On a Saudi King’s royal visit to the cinema

Turki Aldakhil

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On May 11, 1939, then-Saudi King Abdulaziz and his sons visited Bahrain, where they were welcomed by a people well-known for their generosity, kindness and high morals. Bahrain’s then-ruler the late Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifa (the first) honored and celebrated his visitors.

In his book “Gulf Time,” journalist Khaled al-Bassam wrote about media coverage of the visit.

Media coverage

He cited a news piece by Al-Bahrain daily, which wrote: “In an act to further welcome his highness the Saudi king and his sons, his highness the ruler of Bahrain instructed the management of the Bahrain theater to book Saturday night’s shows to the royal group and ordered it not to sell any tickets. His highness King Abdulaziz went to the theater with his sons... and the accompanying delegation. Sheikh Hamad was also present, and they all watched the Egyptian movie The Fugitive.”

Bassam wrote: “The Fugitive was an Egyptian movie produced in 1936. It is about two men who escape the military and live in the mountains for a while. One of them dies, while the other gets to live happily with his beloved, whom he later marries.”

Bassam went on saying: “The visit marked a significant occasion for the cinema, and increased its popularity as it granted it a lot of legitimacy and ended whatever opposition was still present against it on the religious and social levels.”

This article was first published by Okaz on Mar. 31, 2016.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

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