Egypt by Three (1953) - full transcript

Three stories of Egyptian locale: 1) Deals with murder and violence, 2) Pilgrimage to Mecca, and 3) Comedy about desert life. First American picture filmed entirely in Egypt.



Egypt, ancient and fabled land
of the inscrutable Sphinx,

the mighty Pharaohs and
the dark mystery of the Nile.

Yes, Egypt is rich
in story and legend

from the days
of the divine Cleopatra

on up through the centuries
to this very moment.

Even now lovers in Egypt

communicate in a strange
romantic code.


Here is a fan...

and a rose...

and a violin string.

And lastly, this knife.

Let me show you what these
objects meant to two people

who loved each other in the
glamorous city of Cairo.

[orchestra playing
inside nightclub]

[music ends]


[drum roll]

[cymbal crash]


[drum roll]

[cymbal crash]


Why do you insist
on coming here every night?

But, Gregor, this is the
first nightclub I've been to

in all my life.


Besides what?


[drum roll]

[cymbal crash]


[drum roll]

[cymbal crash]


Told him a dozen times.

He still makes the same mistakes.

What are you complaining
about now?

The electrician.

He spotlights me
at the wrong time.

He uses the wrong colors.

He forgot one light completely.

I didn't notice.

I wouldn't expect you to notice.

Of course, if your uncle
was any sort of a manager,

he'd take care of these things.

Florie, don't you think
this is just about enough?

Five years ago,

we were playing
the backstreets of Tangiers.

Uncle Tavis changed all that, yes?

Well, we're not in Tangiers now.

You didn't answer my question.

All right, Uncle Tavis,
Uncle Tavis, Uncle Tavis.

You're more concerned
with him and your brothers

than with anything else,
including me.


The Madrano family
against the world.

Well, I don't like it.

You're a Madrano too, remember?

I'll never be a Madrano.

[men laughing]

Will you leave me alone?

It went well, eh?

For you, yes.

For me, the same as usual.

Hey Tony, look at this new number.

[orchestra resumes in club]

He's the sucker.

We're playing.





You like it, Tony?


Do you like it?

We'll see how it will work out

in rehearsal tomorrow.

What's the matter, Anton,
you don't feel well?

I'm all right.

Tell him about the booking
we have in Rome.

That'll cheer him up.

Oh, yes, yes, Rome.

I've just received a wire
from the Palace Hotel.

We start our engagement
there in two weeks.

At an increase in salary.

I know, you need a good drink.

Get the glasses.

Look, uh, all of you, I'm sorry.

I'd like to be alone
for a little while.

Would you mind?

Sure, Anton. No, that's all right.

Tody, not you.

I'd like you to wait a minute.

What is it, Tony?

I need a favor.


But, Tody, this must be
just between the two of us.

What do you want me to do?

I need four things.


A fan, a rose, the string of
a violin and a gold knife.

But Tony... Will you get them for me?

Of course, but...

I know what I'm doing, believe me.

She's been in the gardens
every night for a week.

I can't get her face
out of my mind.

Which one?

The dark girl.

She sits at a table on the right.

Oh, yes, I've seen her.

But she always sits
with a man, the same one.

That's her brother.

I've checked into that.

He won't cause any trouble.

I hope not.

Anyway, wait until he's gone,

arrange it so she's alone

before you deliver the message.

What about Florie?

She's not a Madrano.

She said so herself.



It's always such a problem

to get a cab
at this time of night.

I'm in no hurry.

But I don't like
being kept waiting.

Stay here, I'll be back
in a few minutes.

I have a buggy waiting for you.

This is for you, Miss.



I received this from a friend.

What does it mean?

You are not from Egypt?

No, Johannesburg.

This is very simple.

The fan signifies
your friend wishes

to pay you an evening visit.

The flower,
that you meet in a garden.

And the violin string,
that there will be music.

But the knife, this I myself
know not the meaning of.

Oh, I understand what that means.

It denotes your friend.

How do I answer in the same way?

It's very beautiful.

What do you wish to say?

Well, that he must wait.

Then send him a piece of air plant

because it will live

for many months without water

and this signifies
he must have patience.

Yes, and I also want to say that...

Who sent this to you?

Gregor, I didn't...

Throw it away.

But, Gregor,
you're acting foolish.

I'm not a schoolgirl anymore.

Don't be an idiot.

The man is married
and you know that.

Yes, but...

Now listen, Gina, if you
don't want to return

home to your father
at exactly this instant,

you'll do as I say.

Now throw it away!

Oh, all right.

You treat me as if I were a child.

Only because you are one.

Garden City, Villa of the Roses.

[horse trotting, bells jingling]

Going someplace?



I figured as much.

Well, where are you going?

Look, Florie, do me
a favor, will you?

Don't ask any more questions.

Just let me alone.

I suppose you and your brothers

will go someplace and get drunk.

Yeah, that's it.

Well, what am I supposed
to do in the meantime?

Count the flowers
on the wallpaper?

The shops are open.

Go buy yourself something.

You usually do.


I never heard of you going alone

on these little excursions.

How do you know?

Been spying?

I don't have to spy.

I simply know you too well.

Sure, the wisdom
of the ages resides

in that fat head of yours.

