Ahmed Louxor

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Flesh (1955) Egyptian one-sheet

Flesh [al-gessad] (1955) - (Hind Rostom) Egyptian one-sheet

Nemat was expelled from school and became a nightclub dancer after her mother left the marriage home. Her father tried to get his daughter back but could not bring her home. Amin, the director of the company where her father worked, fired him. Nemat learned of this and went to her father's aid. She promised to stay with him and quit the life of entertaining. He went out to bring food for her but when he returned he found Nemat had left home. Amin courted Nemat and she became his lover. Nemat's father tried to kill his wife and went to prison. The mother lost her sight as a result of the attempt to murder her. Nemat became acquainted with the attorney Hussein. Amin discovered that the girl his son was going to marry was his lover Nemat and the marriage fell apart. Nemat's health was destroyed because of an accident that left her unable to dance. She was diagnosed with a critical respiratory ailment and her lover left her. She lost all her savings that had paid for treatment and drugs. The father came out of prison and made amends with his wife and daughter. Hussein went back to Nemat and promised her treatment and marriage. He summoned the marriage official; Nemat prepared for marriage and put on a wedding dress. The marriage official arrived and Nemat put her life in Hussein's hands. This film was directed by Hassan Al Imam.

Cast and crew: Hassan Al Imam, Hind Rostom, Kamal Al-Shennawi, Fatma Rouchdi, Hussein Riad, Seraj Munir, Mokhtar Osman, Alvisy Orphanily, Hussein Al-Meliguy, Fifi Youssef, Mohamed Shawky, Souraya Fakhry, Abdel Hamid Badawi, Hussein Ismail, El Sayed Bedeir, Soad Ahmed, Souraya Hassan, Alia Fawzi, Mohsen Hassanein, Mohamed Sabih, Naim Mostafa, Abdel Moniem Seoudy, Ezzat Wahid, Soad Ahmed

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Unspoken Love (1959)

Unspoken Love (1959) - (Hind Rostom) Egyptian one-sheet

Boheira played games to get a successful man to marry her because she coveted his wealth, even though he was married to Samiha and loved her. The engineer's colleague Hoda loved him in silence and was content just to go along happily with his wife. Samiha had a daughter and after the birth the family and her husband agreed to an operation on her to save her life, without telling her. The girl grew and created a tie between the engineer and his wife. Boheira made her network around the engineer, but he thought of her as just a friend. However his wife was mindful of this and doubted him. The child died in an accdent and this killed the relationship between the enginer and his wife. Hoda made an effort to restore their unity and get rid of Boheira. Samiha learned from the physician that she would never bear children and that her husband had agreed to the operation. She despaired of restoring happiness to the family and the problems returned. Boheira took advantage of the opportunity and got close to the engineer. Hoda worked to restore peace between the two married people; however Samiha was aware that Boheira was competing in dance and soccer. Recently she had had a nervous breakdown and thought Hoda was having a relationship with her husband. She made Hoda leave the house to prevent them from talking to each other; this left Boheira alone with the engineer and it strengthened their relationship. The home was darkened with an air of difficulty. Samiha decided to kill her husband the engineer because she thought he was betraying her. However both she and Boheira were hurt in an accident. The engineer discovered Hoda's love for him and and her sacrifice, and he married her. Directed by Seif Eddine Shawkat.

Cast and Crew: Hind Rostom, Yehia Chahine, Mariam Fakhr Eddine, Ferdoos Mohammed, Seif Eddine Shawkat

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Land (1969) - (Youssef Chahine)

The Land (1969) - (dir: Youssef Chahine) Egyptian one-sheet

This film, based on a novel by Abdel Rahman al-Sharqawi, took 8 years to complete and was voted the the best Egyptian film of all time in a poll of Egyptian film critics; it is also on Ahmad Al-Hadari's 2007 list of the 100 most important Egyptian films. It featured the debut performance of actor Ali El Cherif. The film is about rural feudalism and depicts the struggle of peasants in a small village against a landowner's abuses.

