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Under the Crescent
(1915) American
B&W : Serial / Six episodes / Twelve reels
Directed by Burton L. King

Cast: Princess Hassan (Ola Humphrey) [the American actress], Edward Sloman [Prince Ibrahim Tousson], Helen Wright [his mother], Edna Maison [Zohra], William C. Dowlan [Stanley Clyde], Carmen Phillips [Princess Uarda], William Quinn [Said Pasha, the Khedive], H.E. Canfield (Henry Canfield) [Sir Godfrey, the consul general], Orral Humphrey [Mehemid Ali, a spy]

The Universal Film Manufacturing Company, Incorporated, production; distributed by The Universal Film Manufacturing Company, Incorporated [Gold Seal]. / Scenario by Nell Shipman. / Six episodes (two reels each): [1] “The Purple Iris,” released 1 June 1915; [2] “The Cage of the Golden Bears,” released 8 June 1915; [3] “In the Shadow of the Pyramids,” released 15 June 1915 (Universal release number 0579); [4] “For the Honor of a Woman,” released 22 June 1915 (Universal release number 0597); [5] “In the Name of the King,” released 29 June 1915 (Universal release number 0616); [6] “The Crown of Death,” released [?] 6 July? 1915. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. / A novelization of the serial was written by Nell Shipman, and was published as Under the Crescent in 1915. Episodes 3 and 4 was marketed in the USA with three-sheet and six-sheet posters, and two versions of one-sheet posters. The serial episodes were released in Canada one week after the USA releases.


Synopsis: [The Universal Weekly, Volume VI, Number 24, 12 June 1915, page 32] The third adventure of the “Under the Crescent” series, entitled “In the Shadow of the Pyramids,” will be released on June 15. The scenario of this sensational succession of revelations of Oriental harem life, written by Nell Shipman, has been produced by Burton King with impressive lavishness. A remarkable set, reproducing the great pyramid of Gizeh, serves as a background for the action of the third episode. Princess Ibrahim Hassan (Ola Humphrey), Edward Sloman, William C. Dowlan, Edna Maison and William Quinn enact the leading roles in the drama. / It will be remembered that the princess and the members of her party, after their escape from Prince Tousson, take refuge in the palace of the dead in the interior of one of the pyramids in the Egyptian desert. The princess, Clyde and Zohra follow the devious passageways into the interior of the centuries-old tomb until they feel that they are safe from pursuit. / Meanwhile the documents autorizing the massacre of the Christians are reported lost by Prince Tousson to the Khedive and his ministers of state. The prince is given twenty-four hours in which to find the documents. / The princess and her party are meanwhile without food. Zohra declares, when their hunger becomes acute, that she will go out to secure some. She creeps from the pyramid’s interior cautiously and then steals to the gates of the city. A beggar-spy recognizes her and Zohra hastily makes her purchases of vegetables and other food and hurries away. / She realizes that she is being followed and upon reaching the pyramid reports to the princess and Clyde. The three are uncertain whether to stay or to flee. Meanwhile, the spy, who has followed Zohra to her hiding place, returns to Prince Tousson, taking with him the two horses used by the princess and Clyde, in order to prevent their escape. Prince Tousson rewards the spy for his clever work and plans to leave at once to recover the papers and to imprison the princess in his desert palace. He leaves his palace with two crack officers and a company of soldiers to capture the trio. / The princess. Clyde and Zohra see Tousson’s officers approaching. Clyde decides to make a fight of it and loads his revolver. As the officers approach Clyde fires. One of the officers is killed. He fires several more shots but soon finds he has exhausted his ammunition. He thereupon starts a huge stone from its resting place and the great block tumbles down among Prince Tousson and his men and narrowly misses killing the entire party. / Clyde is wounded and the prince and his men rush inside the pyramid intent upon capturing the princess and Zohra. Zohra tells the princess to hide in a casket which formerly contained the mummy of one of the queens of Egypt. The princess agrees to do so and, taking the papers authorizing the massacres of the Christians from her waist, gives them to Zohra, cautioning her to preserve them carefully. / The next moment, after te princess has hidden, Zohra is taken prisoner by the prince and his men. She starts to tear up the documents entrusted to her by the princess but Tousson prevents her. The princess, inside the casket, waits until she believes everyone has gone and then carefully raises the lid of the mummy case. Prince Tousson, who has observed a portion of her dress extending from the casket, waits for her and as soon as she has revealed herself seizes her and drags her off. Meanwhile, the officer to whom Tousson has entrusted the massacre order rides back to the Khedive’s palace and presents them with Prince Tousson’s compliments. The prince and princess in the interim are returning to the city on the backs of camels, followed by natives and soldiers. / Outside the Khedive’s palace the enraged Mohammedans await the Pasha’s word decreeing the death of the Christians. As soon as the documents recovered by Prince Tousson are given to the Khedive the minister steps out on the balcony of the Khedive’s palace and addresses the mob: / “Allah hath spoken!” he shouts. “Death to the infidels!”

Survival status: The film is presumed lost.

Current rights holder: Public domain.

Keywords: Serials

Listing updated: 17 March 2012.

References: Braff-Universal n. 8525; Lahue-Continued pp. 31, 166, 289 : UnivWeekly-19150612 pp. 32, 34 : Website-SerSq.

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