Pseudo-historical work about the life and times of Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey from 1876 to 1909. As any Armenian patriot with a knowledge of his people's history can tell you, long before the genocide of 1915 - 1916, Armenians (and others) suffered greatly under the rule of this despot. Extremely paranoid, Abdul Hamid lived in terror for his life and his subjects lived in terror for theirs. It's been said, he never slept two nights in a row in the same room, so great was his fear of assassination. His secret police were so numerous and effective, they could've taught the Czar's Okhrana how to be more terrifying. In 1909, there finally was a revolt, led by the Young Turks, and Abdul ended up a prisoner confined to the royal palace, where he stayed until his death in 1918.
The film's portrayal of the cruel, scheming and fearful monarch is quite good, though a great deal of seriousness is lost thanks to hammy, cliched heroics. Apparently, massacres, intrigue, murder and rebellion weren't enough for the filmmakers, who felt it necessary to add a glamorous plot concerning the Sultan having the hots for a Viennese actress. Abdul wants the woman so badly and thus threatens her lover, trying to compel her to join his harem. Alas, according to the film, it was this that brought the ruler of the Ottoman Empire to his knees and not civil rebellion. At least, that's the impression one gets, since this romantic sub-plot is put on equal footing as the revolt, which overthrew the Sultan.
DVD-R is in English with no subtitles. Approx. 104 mins.