Yankee Pasha (1954) Poster


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From Salem to Morocco, he searched for the woman he loved.
tmwest8 March 2005
Just picture yourself as a teenager in 1954 and this film comes out. It starts as a western, it has a bit of a pirate movie, and then it switches to one of those "Ali Baba" type of films that people used to enjoy so much. Enough? No, there is more, there is the beautiful Rhonda Fleming, Mamie Van Doren and a whole bunch of contestants for the Miss Universe title. Lucky the ones who had the chance of seeing it at that time. I didn't, so I saw it recently and I tried to see it as if I would be in the past. I enjoyed it. Jeff Chandler is Starbuck, a fur trapper who falls for Rhonda Fleming when he comes to Salem. She breaks up her engagement because she also falls for him, but she cannot find him, so she leaves him a letter and sails with her father to Marseilles. They are attacked by Moroccan pirates and she is sold as a slave for a harem. Of course Starbuck goes after her. It is hard for somebody nowadays to accept this movie, the times have changed, but for those teenagers who are now in their sixties it will always be meaningful.
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Rhonda and Mamie in harem outfits!
hondo5512 October 2005
Watching so many of these 50s adventure movies, be they vehicles for cowboys or detectives, soldiers or swashbucklers, aliens or monsters, were like reading so much of the pulp fiction of the day. Rather than spending days reading a book, you could spend a couple of hours whisked away to a fantasy land with some harmless adventure and thrills if not a lot of thought provoking ideas. Forty some years later after growing older and wiser, there are still those times when I wonder where Hollywood's current head is, and head back to comfortable familiar territory. I started watching these kind of movies about the time I reached puberty and needless to say, watching this movie with raging hormones was a thrilling experience back then. Rhonda Fleming is still my favorite actress all these years later, and Mamie Van Doren was one of my favorite 50s blond bombshells, so how can I say anything bad about a Technicolor movie that puts both of these women in harem outfits? Yeow! I always thought Rhonda was at her peak in The Gunfight at the OK Corral, but to this day one of my treasured possessions is an autographed publicity still of her in her harem outfit. Move over Jeannie, you've got company! Forget the hokum plot and go for the ride and check out two of the greatest harem beauties ever.
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YANKEE PASHA (Joseph Pevney, 1954) **1/2
Bunuel197616 January 2011
To begin with, I interrupted my ongoing parallel Luis Bunuel (Part 2) and "Euro-Cult" marathons to indulge in an old-fashioned Hollywood oater on the big screen. This was due to an unscheduled, but most welcome, invite by a couple of movie-buff friends of mine (who are actually my Dad's peers). Since we settled on which film we would be watching at the very last minute, I went into this knowing only the odd title (which I was familiar with alright, but it had somehow never cropped up for viewing until now) and the male lead involved (Jeff Chandler)…and, yet, I had to smile when, upon wondering if this was helmed by Joseph Pevney, his name actually turned up in the opening credits!

Being a Universal production, one has to remember that this sort of mindless crowd-pleasing fare used to be churned out virtually on an assembly-line during this era – with the slightest of trimmings to accommodate the studio's current top box-office draw (be it Chandler, Tony Curtis or Rock Hudson)! Similarly, several journeymen directors flourished there at the time, proving adept at practically every setting and storyline the executives could throw at them! Now, to get back to the single biggest coup of the film under review, it is the effortless blending of sure-fire formulas which rendered the whole most enjoyable: in fact, proceedings start off in a Western milieu, then the scene shifts to the high seas and a brief interlude of pirate action, before eventually settling into an Arabian Nights adventure! Without wishing to attribute undue subtext to an inherently modest product, I am sure it would have greatly pleased the Surrealists to witness its depiction of amour fou literally transcending genre conventions!