You know, there's one thing
I love about you, Florie.

You're always
so full of compliments.

You haven't heard
my best ones yet.

I've heard them.

I've heard them all.

Believe me.


Garden City, Villa of the Roses.


Did I frighten you?

Only for a moment.

I know you couldn't
answer my message.

I wanted to.

What would you have said?

"Come to see me."

What's your name?




Oh, Anton, I've thought of you

every minute since I
first saw you.

And I you.

I couldn't wait any longer.

I'm glad you couldn't.

But I don't think we'll be
able to see each other

any longer.

Your brother?

He's my bodyguard,
chaperone, everything.

My father let me make this trip

only on the condition

that I'd never be
out of his sight.

Where are you from?

Far to the south... Johannesburg.

In two weeks,
I go to the north... Rome.

I'll never forget you.

We still have two weeks.

I want to learn all about you.

For once in my life,

I want to be with someone
who's kind and gentle

and truly beautiful.

We will then, Anton,

somehow, some way, for two weeks.

You're very brave.

I must leave now.

My brother might notice.

I'll go alone.

If he asks any questions,

I'll say I went for a walk
and couldn't sleep.

Good night, Gina.



Disappearing again tonight, Tony?


Uncle Tavis, I'd like to
speak to Tony alone.

He can stay.

No, Anton, I don't want to.

I haven't got time
to talk now, Florie.

I've something to say
and it won't wait.

All right, what is it?

I'm not going to Rome

with Tody, Vito,
Belo and Uncle Travis.


We don't need those tumblers
along to get work.

Besides, I'm
sick and tired of them.

They're loud, stupid boors.

I don't want to have to
see them again.

Loud, stupid boors.

In all the time
we've been together,

you haven't made one effort
to get to know them.

You've been insulting,
selfish and cruel.

You hurt them deeply
many times without cause.

Sure, stand up for them.

You're just like they are.

I should have known it
from the start.

I'm sorry you made the mistake.

You're not leaving.

Get out of the way, Florie.



Sorry I'm late, Gina.

I was worried.

What happened?

Everything's all right...

And before?

I'm leaving for Rome tomorrow.


But it, it needn't be forever.

These times we've been together

have been too wonderful.

It just can't end now.

I'll be leaving for home soon.

My vacation will be over.

Then I'll see you in Johannesburg.

I don't think so, Anton.

They watch me
even more closely there.

They'll probably
marry me off to somebody

and that's that.

Gina, will you marry me?


I'll get a divorce.

Go to Paris.

Wait for me.

Yes, Anton... yes.

My brother!

Go down to the river

and get in one of
the boats and wait there.


Go on, I'll talk to him...
go on, hurry.

Where's Gina?

Where'd you send her?

She's all right.

She's waiting for me.

For you, you scum?

Listen to me...

Dirty scum.


I'll kill you!

[loud crack]

What happened?

You're bleeding.

We started fighting.

He wouldn't listen to me.

Is he all right?

Yeah, I think so.

[boatman singing in Arabic]

[continues singing]

I wish our first time
on the Nile together

could have been different.

There'll be other times, Anton.

Yes, other times.

But we must make some plans.

Anything you say.

First, I don't want you
to go back to your place

in Garden City.

All right, Anton.

I'll take you to a little
respite near my hotel.

You'll be safe there.

It's run by some friends of mine.

And then?

I have one more thing to do,
then I'll come back for you.

You will wait, won't you?

I'll be there, Anton.

I'll be there.

[singing resumes]

I'm sorry.

That's all I can say.


Oh, no, Tony.

You're not half as sorry
as you're going to be.


Give me the police.

[phone rings]


Chief speaking.

Yes, I saw it with my own eyes.

He picked up a heavy stone
and killed him.

Yes... yes, Anton, Anton Madrano.

He's staying here
at the Mina House Hotel.

I'm his wife, Florie Madrano.



What number is Anton Madrano in?

Tony, the police,
they're coming for you.

The police?
Why? What is it?

They say you killed
someone by the Nile.


Tony, did you?

I, I don't know.

I didn't think I killed him.

Well, what are you going to do?

I've got to get out of here.

Wait here.

You too.

Don't try to come up!

You'll get one through your heart!

Tear gas will smoke him out.


Have you determined
which apartment is his?

Yes, Inspector, third floor,
corner on the left.

Move back, Madrano!

We're gonna fire
through the window!

All right, go ahead.

[gunshot, window breaks]


Move back, Madrano!

I'm going to fire!


Stop it!

Stop it.

Get back.

Please, I'm his wife.

Let me talk to him.

People will be hurt, killed.

Let me go to him.

I'll bring him out.

All right.

Hold your fire!

Tony! Tony!

You happy now?

Listen to me, Tony.

They'll kill you.

They'll cut you down.

What do you want?

I can get you out of here safely.


You didn't kill that man.

I saw the whole thing.

Someone else came after you left

and stoned him to death.

Why should the police
believe you again?

I can lead them to the murderer.

He stole a diamond ring.

They'll find it on him.

Why are you doing this
now, Florie?

What do you want from me?

That you never see Gina again.

That you come with me to Rome.

And if I don't agree
to your little... bargain?

Tony, I'll go back to the police.

