The Thief of Bagdad

★★★★★ ★★★★★ by 1 User
Alexander Korda's opulent Arabian Nights fantasy (1940) suffers from pallid performances and frequently succumbs to kitsch, but it still casts its fragile spell. The special effects—mostly a matter of matte painting and optical printing—may look quaint in their relative crudeness, but they have a naive enthusiasm and fancy mostly lacking in current techniques. The disjunctive visual style is a consequence of the three-man directorial team—Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan, and Michael Powell, the latter being the only genuine stylist in the lot. With Conrad Veidt, John Justin, June Duprez, and the ineluctable Sabu. 106 min.

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★★★★★ ★★★★★

One of the great fantasy films, on par with "The Wizard of Oz". While the special effects are dated by today's standards, the obvious joy the filmmakers had in its production shines through. The music rivals and surpasses "The Wizard", and many lines are almost poetic. There are numerous quotes that equal the best from "Casablanca", such as: "If there was ever any beauty here, it's vanished, liked camphor"; and "Men are weak. When their stomach speaks, they forget there brain. When their brain speaks, they forget their heart, And when their heart speaks (laughter)- when their heart speaks, they forget everything." And the movies last line is as memorable as "Casablanca's": After being turned into a dog, then back into a boy, becoming the master of a genie, stealing the All-seeing eye from the brow of a goddess, being proclaimed the new prince of the Land of Legend, rescuing both the prince and princess and killing the evil Vizier, Abu, the thief, flies off on his magic carpet, stating he is looking for what he wants: "Some fun, and adventure, at last!" Sit back and join Abu on his quest. You won't regret it.

Posted by Clifford Florowitz on 01/29/2014 at 4:31 PM
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