Anyway, here we find trapper Chandler and redhead Rhonda Fleming falling for each other virtually at first sight (though, typically, she is intended for another who unsurprisingly proves to be an arrogant bully). Soon enough, the two men engage in a horse race, which Chandler wins thanks to an Indian yelp (like the one Richard Dix gave in CIMARRON [1931]) which frightens his rival's steed! Sailing to Marseille with her father, she is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery to a Moroccan potentate (or, rather, an aspiring usurper) played by Rex Reason – here billed as Bart Roberts and later promoted to lead status for the sci-fi classic THIS ISLAND EARTH (1955)! The real ruler (an ill-at-ease Lee J. Cobb) fears his own army would not withstand a full-scale attack by Reason's forces. He is saved by the arrival of Chandler upon the scene, who offers to school his soldiers in quick-shooting tactics in exchange for a place at court in an effort to get wind of Fleming's whereabouts. For his services, Chandler is not only garbed in the latest Oriental fashion but gets acquainted with their customs (including owning a personal slave-girl in the shapely form of delightfully "cackling" yet jealously conniving Mamie Van Doren, also thankfully the closest thing here approximating comic relief) – prompting him to exclaim at one point, "I can Salaam with the best of them!"

As is to be expected, Chandler eventually regains Fleming and loses her once more to Reason, before himself falling into his clutches. Their obligatory showdown (by the way, there is also a cat-fight between the two girls over their supremacy in Chandler's harem!) takes place on the prison turret, with the villain predictably getting his just desserts by being impaled on a set of horns which protrude from the walls to prevent convicts from escaping! One thing which I noticed but forgot to tell my host (who is a Victor Mature fanatic) is that Reason's castle was, in all probability, the very same one to be featured (complete with a strategically-placed palm-tree) in Mature's own Universal-produced Arabian Nights epic THE VEILS OF BAGDAD (1953), and which had actually been one of the first titles we caught at his private cinema!

In fact, watching YANKEE PASHA – via a surprisingly well-preserved 16mm copy, despite the occasional image blurring and emulsion problems – in an ambiance which attempted to recreate the full theatrical Saturday matinée' experience (complete with walls adorned by vintage movie posters and musical accompaniment before the performance and during the reel-changing break) heightened the steady dose of unassuming colorful entertainment provided by the main feature. In conclusion, the career of silver-haired Jeff Chandler may have been short-lived but it proved incredibly prolific nevertheless: having checked just now, I have some 23 of his films lying unwatched in my collection – as opposed to the mere 7 which I have gotten under my belt so far! Given that this year marks the 50th anniversary of his tragic passing, I might make room for a well-deserved retrospective throughout my proposed generic viewings in 2011…
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His lady love
bkoganbing18 May 2015
I once read somewhere that when Jeff Chandler completed Yankee Buccaneer in 1952 there were a lot of action sequences left over. Like any other studio Universal never let anything go to waste so two years later Chandler wound up filming Yankee Pasha.

Fans of the stars should like Yankee Pasha. It's a romance novel about a frontiersman who follows his lady love across the Atlantic Ocean after a misunderstanding about the lady's true intentions. Rhonda Fleming is captured by Barbary Pirates and as redheads are a premium she catches the eye of Rex Reason the head of the Ottoman Sultan's local Jannisary forces in Morocco. His troops even have the Sultan of Morocco somewhat intimidated, the Moroccan Sultan being Lee J. Cobb.

Jeff Chandler is not going to let an ocean or Moslem custom about women Christian captives interfere with his pursuit of his lady love. Not even the Sultan's present of Mamie Van Doren to Chandler deters him one wit from his mission.

Van Doren is as annoying to the audience as she was to Chandler with her constant cackling. She was a beauty no doubt, but her acting talent left a lot to be desired. But this film isn't any great work of art. Blonds and redheads certainly add some spice to any harem.