I'll tell them
I couldn't reason with you.

[knife clanks]

Let's go.



[drum roll]

[cymbal crash]

[drum roll]

[cymbal crash]

[drum roll]


In our next story,

it is an hourglass which measured

an amazing moment of crisis
in many lives.


Here now is a caravan
on a holy mission to Mecca.

This is Egypt today or
a thousand years ago.

Certain good things never change
in this land of history,

even when the past
and the present clash

on these ageless sands.


[camels nuzzing...
a rumbling growl... "nuuurrr..."]

Oh, Magician, powerful one,

please come and gaze upon my child

for he is sick

and only you can summon
the powers to help him.

A pox... only in the heat does
one choose to be taken sick.

Please, oh, Magician,

the child needs help
and we can pay you,

not much, but whatever we have.

Is the child in the shade?

In our tent.

His head is burning.

Feel it, oh, Magician.

It's as if an afrit
is clutching at his throat.

Is it because
I've been ill-tempered

that he's being punished?



In the name of God, the only God,

creator of all powerful wishes,

whom eyes do not see
and thought cannot conceive,

protect the bearer of this,
my charm,

from the devilish cursed afrits.

Let the beneficial light
of thy face

burn the cursed afrits
and cast them into the fire

so that this boy may continue
to walk in your grace.

[speaking in Arabic]

Do you know
what's expected of you?

[drums playing]

[music playing]

[music continues]

Sheik Omar of Tripoli.

Salaamu alaykum.

Alaykum al-salaam.

I am Dr. Mahmud

and this is Dr. Walter Jansen
from America.

We're sent
by the American Foundation.

Here are our credentials.

Thank you very much.

I do not read.

During the pilgrimage season,

you and your caravan
must be inspected

before we can send you
into the country.


There may be those among you
who are carrying disease.

If that's the case, our only wish

is that we try to prevent
them from spreading it.

We carry nothing that
cannot be seen by the eye.

I am an Egyptian and from
the chant and the tabul,

it would seem that someone is ill.

If you are an Egyptian,
then you know very well

that someone from our own midst

is able to take care of him.

The person more than likely
has nothing contagious.

It's a matter for the boy
and his parents.

This is a matter of public health.

It's a matter for
the sick one and his parents.

If they permit you entrance,
I cannot insist otherwise.

Peace be with you.


[wind blowing]

Salaamu alaykum.

How do you feel?

I won't hurt you.

I want to help you.

Who are his good parents?

We are.

We are doctors.

How long has he been like this?

It started two nights ago.

He complained
as though he had been

poisoned by something.

I'm sure it is nothing serious,
but with your permission,

we should like to
take a blood sample

back to our laboratory.

It is a matter of course
and will give him no pain.

Do not listen.

I perceive that one
has an evil eye.


He is a friend of mine.

He has an evil eye nevertheless.

If you believe that,

he will give you an article of
clothing which you can burn,

thus destroying any evil.

In the name of Allah,
the only God,

I promise you no pain.

Give me your hand.

[short yelp]

Thank you.

Salaamu alaykum.

Alaykum al-salaam.

You have an evil eye.

Throwing sand is another
precaution against it.



Bubonic plague.


I knew it.

Do you have it in your power
to call out the police?

There are only ten policemen
at El Habib

I could put them at your
service if necessary.

I want a cordon placed
around that caravan.

Nobody is to get in or out

other than the medical staff.


[camels nuzzing]

What's the meaning of all this?

The boy is in that tent.

Isolate him until
we can set up a hot zone.

Yes, Doctor.

I'm sorry, Sheik Omar,

but your encampment
is under quarantine.


No one will be permitted
past the police

until it's safe.

That boy we saw this morning
has the bubonic plague.

It was your word to the parents

that the boy was not unduly sick.

I had to say so.

There have been occasions when,

at the sound of "bubonic plague,"

people have fled in panic,

spreading the disease
everywhere they went.

You'll be delayed six days.

That's the duration prescribed.

That's the time it takes

to make sure
you're not contagious.

It is our people's custom to
take care of their own sick.

Out of respect for themselves

and the thousands
of worshippers in Mecca

whom they might contaminate,
they must sacrifice custom.

This disease can be transmitted.

Bubonic plague
is the work of the devil

and only the spirits can help us.

I think we'll give it a whirl too.

Let's set up our tents
over here and start work.

If you please, oh, Doctor,

we have planned that our baby
see the first light of day

in the reflection of
the Prophet's Kaaba.

Can we not be made an exception?

I'm afraid not.

If the baby's born here,

I can only promise it'll
be given the best of care.

Care is not what we require.

My good wife and I are
capable of giving it that.

The reason we go
on this pilgrimage

is to get for our child

what no other human being
is capable of giving.

I'm sorry, there's
nothing more I can say.



Come on, come on!

Give two shots to the next
person who tries that!


Oh, spirit Tata, oh, spirit Avya,

oh, spirit Utika,
who dwell on the ground

and communicate with me
and only me.

Touch me once if
it is the will of Allah

that this girl bears her
child here in the desert.

Touch me twice if it is
the will of Allah

that she and her husband
steal away to Mecca,

the land of our Prophet.

Hey, what do you think
you're doing?

