Syrian bellydancers Eghraa and Fitna (1964)

This scene is from a Lebanese/Syrian joint production titled, ‘The Pearl Necklace’ (Akd al Lulu عقد اللولو) which had previously been both a tv sketch and a stage play. Released in 1964, the film starred Lebanese singer/actress Sabah, Syrian comedians Duraid Lahham and Nihad Kalai (the two men who enter the restaurant and sit at the table) and Syrian singer Fahad Balan. The dancers in this clip are ‘real life’ sisters and their stage names are Eghraa (with the headband draping over her shoulder) and Fitna. The sisters left their home in Damascus, Syria for the bright lights of Cairo in 1958. Eghraa’s real name is Nihad Alaeddin and she went on to become a well known ‘bikini’ actress while her sister Fitna seems to have only appeared in a couple of Egyptian films in the 1960s. Fitna now veils and identifies as a conservative Muslim. She no longer mentions her bellydancing past though the two sisters still speak to each other.
Trivia: (1) In Arabic the word Eghraa means ‘seduction’. The word Fitna in Arabic has many meanings but can mean ‘temptation’.
(2) Fahad Ballan moved from Syria to Egypt and worked with Farid al Atrash. He was married for several years to actress Mariam Fakhreddine who was also a star of one of Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham’s films.

The Great Unknown (1964)

This unknown dancer is performing in a scene from the 1964 Egyptian film ‘Al Marid’ (The Giant المارد ). The singer is Mohamed Rushdi. The film also starred Egyptian actress Shweiker and Tawfik al Dekn along with Farid Shawki who’s wearing an eye patch throughout most of the film.

Nemat Mokhtar (1964) نعمت مختار

This is a scene from the Egyptian film ‘Bayn al Qasrayn’ (Between two Palaces بين قصرين) which was released in 1964. The dancer in this scene is Nemat Mokhtar.
The film is based on the first book of the Cairo Trilogy written by Egyptian born Naguib Mahfouz who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. Published in Arabic in 1956 with the title ‘Bayn al Qasrayn’ (Between Two Palaces) the first book was translated into English in 1990 when it was given its better known title, Palace Walk. The three books; Palace Walk, Palace of Desire (released in Arabic in 1957) and Sugar Street (also released in Arabic in 1957), tell the story of three generations of the el Gawad family who live in Cairo. The story starts during Egypt’s occupation by British forces in 1917 and continues until 1944.
Starring in the film was Yahia Shaheen as El Sayed Ahmed Abdel Gawad, a man who rules his family with an iron fist but after dark he’s leading a life of hedonism and self indulgence. Also starring were Maha Sabri, Abdelmonem Ibrahim and Ezzat el Alaili.

Kawakeb (1964) سميرة توفيق

This scene is from the 1964 Lebanese film titled ‘Hasna al Badia ‘ (حسناء البادية The Desert Beauty).  The dancer wearing the red and black dress is Lebanese dancer/actress Kawakeb (كواكب) and the ‘baddie’ in black at the end of the scene is played by Nadia Gamal who did not dance in this film.
The film starred Samira Tawfik as Hala (the girl on the swing) who’s thought to be unable to walk.  In this scene she discovers that she can walk when she sees that the evil flute player is about to blow a poison dart her way.  He also has a ‘moustache incident’ but never mind that, LOL.
Trivia: The phrase ‘al badia’ comes from the same root as bedouin.

Bellydancers (1964)

A dance troupe performs in a scene from the 1964 Egyptian colour production ‘Emir al Dahaa’ (أمير الدهاء ) which starred Naima Akef, Shweiker and Farid Shawki. Naima Akef retired shortly after making this film to care for her child and sadly she died two years later while still in her mid-30s.
The film is known as ‘The Prince of Cunning’ aka ‘The Crafty One’ aka ‘The Artful Prince’ aka ‘The Prince of Savvy’ (well, you get the idea I’m sure) and is based on French writer Alexandre Dumas’ book, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’.
Background: The film is a colour remake, complete with the same dialogue, of a 1950 black and white film ‘Amir el Antikam’ (‘Prince of Revenge’) which starred Anwar Wagdy. The dance scenes in the earlier movie were performed by Samia Gamal.
Movie trivia: 1. Farid Shawki who was the star of this film, had a small part in the earlier production. 2. Both the 1950 and 1964 version of the story were directed by Henri Barakat. 3. The dubbed English language version of this film was released in the US with the grand title ‘Vengeance of the Desert’. (Thanks to Lynette of Serpentine.)