The Island of the Arabs
Aramco Expats | Tim Barger | 8.28.12
So in 1954 when Aramco’s New York office decided to produce a feature film about Saudi Arabia and the company’s role in the kingdom, they chose Dick Lyford to direct it. The film called Island of the Arabs begins with the early geologists landing in Jubail and then exploring in the desert. While sitting around the campfire an old Bedouin tells the story of the twenty-three year old Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Saud’s daring raid on Riyadh in 1902 and his rise to power, which provides the most dramatic sequence in an otherwise fairly listless movie.
For some reason, likely economic, the decision was made to cast the film with Aramco employees and so it came to pass that thirty-three year old John R. Jones of Government Relations was chosen to portray the young Ibn Saud. He was apparently selected because he was lean and tall enough – Abdul Aziz was six foot, three inches, and he knew how to ride a horse. I’d add that John was, and is, a handsome fellow as a leading man should be.