Initially, we looked at the Arab world as that of A Thousand and One Nights (partly Arab, partly Persian, but mostly Egyptian), exoticism and adventure. The figure of the sheikh united to one of the knights of the chansons de geste: heroic, erotic, indomitable.
Hence the myth of Rudolph Valentino ‘The Sheikh’, 1921, his greatest success – transcribed to the feuilleton version by Federico Fellini – The White Sheikh, 1952. That is, at least until the appearance of Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962, large Columbia Pictures production). The Arab imagination of Hollywood is positive, even if after the birth of the State of Israel in 1948 – supported by western powers – the fascination is no longer reciprocal.
In 1975 with The Wind and the Lion John Milius wrote a valuable chapter…
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