From what little I could find out about this Egyptian film from the 1960's,
it is considered a comedy classic. Some of it doesn't hold up that well all
these many years later but most of it does in a sweet, chaotic and silly
way with some great comic performances all around. It also seemed clear that
even with the good English subtitles, that I was still missing a fair amount
of the rapid fire word play. But I really enjoy these Egyptian films from
the Golden Age and wish more were available with subs. This one though is
up on YouTube with subs in decent if not great condition.
It has a great comic manic arc. It begins with a loving wife and husband,
the wife's parents and their very good female friend who lives next door.
So much loving between all of them. Sweet words pass between them like honeysuckle.
The husband and wife (Fouad El-Mohandes and Shouweikar, who were married
in real life at the time of the film. Shouweikar just passed away a short
time ago) go off on a vacation on a plane. The plane loses a motor, then
another one, then another one and expecting to die she confesses to him that
she cheated on his eggs in the morning; he stupidly confesses that he dreamed
about kissing the buxom blonde next door. She being actress Hind Rustum (incredible
in the classic Cairo Station) who was sort of the Marilyn Monroe in Egypt
- not my comparison but others. But she is great so you can understand a
man dreaming about her. Kind of a Va-Va-Voom girl.
Well, that is the beginning of the collapse of everything as relationships
fall apart like a house of cards. The wife Latifah is furious with her husband
Waheed. The father-in-law (Youseff Wahbi) who is all lovely dovey with his
enormous wife in person tells Waheed that he wants to put her in a space
capsule and send her into space (so do we), then he persuades Waheed that
it wasn't a dream but real and that he got Bossa pregnant and then he makes
a play for Bossa (Hind) himself. The screechy crazy as a loon mother in law
persuades Latifah to not divorce him yet but wait to catch Waheed and Bossa
(which means kiss in Egyptian) in the act. But Bossa is in love with Essam
(Amed Ramzy) who pays her no attention so she decides to make him jealous
by flirting with Waheed. A combustible mix.
This all runs around like a chicken that has lost its head and is frantic
and nutty - at times getting a bit too broad but overall good fun. In an
old fashioned way. It is the parents-in-law who make this film - the sneaky
father who could talk his way out of a blender and the mother (Mary Mounib)
who is just a non-stop stream of in your face. Mounib was a comedy icon in
her time especially for her sharp acidic tongue as a mother-in-law in a number
of films. In fact, the film is filled with very popular actors in Egypt and
they are all given space to put on a good performance. If this has been made
in America in the 1930's, it would have been termed a Screwball comedy.