HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Unseen, The
Tonight She Comes
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agn├Ęs: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Bagdad Arabian RightsBuy this film here.
Year: 1949
Director: Charles Lamont
Stars: Maureen O'Hara, Paul Hubschmid, Vincent Price, John Sutton, Jeff Corey, Frank Puglia, David Wolfe, Fritz Lieber, Otto Waldis, Leon Balasco, Anne P. Kramer
Genre: Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Educated in England, beautiful Princess Marjan (Maureen O'Hara) returns to Bagdad only to learn her father was treacherously murdered by renegades known as the Black Robes, seemingly on the orders of handsome Prince Hassan (Paul Hubschmid). To that end Princess Marjan enters into an uneasy alliance with smarmy Pasha Ali Nadim (Vincent Price), to whom she promises her hand in marriage if he hands Hassan to her tribe. However, Hassan knows the real culprit is his evil brother Raizul (John Sutton) and so endeavours to convince Princess Marjan to help him bring the real villains to justice.

Hollywood had a brief love affair with the Middle East in the Forties when real life playboy princes toured Tinseltown and enjoyed amorous liaisons with several celebrated screen goddesses. Bagdad cites a certain Mahmoud Sheik Ali in its title credits as "technical advisor" though for all his alleged input this is no more plausible a depiction of the region than any storybook yarn. Although absurdly romanticized to modern eyes this exotic adventure has its share of charms including an endearingly florid script by Robert Hardy Andrews, adapted from a story by Tamara Hovey, where everyone talks like they are reciting passages from "The Rubaiyat" by poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam.

For all its improbably glamorous Technicolor gloss the film at least takes a fairly respectful view of Arabic culture, albeit the more western-friendly, secular side of Arabic culture. Early on Princess Marjan laughs off her manservant's dismay that she wears no veil and thereafter repeatedly puts belligerent old men in their place whenever they question her leadership. Given that the handsome and affable Hassan is also the product of a European education (the script mentions a stint in Vienna to excuse Swiss born star Paul Hubschmid's accent), the implied message is that for the Middle East to endure it must adopt the "progressive" ideals of the west. The film opens with silky-voiced narration from the great Vincent Price that describes ancient city of Bagdad as the "crossroads between civilized west and barbaric east" although, sadly, it is his later remark that despite all prayers for seven centuries it has seen no peace that rings truest.

The film forgoes Arabian Nights style fantasy for an earthier sort of escapism. Although no less fanciful it delves into politics, blood feuds and lingering feelings of injustice among the Bedouin people against the Turkish empire as the source of a convoluted plot. Frankly, one ends up longing for a zesty, unpretentious swashbuckler since the film is exceedingly talky and the action too slackly paced by veteran Charles Lamont to sweep viewers up in all this exotic intrigue. Nonetheless, Bagdad still offers the usual pleasures associated with the genre, namely some amazing production design, extravagant costumes, beautiful scantily clad dancing girls and several musical numbers wherein Maureen O'Hara mimes to some operatic songs. Ravishing red-head O'Hara is in no way physically convincing as a Bedouin princess but proves a winningly gutsy, smart and formidable heroine anyway. Compared with her other Technicolor adventure romps and her more celebrated collaborations with John Ford, Bagdad is one of her cornier vehicles but, trooper that she is, O'Hara gives her all. Her sultry song-and-dance number before a bunch of awestruck brigands is a definite highlight. Leading man Paul Hubschmid is a suitably dashing and charismatic hero. He went on to star in Fritz Lang's more accomplished two-part exotic adventure The Indian Tomb and The Tiger of Eschnapour (1959).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 812 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Jennifer Thomas
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: