Two Arabian Knights (1927)
1st Academy Awards 1929
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Directing-Comedy Picture (Lewis Milestone).
Not yet released.
As far as I could find concerning Two Arabian Knights, it has not yet been released on DVD. If you know any different or are aware of where I could find the film except for in the possession of Turner Classic Movies, I would greatly appreciate the information. Apparently the film was assumed lost until the death of Howard Hughes in 2004 when a print was restored at the University of Nevada. Here is an original review from when the film was released in 1927 by Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times:
“Two Arabian Knights,” the current picture at the Paramount Theatre, is a genuinely clever comedy in which the principals scorn the usual fractious tactics and rely on intelligent acting. The two actors who supply the fun in this bright piece of work are William Boyd, the hero of DeMille’s “Volga Boatman,” and Louis Wolheim, a stage and screen nortrayer of choice villainy who figured as Captain Flagg in the play, “What Price Glory.”
This production has been expertly handled by Lewis Milestone, who has performed his task with a degree of sanity that is most welcome. Who knows but what this photoplay may serve to discourage silly and boisterous efforts and encourage this same restrained type of comedy? This film is filled with splendid photographic effects that have evidently been made at no small cost. Where a number of men are needed to add to the impression of a sequence, Mr. Milestone has not stinted himself, for he shows an imposing array of “extras,” all suitably costumed.
It is only toward the end of this subject that the adventures assume a fantastic aspect. There are then scenes wherein the two heroes scale walls and invade a Bey’s palace somewhere in Turkey. In view of what has preceded this, one is, however, willing to pardon such actions, for they are not without true humor and moreover none of the incidents are dependent upon the subtitles for the fun they create.
“Two Arabian Knights” succeeds where “Tin Hats” failed. It is a yarn dealing with two American soldiers who are taken prisoner. Mr. Milestone starts his ball of fun rolling in an initial scene where Private W. Daingerfield Phelps (Mr. Boyd) and Sergeant Peter McGaffney are discovered in the slough of a shell hole. When Phelps observes that his companion is his hated top sergeant he wants to have it out with McGaffney before a shell comes along and cuts off their existence. Eventually the deep hole in the muddy earth is surrounded by Germans, and Phelps and McGaffney are captured.
There are some realistic scenes of the German prison camp in snow-covered Northern Germany, and others that are concerned with the escape of the two men, who, while they still have no particular liking for each other, don’t want to be alone. It is set forth, that their Khaki uniforms in the snow stick out like a sore thumb, and finally, after an encounter between two Turks, the Americans help themselves to the white cloaks of their victims. Subsequently the two adventurers find themselves on a train bound for Constaninople, and after reaching that city they are sent aboard a ship, on which they meet the heroine, Mirza.
A little thing like having no ready cash is settled by Phelps’s diving into the purser’s cabin and binding and gagging that officer. There is dismay on McGaffney’s countenance when Phelps reappears with a fistfull of paper money.
Through purely natural expressions on the faces of the sturdy pair the Paramount audience yesterday afternoon was thrown into a high state of glee. And by the skillful and gradual way in which Mr. Milestone unfurls his episodes, there is a distinct element of suspense.
Mr. Wolheim is capital in his portrayal of alarm, annoyance, anger, satisfaction and relief. Mr. Boyd also contributes in no small way to the gaiety of this piece. In fact although it is a comedy Mr. Boyd’s acting in this screen effort is even better than his serious work in other productions. Mary Astor is seen as Mirza and she, too, is deserving of her share of credit, and so is Ian Keith, who figures as a Turkish officer with a sly sense of humor.
TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS, with Louis Wolheim, William Boyd, Mary Astor, Michael Vavitch, Ian Keith, DeWitt Jannings, Michael Visaroff and Boris Karloff, written by Donald McGibney, directed by Lewis Milestone; “The Barber of Seville,” with stage effects by Paul Oscard; “Moonlight,” a Bruce sconic; “Florida,” staged by Jack Partington. At the Paramount Theatre.
Sources: NY Times, ultishare