If you like romance novels and are fans of the stars Yankee Pasha should work for you.
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The power of love
MegaSuperstar24 May 2018
I am not going to write the plot since most reviewers have already done it. Instead, I will try to provide other interesting data about this film that has not been mentioned by any of the other reviews. First of all let me to stick up for this entertaining movie that has everything you would ask to an adventure movie: action, romance, horse races, pirate attacks, scimitar duels, fights and humor. Based on Edison Marshall's much longer and blooded best seller, Yankee Pasha casts Jeff Chandler as frontierman John Starbuck and Rhonda Fleming as her beautiful love interest. Among other curiosities, Jeff Chandler, who had a really nice crooner voice, recorded the song I Should Care on Brunswick Records from the film. Mamie Van Doren plays Starbuck's slave in one of her first important roles. Although miles away from Marilyn, whom the studio planned to re-create, she plays her role nice enough to get her performance remembered. Rhonda Fleming looks superb in oriental outfits - the brief white bikini one so revealing that I am surprised censorships did aprove it. Another curiosity, several miss universe contestants were cast as the harem girls that are shown to Starbuck when he is looking for her love. Edison Marshall wrote lots of popular historical novels with lots of blood, sex, swashbucling and adventures in faraway places such as Caravan to Xanadu (about Marco Polo travels), the Viking, Pagan king (about king Arthur), Earth giant (about Hercules), the Great Smith about John Smith, Gipsy sixpence (Richard Burton), Infinite Woman (about Lola Montes), Benjamin Blake (turned into a movie, Son of fury, starring Tyrone Power). The fact that Yankee pasha action includes North America, Morocco and the Barbary coast (where berber pirates attacked United States ships as is also shown in 1950 movie Tripoli) is a fine example of Marshall around-the-world adventure stories. Although some things could have been improved such as the Sultan's army training process and how do they get so many rifles considering Starbuck only has one - Starbuck could have time to search for her fiancee while waiting to obtain more rifles i.e.- it is a good entertaining movie with nice performances and well worth a view.
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An Okay Adventure Film
Uriah4318 November 2017
This movie begins in 1800 with a trapper named "Jason Starbuck" (Jeff Chandler) riding into the town of Salem, Massachusetts in order to sell his beaver pelts. While in town he meets and falls in love with a young woman named "Roxana Reil" (Rhonda Fleming) who is engaged to a man she doesn't love. So when the engagement is moved up by her fiancé Jason decides to leave town and go back to being a trapper. What he doesn't know is that Roxanna has decided to break off her engagement and to do that she convinces her father to take her overseas to Marseilles instead. On the way there, however, they are attacked by some Barbary pirates who subsequently sell her as a slave to a man named "Omar Id Din" (Bart Roberts) who puts her into his harem. However, upon hearing the news that Roxana has called off her engagement and then that her ship was taken by pirates, Jason immediately sets to find Roxana and rescue her from the Moors personally. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an entertaining movie which would serve well as a Saturday matinée in the old days or as a late night movie on television today. But it clearly isn't a classic by any means due to the predictable plot or some of the rather unrealistic scenarios. That said, I have rated this movie accordingly. Average.
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And A Salaam To You Too.
rmax30482317 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
On a proud pinto pony, deeply tanned Jeff Chandler rides into the frontier town of Salem, Massachusetts, wearing a carefully tailored buckskin-fringed outfit topped off by a Davy Crockett raccoon cap with its tail hanging down behind. He's smiling but he carries a fully loaded musket and, when prodded by some kids, he whirls around in the saddle and shoots a weather vane half a block away. He doesn't even take much time to aim. His name is Jason Starbuck. Now is this a hero or what?

Rhonda Fleming and he fall in love at first glance and she helps him win a horse race against her dapper Wuss of a fiancé, all gussied up in a natty cloth suit and jockey cap. He cheats too, but with the help of Fleming, Chandler wins the race and, with it, a passage to the Middle East. He postpones his departure because, after all, there is Rhonda Fleming to be considered. She's obliged to marry because her fiancé is wealthy and her father needs the money. This is what they call a marriage of convenience. But she's reluctant. "Oh, Jason, if only we'd met before I was engaged!" They kiss heatedly. He's a woodsman, with a woodsman's natural impulses, and he don't hold with this fancy money stuff. It's nature versus culture. That distant sound you hear is Levi-Strauss trying to deconstruct the situation.

Fleming breaks off the engagement and takes a ship to Marseillies but the ship is captured and boarded by Barbary pirates. They're real slobs. They sling the fainting Fleming over their shoulders and cart her off, after tearing the top of her dress in a scene known as "the ripping of the bodice." She winds up in Morocco being given as a present to the Aga, who apprises her appreciatively in her raggedy garments and remarks, "Such a tasty dish should be well served." When she bites the hand of a servant who is trying to open her mouth and display her teeth, the Aga chuckles and says, "Such spirit will add a touch of spice to my harem." No kidding. All the dialog sounds like this.