Plot Summary: In the 1930s when the Egyptian farmer was victimized by the both the men in the government and the feudal lords, the feudal lord Mohammad Bey governed the destinies of the farmers in his village. He tried to irrigate his land as much as possible for its cultivation, but he only allowed the farmers to irrigate their lands for ten days. However this was not enough for the feudal lord and he soon reduced this to five days. He then went further and took a piece of farmer land to allow for the construction of a secondary road that would connect to his splendid palace from the main road. The farmer Abou Swelem [Mahmoud El-Meliguy] lamented "the people need land, the land needs water, the water needs connections, connections mean a palace, the palace wants a road and the road has its victims; we always are the ones who pay. That's the story of our lives with Mohammad Bey and the story of our forefathers with his." Interwoven with this complex tale of land grabs and deprivation of the poor are romantic rivaries and political intrigues. This is an epic film giving a broad overview of Egypt's classic lines of conflict and tension between rural farming folk, upper classes and political elites.

Cast and crew: Youssef Chahine, Hamdy Ahmed, Yehia Chahine, Ezzat El Aliali, Tewfik El Dekn, Mahmoud El-Meliguy, Salah El-Saadany, Abderrahman Charkawi, Ali El Cherif, Nagwa Ibrahim, Abdel Rahman El-Sharkawi, Hamdy Ahmed, Abdel Rahman El Khamesy, Hussein Assar, Abdel Waress Assar, Nabila El Sayed, Hussein Ismail, Abdelhalim Nasr

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The Rain Stopped جفت الامطار (Shukry Sarhan) - (1964) Egyptian one-sheet

The Rain Stopped

(1964) - (Shukry Sarhan) Egyptian one-sheet

Plot Summary: In this film by Sayed Essa the people in a coastal village found themselves in a dilemma when they were evicted from their lands to make way a new project and had to move to new land to prepare for residence there. The emigrants included Awad and his sister Henia. Life on the new land was not easy for the land they were to cultivate was salty and it was not possible to cultivate it until after this problem was corrected. Some people decided to go back where they came from but others decided to remain and face the problems. The land began to germinate too slowly and during this experience Henia sensed that Hassan was interested in her; during the first planting he asked her brother for her hand. They married but Awad felt that because of his sister's marriage he would have to live alone. However to his own surprise he married Amina and she lived with him.

Cast and crew: Sayed Essa, Raafat El-Mihi, Abdalla El-Tokhy, Shukry Sarhan, Samiha Ayyoub, Naima Wasfy, Soheir El-Morshidy, Shafik Noureddin, Abdel Moneim Bahnassy, Abdalla El-Tokhy

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Khan al-Khalili (1963)

Khan al-Khalili (1963) - (Samira Ahmed) Egyptian one-sheet

Plot Summary: The Akef family moved to Khan al-Khalili. They were the parents, the big brother Ahmed Akef who was over 40 and the little brother Rushdy was was completing his studies. A variety of personality types lived in Khan al-Khalili such as the teacher Nunu who lived his life with no tomorrow and ran sentences together when he spoke. In the midst of the air raids during World War II the people in the neighborhood took refuge in the air raid shelter. Ahmed loved his good-looking neighbor Nawal and tried to get close to her. His mother talked about his feelings for her. He felt he had hopes. When Nawal fell in love with Rushdy, met him and went for a walk with him Rushdy went through a crisis within and came down with tuberculosis. He thought of Ahmad and the sacrifice of his love for Nawal. Ahmad began to get involved with the Khan al-Khalil society and had an encounter with the teacher Nunu's nihilism. Rushdy's illness worsened and he died. Nawal was strickenby Rushdy's death and the family decided to move from Khan al-Khalili to another area.

This film is on film critic Ahmad Al-Hadari's 2007 list of the 100 most important Egyptian films, and film critic Sa'ad al-Din Tawfiq also includes it on his list of the Egyptian top 100; it is based on a novel by Naguib Mahfouz.

Cast and crew: Naguib Mahfouz, Atef Salem, Samira Ahmed, Imad Hamdi, Hassan Youssef, Taheya Cariocca, Abdel Waress Assar, Mohamed Reda, George Sidhum, Tewfik El Dekn, Amal Zayed, Abdel Khalek Saleh, Abdel Aziz Fahmy, Mustafa Samy

