Well, I don't usually say this, but I agree with review karen kullers, who really pans this film--it really isn't a good picture at all. It should have been, though, with Colman as a beggar pretending to be a prince, Dietrich as a harem lady, and Edward Arnold as the wily villain.
You can also tell it was an expensive movie, with costly sets and costumes, but it is ineptly directed and negligently cast in its supporting roles. Colman makes repeated statements about the magnificence of his daughter, and the shame is that his boasts would be completely unfounded. The daughter is played by the same actress who appears in "Casablanca" as the young wife that Claude Rains almost seduces in exchange for transporting her and her husband to safety. She is really not much to write home about. A sweet-looking girl in some shots, but without any star appeal at all. She struck me as the REALLY poor man's Linda Darnell. And the caliph, her lover who disguises himself as a gardener's son, has no bearing and no talent to boot. He isn't even handsome.
Ronald Colman has long stretches where he doesn't encounter the other two talented stars, but must instead interact with the bad supporting cast. This strain is too much to be borne. Marlene Dietrich turns in possibly the worst performance of her career. And as for the gold paint on her legs, I thought that missed by about a mile. Her legs looked heavy and dirty consequently--and the choreography looked like it was for a WPA mural. Only Edward Arnold made out okay (he even looked slimmer, thanks to the unusual tailoring), but the final climactic grappling with Colman drew hoots from me and the other watchers, one of whom remarked that it looked like two fathers-in-law fighting at a wedding reception. Very undignified and unconvincing.
Perhaps my brother said it best: "TutorGal, this ought to teach you--there are no forgotten masterpieces."