Chandler tracks her down in Morroco but she's now part of the Aga's harem. While he's trying to devise a rescue plan, Chandler demonstrates the art of American frontier shooting (you don't bother to aim) and is hired by the Sultan to train the infantry. He adopts the language and manner of his hosts and dresses in robes and a turban. He manages to arrange a duel with the Aga -- American-style shooting -- and he wins not just his honor but the Aga's favorite harem girl. Yes -- Rhonda Fleming! More tribulations before they live happily ever after.

I found the movie a little deadly. It reeks of 1950s Hollywood. Chandler isn't a bad actor in the right role but a dashing adventurer he's not. And Rhonda Fleming seems unable to utter a credible line. She's very pretty but her beauty is generic, like that of a mannequin in a store window. However I can understand how it might appeal to some of us. It's not demanding, it's diverting, the characters are divided into Good and Evil, and it ends with the loving pair in each other's arms, sailing off into the western sunset, where they are viciously attacked by a great while whale who has been nudged just a little too far and the ship sinks and all hands are lost.
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Chandler wins luscious Mamie Van Doren and Rhonda Fleming as slaves!
weezeralfalfa10 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A classic tale of adventure and romance, filmed in Technicolor(although rather washed out), and released by Universal. Presently available at YouTube. Two years earlier, Chandler had played the "Yankee Buccaneer": a rather similar type of romantic adventurer..... Loner trapper Starbucks(Jeff Chandler)wanders into 1800 Salem, Mass. to sell his pelts, gleaned from the Adirondacks. Tall, dressed in clean buckskins, with a coonskin cap, he immediately attracts the attention of unmarried gorgeous urbane Roxana Riel(Rhonda Fleming), who is riding in her 'surrey with a fringe on top'. Would seem an unlikely association, as Roxana is engaged to her long time acquaintance, jockey Dick Baily: son of a wealthy member of the community, and her father's choice. However, upon talking to Starbucks, we learn that Baily isn't really her choice, as she doesn't like his personality. She's doing it to satisfy her father. Although she's clearly attracted to Starbucks, and they engage in a passionate kiss, she discourages him from hoping to marry her. Thus, he heads out for the woods. She leaves a letter for him and , with her father, leaves on a ship for Marseilles(Why, I'm not sure), having cancelled her engagement to Baily. A messenger finds Starbuck and gives him the good news about the engagement. Starbuck returns to Salem, but learns of her ocean voyage. He hops on the next ship going to Marseilles, still in his buckskin outfit. In Marseilles, he learns that the ship Roxana was on was attacked by Barbary pirates, and she was probably captured, and taken to a slave market in Morocco. Thus, he dons a Moorish outfit and sails for Morocco, where he impresses the Sultan with his sharpshooting, using his 'Kentucky' rifle(probably made in Pennsylvania). The sultan appoints him shooting instructor for his soldiers, and gives him the gorgeous blond slave girl Lilith( Mamie Van Doren), who is equally satisfied with him as her master. I wonder how he's going to instruct shooting with presumed muskets rather than his Kentucky rifle? Rifles have the advantage of shooting straighter at targets than smooth bore muskets, which will make his task more difficult. Later, Starbuck wins a shooting match with pasha Omar Id-Din, who agrees to give him his slave girl Roxana. But, their troubles aren't over yet! As you would expect, Roxana and Lilith are soon at each other's throats. They have quite a cat fight, rolling all over the floor, until stopped by a man. This was the dramatic highlight for me!, although I suppose the intended climax is the attempted escape of Starbuck and the other prisoners on Omar's death row. Of course, there is the obligatory duel to the death between Starbuck and Omar.....One minor gripe: the coonskin cap was virtually a giveaway that a person was a backwoodsman. However, they didn't normally wear them in summer, as usually portrayed in Hollywood films. They made one's head too hot!......Familiar-looking Tudor Owen played the Salem merchant who bought Starbuck's furs and gave him advice. Rex Reason played the evil Omar Id-Din, while Lee Cobb played the Sultan. Harry Lauter played Roxana's early fiancé, while Arthur Space played the U.S. Consul in Morocco, who introduced Starbuck to the Sultan. Hal March played Omar's guard who helped in the prison escape. See it at YouTube
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