The Youssef Chahine Podcast: No. 21 – Devil of the Sahara/ The Desert’s Devil/ Devil of the Desert

A discussion of the Youssef Chahine’s Devil of the Sahara aka The Desert’s Devil aka Devil of the Desert, 1954. We discuss the influence of Zorro and Robin Hood on the film, how Sharif is deployed as a combination of Errol Flynn AND Tyrone Power. We praise the film’s production values; how it’s a piece of entertainment filmed with a verve and flair that comes across even in the very bad copy we had access to. The film has exciting action sequences that make one re-think action in his later films and very successful large-scale musical numbers — the influence of Minnelli is evident throughout — that likewise raises questions about the deliberateness of later choices. A glossy piece of entertainment we both loved even though we saw it in the worst circumstances possible.

The podcast can be listened to below:

The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here:

and on itunes here:


Richard mentions an excellent print was screened at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival last year. This is the festival’s entry below:


The version we saw was an atrocious copy from facebook that we are nonetheless thankful for and which can be accessed here:


If you want to follow up on the discussion of Sharif’s international career here is the trailer for Oh, Heavenly Dog:

…and here is the one for Monsieur Ibrahim:

Many thanks to Martin Stollery for bringing to our attention this superb video essay on Chahine, very illuminating on framings and compositions.

José Arroyo

3 thoughts on “The Youssef Chahine Podcast: No. 21 – Devil of the Sahara/ The Desert’s Devil/ Devil of the Desert

  1. I enjoyed listening to this again after watching the film on the big screen. Just a few things to add – Sharif wasn’t entirely lost to Egyptian cinema, because he appeared in a number of Egyptian films later in his career, from the 1980s onwards, including a hit comedy, Hassan and Marcus (2008). And ‘Devil of the Desert’ features lots of the type of frame compositions discussed here:, as well as taking any excuse to plunge the characters into water, which is a recurring motif across Chahine’s films.

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