The output of this preeminent Egyptian filmmaker is in striking contrast to the light musicals which dominate his national industry. From an early age, Youssef Chahine had been enthralled by performing. His father had hoped to secure Chahine's success by sending him to a Catholic primary school and later boarding school in England. At his family's insistence, he enrolled at Alexandria University as an engineering major but eventually persuaded his family to allow him to pursue an acting career. In the mid-1940s, Chahine attended the Pasadena Playhouse where he was befriended by Robert Preston and Victor Jory. When he graduated in 1948, he returned to his homeland and apprenticed with the Italian documentarian Gianni Verniccio.