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Shafiqah the Copt

Shafiqa the Copt (1963) - (Hind Rostom) Egyptian one-sheet

This biographical film by Egyptian director Hassan Al Imam portrays the life of Shafiqa the Copt, the most famous Egyptian dancer of the early 20th century; it features Hind Rostom in the role of Shafiqa. Shafiqa was obliged to leave her only son in the care of her mother, who had banished Shafiqa from the home in deference to the demands of Shafiqa's conservative father. Although Shafiqa had a vast fortune and some of her best friends were important men in the government, the father did not permit her to see her son. Aziz grew up, came into his prime and fell in love with Soad, the daughter of Prime Minister Asad Pasha, who at the time was himself Known as the greatest lover in his government. Shafiqa formed a relationship with her son later. She invited him many times to her home without telling him she was his mother or that she was a famous dancer. In the presence of his daughter, Asad Pasha was indifferent towards Aziz when he asked for her hand, but in turn the minister was indifferent to his wife because of Shafiqa's influence. He then ordered Aziz imprisoned and abandoned the dancer. Shafiqa's maid Bahia became the minister's consort after the theft of the assets of her mistress. Soad abandoned the life of the world, entered a convent and refused to marry Aziz after his escape from prison. Finally as she was dying in his arms, Aziz realized Shafiqa was his mother. During the film Rostom performs some spectacular dances, including the famous dance of the candelabra.

Cast and crew: Hind Rostom, Zizi El-Badrawy, Hassan Youssef, Fouad El-Mohandes, Hassan Al Imam, Amina Rizk, Hussein Riad, Fakher Fakher, Hamed Morsi, Gamal Ismail, Ibrahim Heshmat, Abdelhalim Nasr, Mohamed Mustafa Samy, Galil Al-Badrawy, Salwa Mahmoud, Abbas Rahmy and Mohammed Abaza.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

An Abnormal Girl (1964)

An Abnormal Girl (1964) - (Showeikar)

Plot summary: This film directed by Ahmed Diaeddin depicts a picaresque chain of events in which a girl (Showeikar) is modeling swimsuits, then is taken away from the scene by her fiance when as a model she attracts inappropriate attention from a group of men. The two then find themselves at a party in a villa where a physician attempts to enlist her services as a model for his paintings, but this too is deemed inappropriate by her fiance, who attempts to have the physician charged with lewd behavior with the help of some compromising photos he has obtained with the help of his photographer friend. The girl finds a job as a cabaret waitress; while working there she learns her father is in prison. She goes to meet him when he is released, and is surprised to find that his second wife is also there to meet him. This is so traumatic for her that she attemts to kill herself by jumping into the Nile, but is rescued by one of her father's men, who takes her in a coma to her father's home. When she regains consciousness she finds her father in the room with her and thinks he is the one who has abducted her. She flees, breaks a leg while climbing out a window and is treated by the same painter/physician she had met at the party. She learns that this physician had not been guilty of lewd intentions after all. However, when questioned and accused in court the physician commits suicide. Her father attempts to take her with him from the court but she refuses to go with him. She makes her way through a maze of hallways at the courthouse and then disappears.

Cast and crew: Ahmed Diaeddin, Rushdy Abaza, Ahmed Ramzy, Youssef Fakhreddine, Youssef Fakhr Eddine, Shouweikar, Mahmoud El-Meliguy, Tewfik El Dekn, Adly El-Mowalid, Victor Antoun, Adel Adham, Mimi Shakeeb, Madiha Kamel, Abdel Khalek Saleh, Fatheya Chahine, Mohammed Abaza

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Auliban the Seller of Jokes بیاع الخواتم (Youssef Chahine) - (1965) Italian Locandina

Auliban the Seller of Jokes [baya' al-khawatim] (1965) - (Fairuz)

This is an extremely rare poster for the 1965 Youssef Chahine film Auliban the seller of Jokes [baya' al-khawatim], literally "The Seller of Rings." I think the poster was made in Italy because of its exceptionally high quality and the fact that it is on the same paper stock normally used for the Italian locandina. It is also interesting because it belongs to a subgenre of films made by Egyptian directors and set in Lebanon, and it features the Lebanese diva Fairuz when when she was in her prime.

Plot summary: The story is set in the year 1914 in a peaceful mountain village in Lebanon. The mayor, seeing that the population is bored, invents a fictitious character named Rajeh; he tells stories to villagers about the exploits of this person, who is a robber and a murderer. One day the mayor (Nasri Shamseddine) warns the villagers that Rajeh is heading to the village itself and tells them they must beware. Two clever men realize the mayor has been lying and decide to impersonate the fictitious Rajeh, steal money and assault the mayor in the dark. Eventually an old man who is really named Rajeh arrives in the village, amid public fears. Then it became obvious that Rajeh was merely a seller of rings for weddings who had wanted to marry his son to the mayor's daughter Homa (Fairuz). The two miscreants willingly go to jail for exploiting the mayor's prank.

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