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The Sheik Steps Out

The Sheik Steps Out(1937)

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Powerful Sheik Ahmed Ben Nesib reads with interest a newspaper article detailing the arrival of spoiled American heiress Phyllis "Flip" Murdock in Arabia. The article states that Flip has wagered her fiancé, Lord Eustace Byington, that she will marry him only if her horse loses in a race against his, and consequently, Flip is searching for a racehorse. Amused by the notion of such an independent woman, Ahmed does not take offense at an imperious summons from Flip and her unassertive father Samuel to appear at their hotel to discuss his renowned herd of horses. Ahmed's valet, Munson, and his friend, Abu Saal, are outraged at this affront, however, for Ahmed is akin to royalty in his country. When Ahmed goes to the hotel, he is mistaken for a bellboy by the Murdocks. Ahmed is both charmed and insulted by Flip's arrogant manner, her misconceptions about the Arab people and her insistence that money can buy her whatever she wants. Ahmed plots with Abu to impersonate the guide Allusa Ali and pretend to lead the Murdocks and their traveling companions, Samuel's flighty sister, Polly Parker, and her mean-spirited daughter Gloria, to the sheik. They leave the next day for their journey through the desert, and Gloria tries to fight her growing attraction to Ahmed, whom she maintains is different from other Arabs. As Ahmed has pre-arranged with Abu, Abu and Ahmed's men pretend to be bandits and sweep down upon the travelers. While the rest of the family "escapes," but is in reality let go and discreetly escorted back to the safety of the hotel, Ahmed "rescues" Flip. She is less than pleased to be alone with Ahmed, however, and when she attempts to walk to the hotel on her own, she winds up in Abu's "bandit camp." There, Abu and the men menace her, and Ahmed convinces her that the only way they will leave her alone is if they believe she is married to him. She agrees to go through a traditional Arab wedding ceremony, and is soon married to Ahmed, although she believes the ceremony is merely pretend. Later that night, she becomes frightened that Ahmed will try to consummate their marriage and flees and finds her way back to the hotel, where her stuffy fiancé awaits her. The real Allusa finds the Americans and informs them that their guide was actually the sheik. Angered by the ruse, the Murdocks leave the hotel. Ahmed arrives at the hotel and, discouraged that Flip has left him, returns to his camp. Later, Flip is in Paris and is preparing to marry Eustace. Samuel realizes that she is in love with Ahmed, but she insists on going through with the ceremony. Father and daughter cry as they walk down the aisle, but Ahmed protests during the ceremony and proves that Flip is his legal wife. He explains to the Murdocks that he is actually a wealthy Spanish count who inherited the Arab sheikdom from his foster father. Content that Flip has found a suitable husband, Samuel insists that they have a proper ceremony, but the happy couple are too busy kissing to pay attention to him.