The Thief of BagdadDirector: Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan Sr.
Cast: Conrad Veidt
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The credited line-up of six directors-Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, Zoltan Korda, William Cameron Menzies and Alexander Korda-should be indication enough that the 1940 The Thief of Baghdad is no ordinary sword and sandal romp. This Technicolor Arabian Nights extravaganza is widely regarded as one of the best (if not the best) fantasy films of the pre-computer technology era. The title character, named Abu (and engagingly played by Sabu), befriends a ragged young man named Ahmed (John Justin), who happens to be the rightful prince of Baghdad. The prince has been usurped by his evil vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), who hopes to expand his power by marrying the breathtakingly lovely princess of Basra (June Duprez). To win the princess' hand, Jaffar keeps the childlike King (Miles Malleson, who cowrote the screenplay with Lajos Biro) preoccupied with mechanical toys. Once the king has promised the princess' hand to Jaffar, he is disposed of by one of those very toys, a multi-armed doll. The prince and Abu try to stop Jaffar, only to be thwarted by the vizier's magical powers: the prince is struck blind, while Abu is transformed into a dog. It wouldn't do for the bad guy to win this early in the game, thus Abu, returned to human form, finds himself on a deserted beach. Stumbling across an odd-looking bottle, Abu inadvertently releases the bottle's occupant: a gigantic, bombastic genie (Rex Ingram). The genie intends to crush Abu to death, but the wily thief tricks him back into the bottle. In exchange for his freedom, the genie agrees to grant Abu three wishes....and at this point, the film really begins to percolate, what with that "All Seeing Eye" gem, golden arrow and magic carpet added to the formula. If elements of The Thief of Baghdad sound familiar, it is because the film was used as the model for the 1992 Disney animated feature Aladdin. Even allowing for the much-improved technical wherewithal at Disney's disposal, nothing has dimmed the lustre of the multi-Oscar-winning The Thief of Baghdad, the sort of film that invariably elicits the reaction "They just don't make 'em like that any more!"
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- [Dolby Digital Mono]
Cast & Crew
|John Justin||Prince Achmad|
|Miles Malleson||Old Sultan|
|Morton Selten||Old King|
|Frederick Burtwell||Unnamed Character|
|Glynis Johns||Unnamed Character|
|Norman Pierce||Unnamed Character|
|John Salew||Unnamed Character|
|John Armstrong||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Osmond H. Borradaile||Cinematographer|
|Lawrence W. Butler||Special Effects|
|Jack Clayton||Asst. Director|
|David B. Cunyngehame||Production Manager|
|William W. Hornbeck||Editor|
|Tom Howard||Special Effects|
|Vincent Korda||Production Designer|
|Robert Krasker||Camera Operator|
|Muir Mathieson||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|William Cameron Menzies||Associate Producer,Asst. Director|
|Oliver Messel||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|John Mills||Special Effects|
|Miklós Rózsa||Score Composer|
|Marcel Vertes||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|A.W. Watkins||Sound/Sound Designer|
1. Main Title/Alms
2. A Blind Man's Tale
3. An Evil Advisor
4. The Key to Freedom
5. Scamming the Market
6. Royal Arrival
7. True Love Found
8. The Sultan's Horse Trader
9. Jaffar's Curse
10. "This Is No Dream"
11. Lost and Found
13. "The Silver Maid"
14. Genie in a Bottle
15. Sparring With a Spider
16. "The All-Seeing Eye"
17. A Rose of Forgetfulness
18. Fighting for His Love
19. "Welcome, Little Prince"
20. Abu Saves the Day
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is a wonderful movie -- great storytelling, great special effects -- when you see the magical horse and the stuck in the Grand Canyon sequences you'll know what I mean. Plus the actors are all unique and wonderful. Conrad Veidt as the evil Jafar. Sabu the delightful thief in the bazar who helps the king in disquise. The princess' sweet but dim father. The very intimidating genie, plus the beautiful princess and the heroic king. This is not your white bread, run of the mill, off the assembly line modern SFX by the numbers movie. It's fun and surprising. I hope you try it.
A princess, 2 heros, a lustful sorcerer,a flying carpet and yes, even a genie. This is great family movie and enjoyable for all ages. If you like the movie "Aladdin", "The Thief of Bagdad" is sure to please.
My father introduced me to this movie as a very young child and it remains to this day one of the most fascinating movies I've ever seen. Rex Ingram as the genie steals the show but don't get it twisted. Every character in this movie gives an exceptional performance and Conrad Veidt as the evil sorcerer "Jaffar" is one of the greatest movie villains of all time (Darth Vadar) included. While the special effects are primitive by today's standard, somehow the magic and fantasy still comes through within the context of the movie. I've tried telling my kids about this movie as they watched Aladdin years ago, but it went over their heads. Sometimes I wish someone would remake this movie but then again, with all the over-the-top, over-budgeted and overly-hyped, so-called blockbuster movies today, perhaps it's best to leave it just the way it is. A simple but fantastic love story, wrapped around magic and wonder for those old enough to appreciate such things.
This movie is one of the most enjoyable movies of all time (the 1940 version). When will it be out on a DVD? That's what I'm waiting for.