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The Veils of Bagdad

The Veils of Bagdad(1953)

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In 1560, Bagdad vizier Kasseim and his wife Rosanna lead a caravan transporting gold and jewels into Bagdad. When they are attacked by a band of thieves, a wanderer named Antar suddenly appears and quickly battles the thieves into submission, winning the admiration of Rosanna and an invitation from Kasseim to join him at the palace. Hours later, however, Antar joins the "thieves" in a forest glen, where they exult over the success of their plan to infiltrate the palace in Bagdad. In reality, they are spies sent by virtuous ruler Suleiman the Magnificent to discover why the pasha of Bagdad, Hammam, has killed the leader of the mountain tribes, Abu Karoum, and begun hoarding gold. Antar travels on to the palace, where Kasseim introduces him to Hammam as his new guard. Hammam accepts Antar, but later warns Kasseim to kill him as soon as his work is done. The two leaders then scheme to entice the new tribal leader, Mustapha, to join them in a plot against Suleiman. Hammam knows that when their ranks grow strong enough, Venice, and then the rest of Europe, will back them in toppling Suleiman. Soon after, Rosanna visits Antar and promises to reveal the whereabouts of the gold if he will spirit her away from Kasseim. Later, in the town marketplace, Antar witnesses Hamman and Kasseim's cruelty when he sees a man being publicly whipped for failing to pay the exorbitant taxes. There, Antar also spots beautiful dancing girl Selima and notices that her dancing style is that of Abu Karoum's tribe. Convinced that she is the slain leader's missing daughter, Antar visits her backstage, where she refuses to reveal her heritage but asks him to bring Kasseim to her. Outside, Antar's band arrives, disguised as a troupe of wrestlers, and perform while he exchanges messages with the wise man who leads them, Kaffar. The next day, Kasseim orders Antar to protect the next caravan, and Antar's success endears him further to the vizier, who agrees to accompany him to see Selima. There, she seduces Kasseim and gains valuable information about her father's death, which she plans to avenge. Meanwhile, Antar, armed with knowledge fed to him from Rosanna, notifies Kaffar that Hammam has bribed Mustapha, and Kaffar offers the tribesman more money. Hammam learns that Mustapha is hesitant and offers him even more. The wise man is caught spying on Hammam as he secures Mustapha's backing, and when Kaffar is discovered, Hammam deduces that he is Suleiman's agent. Hammam tortures Kaffar mercilessly, but the older man refuses to betray Antar. Upon learning from Rosanna that an important prisoner is being held, Antar sneaks into the dungeon and frees Kaffar. He brings him to Selima's, where she and her bodyguard, Karsh, hide him. Knowing that Mustapha will change allegiance for the right amount of money, Antar plans to steal Hammam's gold. That night, he, Kaffar and their men sneak into the palace grounds, not knowing that Selima and Karsh have followed them for their own purposes of revenge. Antar's men easily secure the gold, ensuring that Hammam will lose the support of the Venetians, but as they are about to leave the grounds, Karsh is spotted by the palace guards. Antar orders his band to help, and in the melee, Selima slips into the mansion. The fight progresses to the throne room, where Antar duels with Kasseim, eventually killing him. With Selima's help, Antar roots Hammam out of his hiding place and forces him to abdicate his throne. Antar is named his successor, and both Rosanna and Selima rush to embrace him. Antar soothes Rosanna with a promise of gold and security, and although Selima is at first jealous that he seduced them both, she soon accepts his marriage proposal, to the cheering approval of the palace crowd.