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 (Julianne 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 (So-Jin) 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 Mude Tod, which he had purchased for American distribution. 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 ($2 million -- 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 re-mastered film features a new score by Carl Davis.
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.
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.
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.