Saadia

Film

Action and adventure

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Time Out says

Lewin's weakest film, which he adapted from a French novel (Echec au destin by Francis D'Autheville), is set in Morocco and deals with the efforts of a Parisian doctor (Ferrer), abetted by the progressive, French-educated Caid (Wilde), to stamp out witch-doctoring in the villages. He begins with a successful field operation on lovely young Saadia (Gam), popularly believed to be possessed by devils, for acute appendicitis; whereupon the evil Fatima (Rotha) sharpens up her spells to conjure vengeful demons. You can see why Lewin wanted to make it, since the doctor's sceptical stance allows Lewin to pursue his own scholarly preoccupation with the rational foundations of myth and superstition. But the plot is a fine old farrago, choppily strung and drained of all credibility by the pot-pourri cast: Michel Simon as a bandit chief, Cusack as a wise old mullah, Wilde and Gam as Hollywood hero and heroine, Ferrer about as expressive as a block of wood. Some fascinating details, and good camerawork (Christopher Challis) where crude colour processing permits.
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Release details

UK release:

1953

Duration:

82 mins

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