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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Ad for the Movie El Dahya (The Victims)
January 3, 1935


Translated by Priscilla Adum





We know that the very first belly dancer to ever appear in an Egyptian film was Bamba Kashar in the 1926 silent movie Leila. But, which other dancers performed in films in those early days of Egyptian cinema?

It's difficult to say how many of those early films contained belly dance performances because some of the films, including this one, have been lost forever, with no known copies of them remaining. However, a large number of advertisements promoting early movies have survived, and they can offer us a glimpse into the past. One of those flyers promotes a 1935 film called El Dahya (The Victims) which featured performances by Houriya Mohamed, who was a very famous dancer at the time.

El Dahya was also the first film appearance for Leila Murad, who was 15 years old at the time. It had originally been released as a silent movie in 1932, and then re-released as a talkie in 1935. In this remake, she performed the song "Youm al-Safa" (يوم الصفا), which many attribute to the composer Mohamed el-Qasabgi. After this, she went on to enjoy a successful career in Egyptian cinema.

There was more than one advertisement promoting El Dahya. One is to the right, another appears below with its translation.




One of the Advertisements in Arabic

The Singing and Talking Film

The Victims

Premiering in Cairo starting January 3, 1935

And in Alexandria at Cinema Isis beginning on January 5, 1935

Performance By

The Shining Star Bahega Hafez

Also starring 

Zaki Rostum, 3atallah, El Naboulsi

The songs in the film are performed by the famous artists:

Miss Layla Mourad and El Oustaz Ahmed Abdel Kadir

And Wonderful Dancing by

Miss Houriya Mohamed

During the Days of Eid El Fatr there will be 4 performances:
  • The first at 10:00 am.
  • The second at 3:15 pm
  • The Third at 6:30 pm
  • and the Fourth at 9:30 pm

You Must See This Egyptian Cinematic Masterpiece

So Reserve Your Seats In Advance!

Identification of the Photos

The pictures don't have captions but the artists are easily identifiable. They are:

  • Left Circle: Houriya Mohamed
  • Right Circle: Bahega Hafez
  • Right Bottom Square: Layla Mourad
  • Left Bottom Oval: Ahmed Abdel Kadir

The Victims



Additional Notes

The photo to the right shows another advertisement for El Dahya. Houriya is shown in the center doing the splits.

On imdb, the cast members' names are spelled as follows:

Bahega Hafez Bahidja Hafez
Houriya Mohamed Hourriya Mohamed
Layla Mourad Laila Mourad
Ahmed Abdel Kadir  
Zaki Rostum Zaki Rostom
3atallah Michel Atallah
El Naboulsi Abdul Salam al Nabulsi

"El Oustaz" is an honorific similar to "Sir" or "Mr."

Advertisement for El Dahya



One of the Advertisements in French

The photo at the right shows another advertisement for El Dahya, this one in French. It says:



Behidja Hafez



The Victims

Les Victimes Advertisement



Related Articles



About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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