Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad

3.3 3
Director: Raoul Walsh

Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Snitz Edwards, Julanne Johnston

     
 

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Douglas Fairbanks is at his most graceful and charismatic in one of the classic silent films of the 1920s. As the thief of Baghdad, his movements are dance-like -- nothing like the athletics he performed in most of his other films. In this Arabian take, the thief ignores the holy teachings and sneaks into the palace of the Caliph (Brandon Hurst). All thoughts of

Overview

Douglas Fairbanks is at his most graceful and charismatic in one of the classic silent films of the 1920s. As the thief of Baghdad, his movements are dance-like -- nothing like the athletics he performed in most of his other films. In this Arabian take, the thief ignores the holy teachings and sneaks into the palace of the Caliph (Brandon Hurst). All thoughts of robbery slip away, however, when he sees the beautiful princess (Julanne Johnston). Princes have come from many faraway lands to win the princess' hand (and it's amusing to watch her face growing ever more alarmed at their arrival, because each one is uglier than the last). The thief disguises himself as a prince and the princess falls in love with him. After having a pang of conscience, the thief confesses all to the Holy Man (Charles Belcher), who sends him to find a magic chest. He braves many obstacles to get it, and when he returns he discovers that the Mongol Prince (Sojin) has taken over the city. Using the chest, the reformed thief creates armies of men out of nothingness and recaptures the city. He then uses the cloak of invisibility to spirit the princess away on a magic carpet. Fairbanks stole some of the special effects for his film from Fritz Lang's Der Müde Tod, which he had purchased for American distribution. The Thief of Baghdad, with its look of unrealistic beauty (courtesy of art director William Cameron Menzies), was not fully appreciated in its day. Because of its huge cost (two million dollars -- a real fortune in those days), it made little money. After that, Fairbanks stuck closer to the swashbuckling persona he felt his audience wanted. Available now on DVD, the remastered film features a new score by Carl Davis.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The Thief of Baghdad owes its greatness largely to the production design of art director William Cameron Menzies and the meticulous attention to detail demanded by writer, producer, and star Douglas Fairbanks. With a budget of around two million dollars, it was among the most expensive films of the 1920s. Using state-of-the-art special effects, it is a visual feast with flying horses, magic carpets, and exquisite sets, supporting the entertaining story of a charming rogue who undertakes great quests to win the favors of a beautiful princess (Julanne Johnston). The film is also notable for the supporting performance of the exotic Anna May Wong. Director Raoul Walsh capably handles the action-oriented story, though it is Fairbanks and Menzies who most shape the film. 155 minutes long, the film was a box-office failure in 1924, but in later years it has become one of the most popular silent films.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/18/2003
UPC:
0089218412997
Original Release:
1924
Rating:
NR
Source:
Alpha Video
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[silent]
Time:
2:28:00
Sales rank:
15,060

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Douglas Fairbanks The Thief of Bagdad
Snitz Edwards His Evil Associate
Julanne Johnston The Princess
Anna May Wong The Mongol Slave
Charles Belcher The Holy Man
Winter Blossom The Slave of the Lute
Sojin The Mongol Prince
Etta Lee The Slave of the Sand Board
Brandon Hurst The Caliph
Tote Du Crow The Soothsayer
K. Nambu His Counselor
Noble Johnson The Indian Prince
Charles Stevens His Awaker
Sam Baker The Sworder
Jesse Weldon Eunuch
Scott Mattraw Eunuch
Charles Sylvester Eunuch
Sadakichi-Hartmann His Couil Magician
Jesse Fuller Actor
Mathilde Comont The Persian Prince

Technical Credits
Raoul Walsh Director
Carl Davis Score Composer
Arthur Edeson Cinematographer
Douglas Fairbanks Original Story,Producer,Screenwriter
Anton Grot Set Decoration/Design
Mitchell Leisen Costumes/Costume Designer
William Cameron Menzies Production Designer
William Nolan Editor
Theodore Reed Producer
Elton Thomas Original Story
Mortimer Wilson Score Composer
Lotta Woods Screenwriter
Paul Youngblood Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [20:56]
2. Chapter 2 [26:33]
3. Chapter 3 [24:10]
4. Chapter 4 [23:51]
5. Chapter 5 [24:41]
6. Chapter 6 [27:33]

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3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The remastered DVD by Kino Video DOES NOT have the Carl Davis score. Instead, music is performed by the Mt. Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. The Carl Davis music is incorrectly listed in several internet descriptions of this special edition DVD (2004). I prefer the Carl Davis version. As of today, Jan 2005, there is no DVD version with the Carl Davis score.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was first at most things whe movie goers take for granted. "Thief.." used stop photography, a reapeating back drop for the flying horse sequence, and a flying carpet that used a steel wire under each corner that could hold one ton per wire! A lot of "gimmicks" not used until the 1950's! And have since gone by the wayside. Black and white of the silver screen give, I think a deapth of realism to what we are viewing and I think an unvarnished honesty to the story.Within a few short years of the completion of this film the Depression set in and those who could afford to see a film did not want to see such a fanciful film. "thief.." is my favorite silent film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think never heard of 1924 version before because I has 1978 version and borrowed 3 days of the library in Vernon, CT called "The Thief of Baghdad" a 1981 Video Gems edition and out of print. A tale about the magic carpet, the arabian nights, and one man has a thief of baghdad. Just like in the movie, Aladdin and The Thief and the Cobbler, Good pick from the movie about Handsome Prince Taj and the evil Jaudur are rivals for the hand of a beautiful princess. Her father set a formidable task for the suitors: to bring back "the most valuable thing in the world" for his daughter. Accompanied by a rogue known as " the thief of Baghdad," Taj sets out to bring back the magnificent All Seeing Eye, aided by a grateful genie whom Taj frees from his bottle.