Review: The Desert Hawk


Simply Media, out 9th May

In which Lily Munster gets caught up with shenanigans in the desert with Robin Hood…

Okay, that’s not actually the plot, but part of the fun of watching this 1950 contribution to the fantasy market is spotting the various actors and working out where you’ve seen them before. Rock Hudson pops up as a captain, Jackie Gleason is Aladdin, and Paths of Glory’s George Macready is the evil prince (a role that he could play in his sleep, and at times seems to be!)

At the time the New York Times called it “another fantastic excursion into a never-never Oriental land full of beautiful harem maidens and luxuriously turbaned sheiks, Technicolored tents and green oases, teeming bazaars and swimming pools – but, most of all, beautiful harem maidens with bare midriffs and soft, seductive smiles” and they pretty much hit the nail on the head. Viewed today three-quarters of a century later, there are elements that chafe (not least the strictly unhistorical use of Muslims bearing in mind it’s set “two thousand years ago”), and there’s a degree of sado-masochism inherent that is lightly glossed over.

DesertHawkLobbyVerdict: While it’s no Thief of Baghdad, if it’s seen as a product of its times, it’s a diverting way of passing 75 minutes. 6/10

Paul Simpson

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