This is Egyptian dancer and actress Naima Akef performing in a scene from the 1949 film ‘Lahalibo’ (لهاليبو) in which she starred along with Hassan Fayek, Shukri Sarhan and Suleiman Naguib. The film was directed by Hussein Fawzi who was Naima Akef’s husband between 1953 and 1958.
Trivia: The film has also been released with the tile of ‘The Circus Girl’.
Usually known as a bellydancer, Horeya Hassan (حورية حسن) shows just what a good singer she was in this scene from the 1958 Egyptian film ‘Ahabek ya Hassan’ (I Love You Hassan أحبك يا حسن). The film starred Shukri Sarhan who’s at the piano and Naima Akef who’s dancing in this clip. Also starring were Abdel Monem Ibrahim who’s the pyjama wearing drummer, Estefan Rosti, Tawfiq al Daqn and Nadia Nour who was only in a couple of films.
The song Horeya Hassan sings is titled, ‘Min Hobi fik ya Gari’ (With love for you my neighbour). The song was written for this film and its now so popular for bellydancers thanks to the versions on Leila Farid’s cds.
Towards the end of the scene Horeya Hassan looks into Hassan’s room and sees Naima Akef dancing.
The commentary of this retrospective of the career of Egyptian bellydancer and actress Naima Akef (1929-1966) is in Arabic but even if you’re not an Arabic speaker, the pictures and clips give an overview of her movie career. It covers many of her most famous dance scenes including ‘Tamr Henna’ in Part 2. If you follow old time Egyptian movies you see famous Egyptian comedienne Zeinat Sedki playing the riq as part of the band in the ‘Tamr Henna’ scenes.
(One day I’ll have the time to do a translation but unfortunately I can’t see it being any time soon.)
Naima Akef (نعيمة عاكف) dances in what’s probably the most famous scene from the 1957 Egyptian film ‘Tamra Henna’ (تمر حنة). The film also starred Ahmed Ramzy, Seraj Munir, Rushdy Abaza as Hassan, Tamr Henna’s finance and Fayza Ahmed who is the singer in this clip.
Trivia: 1) Tamar hinna, tamra henna or tamerhinna is the name here for tamarind. The words ‘tamer hina’ mean literally ‘Indian date’. Supermarkets sell tamarind by the box full and you can eat the fruit straight from the box. There are big seeds/pips though.
2) If you follow Egyptian classic movies you’ll recognise Zeinat Sedki as the riq player in the band.
Naima Akef dancing in the 1957 film ‘Tamr Henna’ (تمر حنة ). Along with Akef the film starred Faiza Ahmed, Rushdi Abaza, Ahmed Ramzi, Siraj Munir and Zeinat Sedki. The story line has similarities to Pigmalion/My Fair Lady in which a lower class girl is transformed into a genteel lady. In ‘Tamr Henna’ however Prof. Higgins is replaced by a rich man with a jealous fiancee who connives with Hassan (Abaza) who’s the fiance of the girl, to shame Tamr Henna publicly and ‘put her in her place’. The scene in this clip shows a party where, unknown to Tamr Henna, her family has been hired to entertain the guests (‘Kali ballik min Zuzu’ anyone?). She is forced to dance for the partygoers thus revealing her true background. The man who dances with her in this scene is her fiance and she is shocked to see him. In later scenes her jealous fiance stabs her but she survives and returns to her roots.
Naima Akef and the flute playing giant. A scene from the 1955 film ‘Bahr al Gharam’ (Sea of Love بحر الغرام) which starred Naima Akef, Youssef Wehbi and Rushdi Abaza. The film was directed by Hussein Fawzi who later became Akef’s husband and directed her in over a dozen films until they divorced in 1958.
Trivia: the Arabic word ‘bahr’ meaning sea (or harbour) which is used in the title of this movie can also be found in the name of the Middle Eastern country, Bahrain. Bahrain means ‘two seas’ though there’s endless argument about exactly which two seas. The word Bahrain breaks down as bahr (sea) +ain (the form of the word for ‘two’ used at the end of a plural noun).
This is Naima Akef dancing in another scene from the 1955 Egyptian film ‘Bahr al Gharam’ (Sea of Love بحر الغرام) in which she starred along with Youssef Wehbi (shown in the tuxedo clapping) and Rushdi Abaza (in the audience looking grumpy). The male dancer performing with her is Kristo Kladakis (خريستو كلاداكيس).
Naima Akef wearing a white costume in a scene from the 1964 Egyptian colour production ‘Amir al Dahaa’ (أمير الدهاء ). 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’. It starred Farid Shawki, Shwaiker, Naima Akef, Tawfiq Daqn and Mahmoud Morsi.
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’s 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.)
This is Egyptian bellydancer Naima Akef (1929-1966) in a scene from the 1952 film ‘Ya Halawet al Hob’ ((Oh) The Sweetness of Love يا حلاوة الحب ). Naima Akef starred along with Mohamed Fawzi (the singer in this scene), Lola Sedky, Soliman Bey Naguib, Wedad Hamdy and Zeinat Sedki.
Aside from being a great singer, Mohamed Fawzi (1918-1966) composed the music for the Algerian national anthem ‘Kassaman’.
Naima Akef dances in a scene from the 1962 Egyptian film ‘Al Haqeeba al Sawda’ (The Black Suitcase الحقيبة السوداء) in which she starred along with Shukry Sarhan, Stefan Rosti and Mahmoud al Meligi.
Naima Akef retired from performing in 1964 and died only 2 years later in 1966 aged only 37.