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1948 | 4:3 | Black & White | Quality: Excellent

Yvonne De Carlo

Peter Lorre

Tony Martin


Pepe le Moko (Tony Martin) is a brazen jewel thief, wanted by the French and local police in Algeria where he is holed up deep inside the Casbah with his beautiful girlfriend Inez (Yvonne De Carlo). Casbah is the Algerian word for fortress and that is the problem that the police have. They have two approaches - Louvain (Thomas Gomez) takes a direct route by storming in and arresting him - this fails as it has on every occasion before - because everyone in the Casbah is on Pepe's side and he always escapes. Slimane (Peter Lorre) from the local police is more streetwise and befriends Pepe while maintaining that he will one day arrest him. The two opposite-thinking inspectors need to collude to bring him out of the Casbah in order to make the arrest. They scheme to do this by sending an old prison-friend Carlo (Douglas Dick) in to betray and lure him out with a love interest Gaby (Marta Toren).

When Tony Martin was discharged from the Navy he was looking for a vehicle that would reestablish him as a top musical lead in Hollywood and decided that a musical adaption of Algiers was just the ticket. The best thing that Casbah has going for it is the great musical score by Harold Arlen and Leo Robin - four numbers were sung by Martin and co-star Yvonne DeCarlo, every one of them became a big hit and were a staple of Tony Martin's nightclub act for years. Hooray for Love, What's Good About Goodbye, For Every Man There's A Woman, and It Was Written in the Stars are the songs that Martin does. The last one was identified by Ella Fitzgerald as her favorite Harold Arlen tune and one she insisted on including in her Harold Arlen songbook album. Yvonne de Carlo who plays Inez, Pepe's girlfriend, is my favourite of the cast with Peter Lorre and Thomas Gomaz also standing out. This film has a great setting, and it's a shame that the two lead women did not have a scene together where they could confront each other. There is some crazy chicken-killing voodoo ritual dancing that is also thrown into the mix and a very dramatic ending which all add up to make this is an enjoyable film.

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