The Arab (1924 film)

The Arab (1924) is a silent film starring Ramon Novarro and Alice Terry, written and directed by Rex Ingram, based on a 1911 play by Edgar Selwyn.

The Arab
Movie poster in Hungarian
Directed byRex Ingram
Produced byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Screenplay byRex Ingram
Based onThe Arab, A Play (1911)
by Edgar Selwyn
CinematographyJohn F. Seitz
Edited byGrant Whytock
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn Pictures
Release date
  • July 21, 1924 (1924-07-21)[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles


Jamil (Ramon Novarro) is a soldier in the Bedouin defense forces during a war between Syria and Turkey, who has deserted his regiment. In a remote village, he encounters an orphan asylum run by American missionaries Dr. Hilbert (Jerrold Robertshaw) and his daughter Mary (Alice Terry). The village is attacked by the Turks, and its ruler, eager to placate the invaders, intends to hand over the children for slaughter; he disguises his intentions under a move to Damascus for their safety.

The Bedouins arrive at the scene and reveal that Jamil is the son of the tribal leader. With his father's death revealed, Jamil becomes the new leader of the tribe, which endows him with a sense of responsibility. Risking his own life, he proceeds to save the children, defeating the Turks and the local leader in the process (and winning the girl).


Production background

The movie was filmed in North Africa just before the MGM merger, and edited under the new regime. Ingram reacted negatively to the supervision of studio bosses Mayer and Thalberg. He was backed by the New York powers of Marcus Loew and Nicholas Schenck and moved to the French Riviera, where all his subsequent films were made.[2]

Preservation status

This is one of 12 surviving films of Terry. A print is preserved in the Russian archive Gosfilmofond a digitally-preserved print was presented to the Library of Congress in October 2010.[3] Another copy is located in the Cinematheque Royale de Belgique in Brussels.[4]


The film was remade as The Barbarian (1933) again with Novarro and co-starring Myrna Loy.


  1. "The Arab". Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  2. Eames, John Douglas (1981). The MGM Story, p. 12.
  3. Bennett, Carl, ed. (January 26, 2015). "The Arab". Progressive Silent Film List via Silent Era.
  4. Pierce, David (October 8, 2015). "The Arab/Rex Ingram". American Silent Feature Film Survival Database. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
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