The Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad

Director: Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan Sr. Cast: Conrad Veidt
4.7 4

DVD (Wide Screen / Restored)

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The Thief of Bagdad

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, such as a winged horse and a six-armed dancer, which disposes of the King after he tells his daughter she needn't marry Jaffar. 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!"

Product Details

Release Date: 05/27/2008
UPC: 0715515029926
Original Release: 1940
Rating: NR
Source: Criterion
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Time: 1:46:00
Sales rank: 15,474

Special Features

New digital transfer; Two audio commentaries; Optional music and effects track; Theatrical trailer; Visual effects documentary; The lion has wings; Excerpts from the codirector Michael Powell's audio dictation for his autobiography; Excerpts from a 1976 radio interview with compsoer Miklós Rózsa; Still Gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Conrad Veidt Jaffar
Sabu Abu
June Duprez Princess
John Justin Prince Achmad
Rex Ingram Djinni
Miles Malleson Old Sultan
Morton Selten Old King
Mary Morris Halima
Bruce Winston Merchant
Hay Petrie Astrologer
Adelaide Hall Singer
Roy Emerton Jailer
Allan Jeayes Storyteller
Miki Hood Actor
Michael Powell Actor
David Sharpe Actor
Tim Whelan Actor
Frederick Burtwell Unnamed Character
Glynis Johns Unnamed Character
Norman Pierce Unnamed Character
John Salew Unnamed Character

Technical Credits
Ludwig Berger Director
Michael Powell Director
Tim Whelan Director
John Armstrong Costumes/Costume Designer
Lajos Biro Screenwriter
Osmond H. Borradaile Cinematographer
Lawrence W. Butler Special Effects
Jack Clayton Asst. Director
Charles Crichton Editor
David B. Cunyngehame Production Manager
William W. Hornbeck Editor
Tom Howard Special Effects
Alexander Korda Producer
Vincent Korda Production Designer
Zoltan Korda Producer
Robert Krasker Camera Operator
Miles Malleson Screenwriter
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
William Cameron Menzies Associate Producer,Asst. Director
Oliver Messel Costumes/Costume Designer
John Mills Special Effects
Georges Périnal Cinematographer
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
Marcel Vertes Costumes/Costume Designer
A.W. Watkins Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Thief of Bagdad
1. Opening Credits [1:51]
2. The Princess and the Blind Man [6:18]
3. "There Was Once a King" [8:31]
4. Abu the Thief [6:06]
5. Basra [6:35]
6. Djinni of the Pool [6:36]
7. Jaffar's Visit [7:39]
8. The Curse [6:23]
9. Winds of Heaven [10:56]
10. Place of Desolation [:57]
11. "Free!" [3:53]
12. "The All-Seeing Eye" [6:34]
13. Last Wish [13:25]
14. The Land of Legend [7:59]
15. The Arrow of Justice [7:19]
1. Color Bars [5:17]

Customer Reviews

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The Thief of Bagdad 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Nursing_Student89 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.