Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Tits & Sand: The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954)

It’s been a while since I last reviewed a Tits & Sand movie – to use the label coined by Maureen O’Hara. These 1001 Nights-style movies were a staple of my childhood, and I thought I had seen them all, repeatedly. And yet, I’ve just found a movie I had missed – which is quite strange.

The film is called The Adventures of Hajji Baba, and it was directed in 1954 by Don Weiss, a director with a long TV experience, whose best known films are probably The Affairs of Dobie Gills and the beach party classic The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, with Boris Karlof.
The Adventures of Hajji Baba features John Derek, an actor I always found insufferable, and this might explain why I never watched this specific film. Opposite Derek – who portrays the titular Persian barber – is Elaine Stewart, in the role of bratty, spoiled princess Fawzia of Ispharan.

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Asteria and the spirit of peplum

asteria khan engAnd so…
The first story of Asteria was a straightforward peplum, but with a strong influence from Go Nagai and Mazinger Z in particular.
The second Asteria adventure was a Harold Lambesque story of Mongol warriors, with a supernatural horror twist.
The third Asteria novelette, that’s coming out in the weekend, is a lace & steel sort of swashbuckler, with a side of clockpunk shenanigans.
It is fitting, I think, that the fourth story, that I started writing yesterday, will be a tits & sand adventure with Arabian Nights and Marco Polo references. Continue reading


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Tits & Sand: Arabian Nights, 1942

Arabiannights1Shot well before the tits & sand label was coined, Arabian Nights, directed by John Rawlins has all it needs to be listed in the genre.
Yes, there’s lots of sand, and star Maria Montez does show her graces in a number of lavish costumes.

A pity the story is so flimsy.
But we’ll get there.

Arabian Nights is one of the exotic movies featuring John Hall and Maria Montez poroduced in the ’40s by Universal pictures.
The first Technicolor feature produced by Universal in over a decade, the movie was designed to cash-in on the success of The Thief of Bagdad in 1940.
Both movies feature Sabu in a key role as the sidekick of the male lead. Continue reading


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Tits & Sand: Maria Montez

Maria-montezIf we talk about Technicolor epics in exotic, Arabian-Nights-style eastern locations – the stuff of Tits & Sand, if you will – we can’t ignore the beautiful Maria Montez.

Born María África Antonia García Vidal de Santo Silas in 19121 , daughter of the Spanish Consul in the Dominican Republic, Montez struck gold in Hollywood with a series of movies shot between 1942 and 1945, in which she was partnered with actor Jon Hall.

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Tits & Sand Movies: Bagdad (1949)

bagdadpstrAnd so I went and watched again Bagdad, the 1949 Maureen O’Hara movie that was at the origin of the Tits & Sand movie genre1, at least according to the fiery-headed star.

But despite the risque definition, this is a romantic adventure, featuring exotic locales, a meringue-light plot and the required amount of chases, swordplay and Arabian Nights clichés – despite pretending (without any conviction) to be a historical film.

Anyway – reader, I watched it.
Was it any good?

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Bagdad (1949)

Today, in loving memory of Maureen O’Hara, the trailer of a movie of hers she was not particularly fond of – the highly pulpy 1949 adventure Bagdad: a Bedouin princess returns home after being schooled in Britain, and has to unravel the intrigues surrounding the death of her father.
Nice and smooth.

bagdad_1949

The movie features a wonderful bad guy played with gusto by Vincent Price, as a bonus.

Talking about this feature, O’Hara coined the category of Tits & Sand movies – and I find it just wonderful.
We’ll have to talk about them, and maybe do a series of posts reviewing a few of these… ehm, lost classics.