This mother-to-be

has suffered the jolts
of a camel all this way

so as to bear a child
in the reflection of Kaaba.

It was to her question
I sought an answer.

The answer is there's
a plague in this camp.

An illegal departure
will be treated as a crime.

If you're not halted by bullets,

you'll have to answer
to the authorities.

There's no way out of here anyhow.

[engine running]


I want to look into something.

My child will be born in Mecca.

On that I swear.


How is he?

Respiration improving.

Temperature's a little better too.

They just won't
cooperate out there.

We're trying to save their lives

and they won't let us.

Can you remember how you behaved

the first time your mother

tried to force castor oil on you?

I'm sure you didn't
give her an easy time.

Yes, but they're adults.

And the better reason
to treat them as such

or we may have
some trouble on our hands

such as we have never seen.

What kind of trouble?

The Quran says
let no man hinder another

from visiting the holy mosque

lest he suffer the consequences.

Ought to go easy on them.

Look, Mahmud, after
three weeks, 18 hours a day

trying to track this disease
down, I'm out of patience.

I haven't the time nor
the energy to coddle them.

At least reason with them.

You're a strange combination

of science, religion
and psychology.

How they're compatible,
I don't know.

But I must act
as only my good sense

instructs me to act.

Of course, but you must recognize

that they are people
of the same strain as I.

My understanding of them

makes it sometimes
difficult for me

not to sympathize
too much with them.

Oh, I tried to reason with
them a little while ago,

but it was only after
threatening that I learned

that two others in the caravan

died en route
of the same symptoms.

I don't know.

In America, you just don't
stop talking to your doctor.

How is it that you choose
to come on such an assignment

so far from all
that is familiar to you?

My work was with the public
health office in San Francisco

investigating contagious
diseases brought in by ships.

When word came from
the American Foundation

of outbreaks of bubonic
plague here in North Africa,

I volunteered.

I was qualified.

To leave one's country
to help another's

takes more than
just qualifications...

unselfishness of a high order.

Hmm, maybe.

On the other hand, it might
be considered very selfish.

Disease doesn't recognize
any frontiers.

What happens here

can be communicated
anywhere in the world:

in Mecca, in America.

There I go again.

Got a cigarette?

Doctor! Doctor!

Two have gotten out.

Who? Where?

The couple.

Their name is Kasmit.

What are you talking about?

That woman is about to have
a baby any minute.

How could they get by?

I don't know.

But the supply truck
was here this morning.

They might have
slipped away in it.

Radio El Habib, Mecca and Cairo.

Have the police given all
the particulars about them

and if you catch them,

don't forget to isolate them.

Yes, Doctor.


I won't waste words with you.

Did you help the Kasmits
to run off?

Which route did they take?

Whichever route,

they'll end up at
the Prophet's Kaaba.

Look, you, an epidemic
could be set off in Mecca

like a string of firecrackers.

They must be brought back.

It's the will of Allah that
they bear a child in Mecca.

It's the will of the world
that they don't.

Look, I'm losing my patience.

Which route did they take?

My ears are sealed.

I cannot hear you.

Tell me!
You've got to tell me!

Oh, kindred spirits,
communicate with me

and help me rid afrits
in the form of a man.

Give me a signal.

Where's your vaccination?

Haven't you been vaccinated?


You will seal my death
with the devil's poison.

Take this man to the hospital

and see to it
that he's inoculated.

Get away from me!

I will put you in a curse

that will make you
and your offspring

bloat up like dead fish.

Hear me.

One morning you will find
not just two,

but all of us are vanished.

You will awaken

with nothing but
our mockery in your ears.

Take him away.

Leave me!

Leave me!


Looks all right out there,
doesn't it?

It looks calm enough.

They wouldn't dare
try to sneak out.

They couldn't get by
the police anyway,

not the whole bunch of them,
without any arms.

I imagine not.

Oh, that magician was
just blowing his top.

Four whole days
and nothing's happened.

I don't get it.


Oh, Sheik, hear me.

It is written here their defeat.

Calm yourself, man.

What is written?

Feel, this is government paper!

And read, read what it says!

You know none of us can read here.

What does it say?

It has many words,
but this is what it says.

That at the end
of the two more days,

we will not be permitted

to continue on
to the Prophet's Kaaba

but will be sent back
to our homeland.

Where did you get this?

From the tent there.

There's a radio
and a machine that writes.

Are you sure
that this is what it says?

As sure as it is

that I can communicate
with three spirits,

so it is the truth
what I have told you.

They have deceived us.

With the will of Allah,
now we leave here.

But what of the guards?

They shall only see our tracks

and not those if there is a wind.

Assemble all of
the people together

and take out
the musical instruments.

Musical instruments?

We will throw deceit
back in their faces

which will make theirs
seem pallid.

[drums playing]

[clapping to the music]

How's it going?

As long as
the music keeps playing,

we know they're there.

They'll be there for another
two days, I assure you.

[music and clapping continue]

Carry on.

Change guard.

No, leave that be.

Tents on the outer circle

must be left up for them to see.

[music and clapping continue]

[water splashing]

[music and clapping continue]

Sheik, a signal!

How many times
did it flash altogether?

Four times.

That means six guards remain.

Is everything in readiness?

