Pete Johnson and Harvey D. Garvey, two inept magicians on tour in the Middle Eastern kingdom of Barabeeha, help disenfranchised young Prince Ramo regain his throne from his devious Uncle Nimativ, who uses two magical hypnotic rings and ruthless methods to maintain his power. By posing as Hollywood talent scouts the boys break out of a dank dungeon with a deranged derelict, evade palace guards, elude the palace executioner, and avoid detection in the forbidden royal harem.
Bud Abbott ... Peter Johnson
Lou Costello ... Harvey Garvey
Marilyn Maxwell ... Hazel Moon
John Conte ... Prince Ramo
Douglass Dumbrille ... Nimativ
Lottie Harrison ... Teema
Lock Martin ... Bobo (as J. Lockard Martin)
Murray Leonard ... The Derelict
Adia Kuznetzoff ... Chief Ghamu
Milton Parsons ... Crystal Gazer
Ralph Sanford ... Mr. Ormulu
Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra ... Themselves
Director: Charles Reisner
Codecs: XVid / MP3
John Conte is the renegade Prince in hiding with his desert tribesmen, with both a yen for Marilyn Maxwell and an interest in getting back the throne that his Uncle, Douglass Dumbrille, has stolen from him. The first I can understand, but who does he get to aid him in his second objective. Marilyn, stranded showgirl in the desert, and her sidekicks Abbott and Costello. If you're willing to suspend reality and believe' that anyone looking to pull off a coup d'etat is looking for help from Abbott and Costello, well then sit back and enjoy the fun.
I have to say that the boys are up to their usual monkeyshines and Marilyn Maxwell is inclined to make any self-respecting prince drool, but the real treat is Douglass Dumbrille. Dumbrille was a fine character actor who usually played smooth villains. He's probably best remembered for being the lawyer trying to cheat Gary Cooper out of his inheritance in Mister Deeds Goes To Town. However there are moments went Dumbrille shows a nice sense of comic timing and plays a very good straight man for Costello. Hypnosis is one of the tricks in Dumbrille's bag and he hypnotizes the boys, Marilyn Maxwell, and even the whole Jimmy Dorsey band. I guess they like swing music on the desert.
Dumbrille played a similar function in The Big Store with the Marx Brothers. He gets right into the clowning with them also.
There's a woman who plays one of Dumbrille's hare girls who looks a lot like Rosie O'Donnell. Naturally at one point the plot calls for Costello to get into drag and disguise himself as her to fool Dumbrille.
Good, funny, Abbott and Costello nonsense. Easily the best of the films they did on that MGM loan out from Universal.
One of the slick films Abbott and Costello made when they were loaned out to MGM in between work at their main studio, Universal. It's pretty good, if not among their best work. Here they play two lame comics traveling in a show with a beautiful blonde singer (Marilyn Maxwell), who get stranded in a weird city in the East. All three then join forces in helping a young sheik overthrow his uncle, who is a wicked sultan. A few good routines are included (the classic "Slowly I Turned" for one), but this adventure is also a little too bulky at nearly 90 minutes length, with a few typical musical routines sprinkled throughout. Also features an out of place performance by Jimmy Dorsey (who wears a fez!) and his orchestra.
Lost In A Harem is one of the best Abbott & Costello films for 3 reasons: One, unlike most of their films in the 1940s which were produced at Universal Studios (and available on DVD in a Universal set), this one was done at MGM with that studios usual higher production standards, including a few spectacular musical numbers. Two, it is one of only about a dozen filmed appearances of big band great Jimmmy Dorsey, who performs, with his band, a number called John Silver ("15 men on a dead man's chest") which I haven't found elsewhere, and a few other songs. Three, the "Pokomoko" routine ("Slowwwwly I turned, step by step I crept upon him . . .") is done to perfection by A&C with Murray Leonard as the Derelict, which I've always remembered as one of my favorite A&C routines since I was ten years old. Furthermore, there's a real live giant (Lock Martin), full costumes and exotic sets as you would expect from MGM, a magic skit by A&C, hypnotism, a fine performance from Douglas Dumbrille as the bad guy, and more good music. I would rate it below Abott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, In The Navy, In Society, The Naughty Nineties, and perhaps 3 or 4 others, but definitely in their top ten or twelve.
* The lavish sets utilized were left over from MGM's 1944 version of "Kismet" starring Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, and Edward Arnold.
* Overseas program #820 for U.S. troops during the war.
* Douglas Dumbrille and Bud Abbott recreate the Marx Brothers' famous mirror scene from "Duck Soup."
* Costello refers to Paterson, New Jersey, which is his home town.
* Universal loaned MGM John Grant, the comedy team's personal gag writer, to script some of their patented pun routines.