Thursday, 26 April 2012

Comedy harem dancer: Joan Davis

Remember how I posted those clips from The Conqueror and said that if I could find a clip of Sylvia Lewis in 1952's Harem Girl that I'd post it? Well, unbeknownst to me I already had a clip from Harem Girl lined up to post, but it doesn't feature Sylvia. There's my dirty secret: I will often draft several posts at once and then save them up to publish. So sue me! I do have a life, you know. God.

Anyway, my stockpiled post features the film's star, comedienne Joan Davis. (Yes, Harem Girl is a comedy.) Joan made Lucille Ball possible, although Joan was a lot saucier, and was most famous for her very I Love Lucy-ish TV series I Married Joan.

Nine years after Harem Girl was released, in 1961, Joan had a massive heart attack and died suddenly. This may have been a small mercy, because in 1963 Joan's mother, daughter and her two grandsons were killed in a house fire. At least Joan didn't live to see that tragedy befall so many of her loved ones.

The plot line for Harem Girl is that of a film with no pretentions to being high art. Here's the IMDB synopsis:
A wise-cracking, uninhibited American girl, Susie Perkins (Joan Davis), is hired as a secretary/companion to Princess Shareen (Peggie Castle), a Middle-East ruler of a small desert kingdom. Soon after her arrival, Susie learns that Shareen is in great danger, as a wicked sheik desires to get a hold of both the Princess and her oil-rich lands. After some wild adventures, aided by Majeed (Paul Marion), Shareen's sweetheart, Susie cleans up the situation, and is last seen joining the French Foreign Legion, which is 'for men only'. This suits Susie just fine - because she's for men too!
And here's Joan in action. This is a really charming, old-time funny bit of physical comedy. Enjoy!