Yes, sir.

The packages?

On the camel.

That's good.

Fetch me my plain white robe,

for it is appropriate
in performing Allah's will

that I wear what is most humble.

What happened?

Some of the caravan.

I turned and they jumped on me.

Are you sure?

Could it have been
someone from town

who wanted your rifle
or something?

They came from the encampment.

[music continues]

The tents are still up.

They couldn't be trying
to slip out of here.

Go warn your captain and
alarm the guards quick

and bring a machine gun
to my tent.

Yes, sir.


The machine gun, Doctor.

Fire it over the encampment.



[people shouting]

Call the Minister of Health.

Tell him we need troops here
right away.

[on loudspeaker]
Sheik Omar, I'm asking
to let me meet with you.

If you go ahead without
talking with me,

not only will your lives
and our lives be at stake

but thousands of others in Mecca.

Is the bubonic plague

the gift you want to
bring to the Holy City?

All I ask is to talk to you
for ten minutes.

It is a trick.

It is certain he
has called the troops

and wishes to detain us
until they come.

Let's go.

This is the way
they react to reason.

I was right, wasn't I?

Don't stop talking.

Listen, Sheik Omar,
please give me ten minutes.

After that, you can do
anything you want to do,

just give me ten minutes.

Have you called for the troops?

Yes, but you know as well as I do

that they're
a long way out of Cairo.

It'll take them
two hours to get here.

All I want is ten minutes.

Send for the police officer
here first!

If this is a trick
and anything happens to me,

he will be killed instantly!

The police lieutenant
is willing to come.

One more thing!

I bring along my man
to counsel me.

That is agreed provided
I can bring along Dr. Mahmud

to be my counsel.

It is agreed!


When the sand reaches the top,

ten minutes will be exhausted.

Sheik, as doctors
we don't like bloodshed.

I'm sure we can come
to some understanding.

I shall listen to what you say...
I promise no more.

All right, let's begin.

Why do you want to leave
in this manner?

We will not be deprived

of visiting our Prophet's shrine.

I asked you to stay six days.

There are only two more.

And then by your deceit,

we are to be returned
to our homeland.

Who told you that?

It was written on a paper
you were to send out.

What paper?

I found it there.

There was no such paper.

I can read English.

What is black and white
cannot be denied.

This is fantastic.

To a man of another religion,

a pilgrimage to Mecca
may seem unimportant.

On the contrary,
I have the greatest respect

for religious devotion
of any kind.

The Christians themselves

make pilgrimages to Jerusalem
and the Vatican every year.

For basically all religions
are universal

in their belief in one God,
the Holy Prophets,

resurrection of life
and the hereafter.

Because we believe in all this,

we have no doubt

as to the righteousness
of our leaving.

Our work is in the service of God

and to die for him
is to attain Paradise.

But you're thinking
only of yourselves.

I'm afraid
this is getting us nowhere.

[phone rings]

I will take it.

Hello, Dr. Mahmud

Tell the captain
we can't speak to him now.


Hurry up.

I will tell him immediately.

That was the police captain
in Cairo.

They've just found
the Kasmit couple.

The girl had her baby

on a lonely road outside
the city, couldn't go on.

It was dead.

Yes, bubonic plague
caught from the mother.

It is a trick.

They can say anything
on the telephone.

They'll bring the girl back...
let her tell you herself.

By the time she's here,
so will be the troops.

She killed her own baby.

Murder is no worse.

You and your caravan,
if you leave,

will be guilty
of just such a crime,

only multiplied
by your own numbers.

Don't weaken, Sheik,

your people will think
you're afraid of this man.

Stop, stop, stop,
sit down, sit down.

I know what I must do.

Many years ago,
Alexander the Great,

who is spoken of in the Quran,

was faced with a decision
of sending his legions

east to Persia
or returning them home.

He sent three of his pigeons
into the air.

If they flew east,
he would besiege Persia,

or west, back to Macedonia.

Thus will I do.

I will send one of my best
pigeons into the air.

If it flies east,

our caravan will continue
on to Mecca immediately,

if west, we shall abide
by your wishes.

It is done.


All right, bird,
fly with our blessings

and may the direction
you take be the right one.


West![others exclaim]


Unload the camels.

We shall stay two more days.


I'm confounded.

I nearly had a nervous breakdown

through the whole thing

and you're as calm as the Nile.

The Sheik never finished his story

about Alexander the Great.

You see, there was danger
of the leaders rebelling

if Alexander pushed onto Persia.

And he had no other choice

but then to return them home.

However, there was
the problem of saving face

with his generals and his public,

so Alexander let the pigeons
take the responsibility.

They flew west.

They had to.

Alexander had selected them

because they were homing pigeons.


Can you laugh at diamonds
like these?

Well, thereby hangs a tale.


Were you wondering if there
is laughter in Egypt?

By all means.

As you will see,

laughter wells up
in the oddest places.

It was foolish not to bring water.

I'm thirsty.


Listen, Nick, the essence
of our business

are the little details.

We can't forget the essence.

No, I didn't forget the essence.

I had a drink of water

before we left the village,
did you?

I didn't have a drink
of water or anything else.

I was talking to Henry.

Oh, that Henry's a good guy
to stay away from.

