Little Egypt (film)

Little Egypt is a 1951 American Technicolor comedy drama film directed by Frederick de Cordova starring Mark Stevens and Rhonda Fleming. It is a highly fictionalised biography of the dancer Little Egypt in the 1890s.[2]

Little Egypt
Directed byFrederick de Cordova
Produced byJack J. Gross
Screenplay byOscar Brodney
Doris Gilbert
Story byOscar Brodney
StarringMark Stevens
Rhonda Fleming
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byEdward Curtiss
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • August 3, 1951 (1951-08-03) (Chicago, Illinois)
  • August 29, 1951 (1951-08-29) (New York City)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.1 million (US rentals)[1]


Looking to bring back authentic Egyptians for his exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair, Cyrus Graydon goes to Cairo, where he is joined by a pasha and by an American con artist named Wayne Cravat.

A look or two at the exotic dancer Izora and the pasha's in love. Graydon tries to discourage her, but she manages to make her way to Chicago, where she promptly identifies herself, to Cravat's delight, as a genuine Egyptian princess.

Cravat pretends to be romantically interested in Graydon's daughter, Sylvia, to score points with her father. A jealous Izora retaliates by trying to seduce the man Sylvia is engaged to, Oliver Doane.

When she dances a scandalous "hootchy-kootchy" dance in public, the police place Izora under arrest. She insists in court that as a princess she's entitled to dance any way she pleases. Trouble is, the prosecution has discovered that Izora is actually Betty Randolph of Jersey City, New Jersey.

The pasha shows up just in time to attest to the fact that she is his cousin ... and, therefore, a true princess. They nearly get away with it, until others figure out that the pasha himself is nothing but a fake.



The film was announced in October 1950.[3] Filming started late November 1950.[4]

De Cordova later said he only enjoyed making the film "a modicum. At least the picture got me back in the musical area where I had worked in New York. Mark Stevens was an attractive, competent actor and Rhonda Fleming was a very pretty girl. We tested a lot of women for that part. Whoever played it had to be voluptuous and able to move sexily. The picture was kind of a pot boiler but we got paid for it. The results weren't terrible although I don't think I heightened Fleming's career or that the picture heightened mine."[5]


  1. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  2. Little Egypt at TCMDB
  3. DOROTHY LAMOUR IN DE MILLE FILM: Signed by Paramount to Play Role in 'Greatest Show on Earth,' Circus Picture By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 28 Oct 1950: 10.
  4. WARNERS SHELVES REMAKE OF DRAMA: Studio Postpones 'Front Man,' Based on 'Winterset,' Play by Maxwell Anderson By THOMAS BRADY New York Times 24 Nov 1950: 44.
  5. Davis, Ronald L. (2005). Just making movies. University Press of Mississippi. p. 133-134.
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