One Arabian Night is the inadequate American title bestowed upon director Ernst Lubitsch's brilliant German drama Sumurun. In what turned out to be his last on-camera appearance (he was a former slapstick comedian), Lubitsch stars as Yeggar, a hunchbacked clown who works with a travelling carnival. Arab sheik Paul Wegener demands that the troupe's dancing girl Pola Negri be sequestered in his harem. Yeggar faithfully follows along, and is a horrified witness as Wegener kills Negri for presumed unfaithfulness. The wizened clown vows revenge on the wicked Sheik. Inspired by the popular stage pantomime "The Arabian Nights", Sumurun is the film that encouraged Hollywood to invite Lubitsch into its fold-whereupon the director abandoned melodrama for good and all and concentrated instead on elegant sex comedies.
by Hal Erickson synopsis