At RKO Keith Memorial
Maureen O'Hara may be an expert on décolletage, but she is no great shakes when it comes to acting in Arab movies. This became evident approximately half way through "Bagdad, in which Miss O'Hara is cast as a Bedouin of some means who migrates from England in order to live with her father. When she is informed that Pa has been bumped off by a local band of rowdies known as the Black Robes, nothing will do but she must get an eye-for-an-eye and all that by eliminating the ringleader of the boys in black.
There is considerable confusion as to just who this reseal is Miss O'Hara, who answers, to the title of Princess Mah Jongg, has her sights set on the wrong fellow (Paul Christian) for some time while palling around with the pasha and military governor of Bagdad (Vincent Price). When the Black Robe boss turns out to be somebody else (John Sutton), Christian gets the Princess and Sutton and Price get theirs.
The plot is reasonably easy to follow if you bring along a bloodhound and a pocket dictionary of Arab names, which rend the desert air and are damn hard to keep track of.
"Bagdad" is an ordinary American western in disguise. The cavalry and the gangsters are there all right, only they are fitted out in flowing robes instead of gray serge, carry swords instead of pistols, smoke aguilas instead of cigarettes, and quote from the Koran whenever a cowboy might toss off a handy cliche.
The RKO Variety-Hour, which takes the place of a second feature, includes a pathos-laden "This Is America" short on an ex-GI who revisits his old battlegrounds; a Lowell Thomas piece about the California redwoods; a Bugs Bunny cartoon; Jan August in a few piano numbers; and "Football Headlines of 1949." The last-named is the best film the RKO Keith has to offer at the moment.