Synopsis by Mark Deming
The popular operetta by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II enjoyed its second screen adaptation with this film, which added four new songs and updated the story to World War II. Paul Hudson (Dennis Morgan), an American veteran of the Spanish Civil War, makes his living playing piano in a Morocco nightclub; in his spare time, he romances Margot (Irene Manning), the club's featured singer. Caid Yousseff (Victor Francen) is a Moroccan in cahoots with the Nazis who is trying to win the support of a local gang called the Riffs, even though they're under the control of the French. The Riffs are led by El Khobar, a masked do-gooder who wants to persuade Col. Fontaine (Bruce Cabot) that the Riffs deserve their independence; if it is granted, he promises that they will gladly fight against the Nazis. What Fontaine doesn't know is that El Khobar and Paul Hudson are actually the same person. The Desert Song received an Oscar for Art Direction and was much praised for its beautiful color cinematography.
war, army, bad-guy, building, conquest, control, dance [art], disguise, double-life, Germany, good-guy, help, independence, leader, love, Nazism, nightclub, officer, piano, plans, railroad, songwriter, veteran [military]