Listen, Nick, you should see
the diamonds he's got.

He's got more diamonds
than there are bricks

and as ugly as every
one of those bricks is,

that's how beautiful
the diamonds are.

The light shines
and shimmers through them.

Aw, listen, we're not having
any truck with stolen goods.

But all he requires
is our assistance

to take the material
out of the country.

And for that simple
assistance, we get 50%.

Charlie, we got a deal
and it's a cinch.

There it is over there,
the church.

Forget about your diamonds.

[bell jingles]

[door creaking]

Is the master of the house in?

Uh, is the Father Superior
on the premises?


Seems to me

this establishment
could use a few repairs.

[bells chiming]

Try to look pious.

I can look as pious
as you can any day.



We have little to offer,

but that little you may have.

Thank you, Father.

Yeah, thank you very much, Father.

It is not often
that strangers happen by,

especially from faraway lands.

Oh, but we didn't
just happen by, Father,

this was our specific destination.

Why so?

Oh, we've heard
a lot about your place.

Uh, the traditions of
the Coptic Orthodox Church

have reached our ears

and we feel it's a pity
that so worthy a cause

is not better known
throughout the whole world.


[speaking in Arabic]

The world would be a much
better place to live in

if the people
could have the advantage

of your example and blessing.

My heart burns
with the fire of gratitude

that you feel so.

[speaking in Arabic]

This is the stuff.

Money in the bank.

These come from our own ovens

and are blessed for all of us.

Yes, we've heard a lot
about your holy bread.

As a matter of fact,
that's why we're here.


I did not know holy bread
had such fame.

It's a pity that they don't
and that's our desire.

As my partner...
uh, my compatriot... has said,

we're here because of
your organization.

Now the Coptic Orthodox
Church and its good deeds

must be better known
throughout the entire world.

And we've decided

that we're the ones
who are going to do it.

That fills me with gladness.

Will you come and see our church?

Of course.

Is it not beautiful?

It has been here a long time.

Yes, we know and we're astonished.

Since the year one,
the Coptic Christians

have lived side by side
with the Moslems.

Oh, Father,
your story must be known.

But how, my son?

With your holy bread.

We could sell them to Ethiopia.

Sell our holy bread?

Why not, Father?

The French monks

sold the wine
from their vineyards.

It's simple business.

After all, you can keep the profit

from every bread that we sell.

Sell our holy bread?

We could sell just enough

to cover the cost
of transportation

and enough flour
to make the bread.

Surely, no one would
want to make a profit

out of such an enterprise.

Well, we could make
a little profit.

After all, these folks

want to add to the kitty
for the poor.


Uh, that's just an American
expression meaning charity.

My friend Mr. Nicholas here
is a very charitable man.

It is he.

I never saw her before in my life.

He has come
in answer to my prayers.

Of course we have, my dear.

We have come
in answer to your prayers,

to spread the story of the
Coptic Orthodox Church

throughout the entire world.

Yes, that's it.

Who's in charge of the bakery?

I am and she is my niece.

Well, that's fine.

I wonder how many breads
we can bake every day.

Oh, it doesn't matter.

Whatever it is, we'll
just step up production,

mass production, that's all.

He's come to help us
feed the poor.

Now with every bread that we bake,

why we'll insert the story

of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Tell me, you have any
printing material here?

We have in the village a scribe.

A moment, my children.

To sell our holy bread...

You figure he'll go for it?

It's a pushover.

Well, I figure we'll sell
50,000 in Ethiopia

at a 20-cent minimum profit.

Splitting with our contact man,

that makes five grand for us.

It's not bad,
we're still on the legit.

Listen, is that distributor
really honest over there?

Oh, now look, Nick.

It's the little details
where I shine

and that's one detail
I took care of.

That distributor's honest.

Hmm, talking about little details,

did you check to see
if there's a hotel in town?

Yep, and we're in luck.

There isn't any.

They gotta put us up.

We have decided

and I hope that my
decision will please you.

We are going to send
our holy breads to Ethiopia,

not to sell them
but to give them free.

Oh, that'll ruin everything.

Uh, what he means, Father,

is that if there
isn't any profit, well,

there won't be any charity
for the poor

and we won't be able
to cover the expenses

for the transportation
of the material

or the flour for the bread.

Or to pay for the roof.

True, I'd forgotten the roof.

But anyhow the roof
is not important

but the stomachs
of our poor people are.

[talking quietly]

This time he's sold,

but how do we get the money
from the distributor

to pay for that flour
and the transportation?

Get the pre-signature
on the contract.

Ship it to Ethiopia.

Then our distributor
cables us the dough.

It will be as you say, my sons.

How could it be otherwise
than you say it

since you are helping us?

Now, Father,
it's getting rather late

and we haven't yet made
any arrangements

for lodging at a hotel.

The nearest hotel
is two hours away.

And I am going to make
arrangements with our people

for finding you a room
in this village.

Mary has three rooms.

John has an extra bed.

Mark the musician has one also.

Is not my mother's house
good enough for them?

There's a room for my mother
and me and a room for them.

Of course, my child.

It is settled... come.

Go with Miriam, my sons.

You are in good hands.

Okay, partner, we'll take
your word for it.

