Scheherazade

Just another sand opera, this one without music and with Karina, an unlikely Arabian princess. Barring camels, caliphs, and wicked viziers, the plot line has little to do with the classical heroine of the traditional Persian/Indian/Arabian "A Thousand-and-One Nights." Instead, it mixes cultures, with Barray the emissary of his uncle, Emperor Charlemagne,...read more

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Just another sand opera, this one without music and with Karina, an unlikely Arabian princess. Barring camels, caliphs, and wicked viziers, the plot line has little to do with the classical heroine of the traditional Persian/Indian/Arabian "A Thousand-and-One Nights." Instead, it mixes

cultures, with Barray the emissary of his uncle, Emperor Charlemagne, dispatched to attempt to ensure safe transit for European pilgrims to the Holy Land ruled by caliph Vilar. On his trip, he saves Karina from Bedouin bandits and bears her to Baghdad, where she is to compete for the honor of

joining Vilar's harem. Those same qualities of looks, guts, and brains that are to win her that honor prove to be overwhelming to the youthful Christian, who beds her in the Sultan's harem, where they are discovered through the ministrations of the jealous Tolo. When Karina is condemned to death,

Barray offers to exchange his life for hers. Vilar agrees, but tosses his unfaithful near-bride to Baghdad's beggars to use for their pleasure. In the nick of time both are rescued by Barray's retinue and seek refuge in the arid desert. Forced by thirst from their barren sanctuary, they are

recaptured, but the recalcitrant caliph decides to pardon them both if Karina will be his bride. As the ceremony nears, wicked vizier Mistral foments a rebellion in which Vilar is wounded. Barray assists in undoing the uprising, and the lovers are blessed by the dying Vilar. Released in Europe in

sumptuous 70mm Superpanorama, a first there, the film lost scope in its journey abroad; it played in the US in a diminished 35mm version.

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