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On their trip through the desert, German adventurer Kara Ben Nemsi
(Fred Raupach) and his beduine servant Hadschi Halef Omar (Heinz Evelt)
find a murdered man. Later, they bump into the caravan of Abu Seif (Erich
Haussmann), whom Kara is quick to identify as the killer, but of course,
Kara and Halef are outgunned. Abu Seif knows about their suspicions but
lets them go, to then shoot their guide on their way through a swamp,
expecting them to lose their way and die in the swamp as well ...
next city: Kara and Halef have made it out of the swamp despite
everything, and a hot bath and a good shave alter Kara's appearances so
radically he looks like a new man. Kara, who has the reputation (if not
the certificates) to be a doctor, is called to the home of a rich merchant
to cure his wife. Kara recognizes the merchant to be Abu Seif, but is not
recognized back. When he talks to Abu Seif's wife Senitza (Katharina
Berger), he learns that she is the daughter of Sheik Malek (Aruth Wartan),
leader of a beduine tribe, but was abducted by Abu Seif. Kara promises to
free her, and so he does, much to the dismay of Abu Seif ...
desperately wants his revenge on Kara, so he pursues him restlessly, and
when they travel on Nile river, Abu Seif's men finally catch up with him,
wreck his ship and leaving Kara and Halef no way out but the desert. After
a few days in the desert, Kara and Halef are on the verge of drowining
because Abu Seif has found a new hobby: To blow up all the local
fountains. Ultimately though, they are saved by the woman they once saved,
Senitza, who takes them to her tribe.
Senitza's tribe is in trouble,
because it's lacking water from the Holy City, and Abu Seif, who has taken
control of the city, has forbidden all tribe members to enter - and the
only person of Senitza's tribe he doesn't know is Hanneh (Gretl Wawra),
her sister - but as a woman she cannot enter the Holy City alone but only
with her husband, so she is hastily married off to Halef, who has fallen
in love with her at first sight anyways. And off Halef and Hanneh are on
their mission, which actually works out fine and without a glitch.
However, out of curiosity, Kara has sneaked into the Holy City, which is
forbidden to infidels, as well, but is discovered by Abu Seif, who
immediately wants him arrested. Kara manages to escape the city though,
and when Abu Seif follows in hot pursuit, it is instead him who is
captured by Sheik Malek's tribe. When the tribe wants to hold judgement
over Abu Seif though, his men attack. They are defeated, but Abu Seif gets
away, and now it's Kara who's in hot pursuit.
The whole thing ends in
the swamp Abu Seif left Kara to die in, but this time it's Abu Seif who
falls right into it and drowns ...
Judging from the looks
alone, this film is quite spectacular: It was partly filmed in Egypt,
which provides for quite some impressive scenery, and director J.A.
Hübler Kahla certainly knew how to make the most of the locations at
hand. However, on a plotlevel, the film is terribly uneven, mainly due to
its episodic nature (something also inherent in the film's source
material), its rather naive, simplistic approach to its narrative, and its
rather bumpy pacing. That all the beduines and such are played by
exclusively German actors doesn't help much either, but this at least has
a naive charm of its own.
The film is still well worth a look if you're
into vintage adventure yarns or Karl May - just don't expect a