Tomorrow with the rise of the sun,

we will make preparations
for our project.

Good day, Father.

Good day.


[rooster crows]

Thank you, my child.

Yeah, thank you, child.

[all cheering]

What's going on?

They're paying you great honor.

The first-born lamb.

For what?

They've heard, Nick,

that you've come
to make work for them,

that the carpenters
will be paid to make crates,

that you'll repair the church.

Hey, stay out of the act, Charlie.

I'm the big shot now.

They figure you're just my stooge.

The fruits of the season.


You know, these are real
nice people, huh, Charlie?

Oh, you got 'em
eating out of your hand.

[man] Salaam Alaykum!


You know, it would be a cinch

to get Henry's diamonds
across Africa.

No, no, no, we're not
doing anything crooked,

at least nothing that's
out and out crooked.

I go up that street there.

You'll stay away from Henry,
won't you?

Going to the cable office to
send a wire to Addis Ababa.

Good, that's fine.

Tell him to send the dough

because we can't get started

until we put the money
on the line.

Okay, I'll tell him.

I'll see you later.

Ah, smells good.




Did you have success
in your endeavors?

Sure did, baby.

Oh, I'm glad.

Already your name
is whispered with gladness

that is used in telling of
the approach of rain clouds

that could end a drought.

Are you hungry?

Oh, I could eat a horse.

Then eat.

Hey, Charlie, soup's on.

How'd it go?


Send for the money?

Sure did.

It better come.

Don't worry, it will.

Well, it just better.

What's eating you?

I got credit.


For the first time
in my life, I got credit.


I said for the first time
in my life, I got credit.

Will you make sense?

What, are you ignorant
or something?

The people of Abu Sefen

feel it's a big honor
to do business with me.

Why, I got credit.

I got the scribe writing for me,

cutting paper for me,
the miller grinding flour.

Why, all this on my say-so.

If you dare get religion on me...

I'm not getting religion.

I just got everything set up
to go in a few days

and I don't want
anything to go wrong.

The money just better
get here, that's all.


Here you go.

Help yourself.

Cut 'em off good.

Get a load of this, Father.

This is the paper
we wrap the holy breads in.

Of course, after you bless them.

This paper tells of the good
deeds of the Coptic Church.

We'll make the Coptic Church
a household word

throughout the world!

[all exclaim]


What are you,
Chief Inspector or something?

Your humor is becoming
more obnoxious

with your advancing age.

Did the money come?

In a word, no.

What's wrong
with that guy in Ethiopia?

Why don't he send the money?

It's probably on its way.

Nothing to worry about.

No, not for you, but for me.

These people are depending on me.

By the way, you've been
acting awful funny

the last few days.

Where you been keeping yourself?

Ooh, I've been communing
with Egypt's nature.

You're not the only one, Nicholas,

who can expand under
the influence of the Nile.

Aw, shut up.

[bell rings]

What's the bell all about?

They're knocking off for lunch.


Beautiful, isn't it?

I got a whole bag full of 'em.

So you had to go

and get involved
with that crook Henry.

We're rich, Nick, we're rich.

We're the big time now.

We don't have to play around

with penny-ante stuff anymore.

Henry took all the risk,
we get half the profit.

Look, Charlie, we're not crooks.

We ain't supposed to take
the chance of going to jail.

We're brain boys, remember?

But it takes brains

to work out a mathematical
certainty such as this.

Einstein himself couldn't
figure out a better formula.

Well, why you putting them
in the dough?

What better medium

for getting them past the customs?

You crumb bun.

You want to get
all these sweet priests

thrown into jail?

Ah, they won't get
thrown in the jail.

Nothing's going to happen to 'em.

I can just see the headlines:

"Priests in a smuggling ring

"running stolen goods
out of Egypt,

diamonds in the dough."

Ah, there's no chance
of discovery.

Why aren't you
ever satisfied, Charlie?

I'll figure it out for you myself.

50,000 breads,
we get a dime profit.

That makes five grand and
we're still honest men.

Yeah, but think of this.

Only 112 holy breads

and each one with a diamond in it.

And we get $50,000.

These diamonds will get over
100 grand and we get half.

And all we got to do is put
each of 112 diamonds

into each of 112 holy breads.

Oh, we can't take a chance
of hurting these people.

They got confidence in us.

You want to help those people?


All right, what do they have
for lunch every day?

Uh, soup.

And for dinner?


And with the haul that we
make out of these diamonds,

we don't have to take any
profit from the holy bread.

We'll give it all to the priests.

And they'll be able to eat meat

twice a day, maybe three times.

Yeah, they might even get
that roof fixed.

Oh, contemplate the poetic
justice of it, Nicholas.

It's almost as if that crook Henry

was donating a new roof
to the church.

[both laugh]

That'd be a great joke
on that crook Henry.

It's a deal then,
you'll do it, huh?

Uh, I don't know.

I still feel as though

it'd be taking advantage
of our friends.

Aw, a fine friend you'd be

if you deprive them of their meat.

And a new roof.

You sure they won't get hurt?

They can only be helped.

Wait a minute, Charlie.

How do we get these diamonds back

after we make the shipment?

I got that all figured out too.

Come on, let's start
stuffing holy breads.


