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A racy story of Myrna, who arrives in Cairo to meet her fiance. She attracts the attention of Ramon, a conniving Arab guide who enchants rich women tourists in order to take advantage of them. She falls under his spell, and he turns out to be more than he seems.Written by
Robert Tonsing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Let's start with the positives – you have the very beautiful Myrna Loy appearing in a bathtub for goodness sake, a suave Ramon Novarro wooing her with beautiful songs, and an exotic pre-code tale set in Egypt. Where modern viewers will struggle is with the scenes in the desert, where Novarro mistreats and later rapes Loy. What started out as a forbidden romance, albeit with borderline creepiness in Novarro's persistence, becomes cringe-inducing, and I have to say, I also hated the ending. Men forcing themselves on women until they gave in was de rigueur for the time, and the fantasy about Arabs post-Valentino was still strong in America, but the film would have been stronger had it either had Novarro's character been truly honorable ('Barbarian' indeed), or Loy's ultimately capable of resisting him if he wasn't. As it is, one feels conflicted and kind of icky with the message it conveys about both Arabs and women. And yet, Loy and Novarro are both pretty compelling, and make it worth watching. Did I mention Loy appears in a bathtub?
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