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After her father has died, Domini (Marlene Dietrich), who has been
brought up in a monastery, follows her Mother Superior's advice and makes
a trip to the Sahara to find peace and happiness. She soon attracts the
attention of one of her travelling companions, Count Anteoni (Basil
Rathbone), but Domini herself has taken interest in someone else, Boris
(Charles Boyer), a weird man lacking even the most basic social skills who
seems to have a dark secret. Domini though somehow brings Boris to opening
up towards her, and before you know it the two of them fall in love and
marry ... and embark on an expedition through the desert as their
honeymoon. Eventually, they meet Captain De Trevengniac (Alan Marshal) and
his battalion from the French Foreign Legion who have lost their way in
the desert, and they invite them for dinner - and during dinner, De
Trevegniac keeps insisting he knows Boris from somewhere, and when Domini
turns her back on the two of them for a minute, they get into a rowe, and
the Captain and his soldiers leave in a hurry and not on the best of
The enxt day, Count Anteoni, who has since met De Trevegniac,
arrives, and he reveals Boris's dark secret: Boris is a Trappist monk who
has escaped his monastery after his final vows, and has since been a man
on the run from his duties towards the church and from his own
convictions. All of this leads to much crying, especially since Domini is
such a devout Christian, and in the end, Boris, at the express advice of
Domini, returns to the monastery to become a monk once more, even if that
means never seeing her again ...
Marlene Dietrich and Charles
Boyer in the leads, supported by Basil Rathbone and John Carradine, in an
early Technicolor film set in the desert, carried by some pretty
impressive cinematography - now that sounds like a surefire winner ... but
unfortnuately, the film is anything but: The problem is the trainwreck of
a script this film is based on. All the characters in the movie completely
lack motivation, the central conflict is as ridiculous as it is unexciting
and furthermore must have been long outdated even in the 1930's, and the
resolution of the film is nothing short of pathetic. And what's even
worse, the film is pretty much boring as can be.
Avoid at all costs ...
though you'll probably want to see it for its cast anyways.