Brother, uh, this shipment
here, all these crates,

don't send out until five days
before Easter, understand?

Yes, I understand.

Just a minute.

That's better.

Just so there won't be
any mistake.

I want you to write a sign
for me in Egyptian.

Write this: "These two crates
not to go out

until five days
before Easter."

So what you write?

What do you think, she's a dummy?

She wrote what you told her
to write.

All right,
I just want to make sure.

I wrote, "This shipment
not to go out

until five days
before Easter."

Thank you very much, my dear.

Goodbye, Nick.

I don't like using her.

Just asked her
to write a few words.

Get the picture, Nicholas.

Those other crates
go out every day.

This shipment, five days
before Easter it goes out

and we go out with it.

We end up in Ethiopia
at the same time.

Well, I got to hand it
to you, Charlie,

you got a lousy character
but a good head.

Just one thing.

When is that money
coming from Ethiopia?

Nobody's been paid around here.

He promised us he'd send
all the dough,

including our share,

as soon as he gets the first
shipment of breads.

Come on, let's go bake breads.


Nick! Nick!


Nick, hurry, Charlie's come!

I got it, Nick, I got it.

A check for the entire sum
including our profit, $5,500.

It's about time.

Miriam, go get the priest.

Our boy in Ethiopia

writes the breads
are going like hotcakes.

He wants us to double the order.

He said that they're going
so well now, come Easter time,

he can sell twice as much
at double the price.

Ah, we're only gonna fill
the order we got.

My sentiments exactly.

We'll bake breads until
five days before Easter,

then off to Ethiopia as planned.

That's an awful big check
to be handing over

to such innocent people.

Listen, you crumb bun,

I still feel bad
about what we've done.

I'm gonna see if it
makes me feel any better

to give them the check.

You wish to speak
with me, Nicholas?

Yes, Father,
the money's finally come

and it's all yours.

Charlie here and me,

we figure you ought to
fix up the church

and stock up on food.

You might even buy a deep freeze.

You're a bunch of nice people

and we feel
you shouldn't have to worry

about cracks in the walls
and the roof.

Might even pay
the workmen out of that.

[priest speaking in Arabic]

Father, what's Miriam
doing over there?

Oh, she's lighting
a candle for you.

She's lighting a candle for me?

Yes, you're her angel.


Look, baby, stop
lighting candles for me.

Why, Nick?

I'm no angel.

Nobody have I ever met
who is as kind as you,

nobody as good,
nobody who wants to do

as much for other people as you.

Look, I'm gonna talk to you
like a Dutch uncle.

You got to learn
the facts of life.

Yes, Nick?

First of all, there are
a lot of guys out there

who seem good on the outside,

but they're really bums
on the inside.

But I do not understand.

Well, you just can't trust
people on appearances.

You got to be careful

they're not
out to steal your wallet.

Wallet? I do not
have a wallet.

Aw, that's just
a figure of speech.

In case if you ever
leave your friends here,

I want you to be able
to take care of yourself.

You know, there are
a lot of guys out there

who are like me on the outside

and they're not so good
on the inside

and they may
take advantage of you.

What you say is very true.

I have heard of such people.

For all you know, I may be one.

No, Nick,
you're too good, too pure.

Father, will you tell Miriam

I'm not as good
as she thinks I am.

How could I tell the child a lie?

Come, Miriam.

You're very funny, Nick.

Well, Nick, that check
we handed over

ought to fix things up real
nicely for your friends.

How do you feel about things now?

Great, I feel just great.

Is it true that Charlie
is going to purchase tickets

for your departure?

You're leaving soon then?


[bells chiming]

Where is everybody?

It's the first time I ever
saw the streets so deserted.

Hey, look, the shops are closed.

Something must be wrong.

That's why the bells
are pounding like that.

Hey, wait a minute.

Not so fast.


[bells continue]


What's going on?

[speaks Arabic]

What'd he say?

What's going on?

[speaking Arabic]

Hey, look,
there's someone we know.

Hey, brother,
what's going on today?

It's Easter.


Oh, they sure believe
in celebrating early.

Yeah, yeah,
that's what it's got to be.

It must be that.

Miriam, Miriam, look,
what's this festival today?

The festival of Easter.


When is Easter?

Don't you feel well, Charlie?

Easter is today.

Hey, what's today?

Easter, brother,
can't you see the festival?

But I was told it was
the 25th of the month!

Father, tell him Easter

isn't until the 25th of the month.

But, my son, it is today.

Look, I got proof.

Easter isn't
until the 25th of April.

No, my son, by our calendar
Easter is today.

You didn't send the shipment

that was supposed to go out

five days before Easter, did you?

Yes, I did.

[bells chiming]



[cymbals clanking]

[chanting continues]

This cable
came for you last night.

[bells chiming]

"Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"Cakes a great success.

"Rumors circulating
that they contain diamonds.

"Great for business, send more.

Prices going up."

And so it is with great sorrow

that the knowledge has come
to us that our friends,

Nicholas and Charles,
will go away from our midst.

They have been
good and loyal friends

and have done so much for us.

And so it is fitting

that we all eat breakfast
with our holy bread

in their honor.

[bells chiming]

[monks chanting]

Tastes like poison to me.

Tastes fine to me.