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The favorite slave girl of a tyrannical sheik falls in love with a cloth merchant, which puts her life in terrible danger. Luckily, she is beloved of the rest of the harem, which conspires to bring the true lovers together, while distracting the prying eyes of the eunuchs who serve as palace guards. Meanwhile, a traveling dancer is eager to become part of the harem, much to the despair of the hunchback clown who is in love with her. Written by
"Sumurun" is characteristic of the type of films Ernst Lubitsch made in Germany after he stopped making exuberant, although (from what I've seen) hit or miss, comedies and started making vehicles for Pola Negri. There's sexual intrigue set in a fictional past with decent production values in the surroundings. The multiple story lines in this one coalesce rather well, especially Negri replacing Jenny Hasselqvist as the sexual possession of a sheik played by Paul Wegener (who, in addition to working for Lubitsch, took part in two important early German films: "The Student of Prague" (1913) and "The Golem" (1920)). And, the light, sometimes sarcastic, treatment is appreciated. But, the film is forgettable and mostly just fluffy. Some of the staging is awkward, as well, perhaps due to the source and director's theatrical traditions. Lubitsch was very successful with these types of pictures, though--paving the way for the exportation of German cinema and the emigration of himself to Hollywood.
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