TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS
(director: Lewis Milestone; screenwriters: Wallace Smiyh/James T. O’Donohoe/George Marion, Jr. (titles)/from story by Donald McGibney; cinematographer: Antonio Gaudio; editors: Douglas Biggs; music: Robert Israel; cast: William Boyd (Private Phelp), Louis Wolheim (Sergeant McGaffney), Boris Karloff (Purser), Ian Keith (Shevket), Mary Astor (Anis bin Adham/Mirza), Michael Vavitch (Emir of Jaffa; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Howard Hughes/John W. Considine, Jr.; TCM/Caddo/UA; 1927-silent)
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This silent has never been released on DVD. Russian-American director Lewis Milestone (“Halls of Montezuma”) adapts a story by Donald McGibney and shows an ability to draw laughs from the slapdash comedy. Writers Wallace Smiyh and James T. O’Donohoe worked on the script.
Private Phelps (William Boyd (known later for playing Hopalong Cassidy) and Sergeant McGaffney (Louis Wolheim) are bickering American soldiers who are captured by the Germans while fighting each other in a foxhole during World War I and sent to a snowy German POW camp. Disguised as Arabs, the prisoners make-up to escape together but are recaptured and about to be taken to Turkey with Arab POWs. Instead the boys become stowaways on a steamer bound for Arabia. When an Arab vessel carrying a veiled princess, Mirza (Mary Astor), is shipwrecked on Arabia waters, the soldiers jump in the cold water to come to the rescue. At an Arab palace they observe that Mirza must go through with an arranged marriage to an evil bey (Ian Keith) and rescue her. They flee with Mirza and the private vows to marry her.
The dated comedy might not work today, but during its day it received much praise.
REVIEWED ON 3/5/2017 GRADE: B-