HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Thief of Bagdad, The Middle Eastern Mysticism
Year: 1940
Director: Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Sabu Dastagir, June Duprez, John Justin, Rex Ingram, Miles Malleson, Morton Selten, Mary Morris, Bruce Winston, Hay Petrie, Adelaide Hall, Roy Emerton, Allan Jeayes
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), the Grand Vizier turned ruler of the kingdom, returns from a sea journey asking for word of the Princess (June Duprez) he keeps imprisoned in his palace. She is in a trance, and has not woken yet, pining for the presence of the former King, Ahmed (John Justin), but where is he? Jaffar has ordered his men to find a certain blind man and his dog, and they track him down within the city, where he is making his living as a beggar; when Jaffar's procession rides by, he is noticed and escorted to the palace. There he must wait to be with his beloved Princess, and as he waits he tells her handmaidens of how he came to be brought so low. He used to be the King of Bagdad, but the scheming Jaffar tricked him into leaving the safety of his palace to be amongst his people, and when he realised that they did not need to be held under the iron will of his Vizier, it was too late: he was imprisoned as an imposter on trying to re-enter his home. Yet there was one fellow who could help him: a humble but resourceful thief, Abu (Sabu Dastagir)...

Often hailed as one of, if not the, greatest fantasy adventures, The Thief of Bagdad was certainly the greatest fantasy of the Golden Age, although it was almost not finished at all. A production of the legendary mogul of British film Alexander Korda, it travelled through the hands of six directors (three are credited) and, as it took two years to finish, the whole caboodle even had to be moved to Hollywood to be completed as there was the small matter of a war in Europe holding everything up. And even after all that, the meddling Korda was not satisfied with the result, although you may well be. It was scripted by actor Miles Malleson, who also appears as the Princess's Sultan father, from a scenario from Lajos BirĂ³, bringing to magical life the popular Arabian Nights folk tale with boundless imagination.

The breadth of ambition is still impressive today, even if some of the special effects work now seems obvious, yet the emotions and high spirits keep the whole thing afloat. A lot of this is down to the actors, who play their characters with true conviction with not one of them seeming out of place. Perhaps the most fascinating of them is Veidt's Jaffar, who has the powers of the elements at his command, but is all too fallible because of his love for the Princess. He adores her just as much as Ahmad does, though this love is not reciprocated as he is essentially evil and the Princess is pure of heart, so what gives the hero and heroine their strength is the very thing that proves Jaffar's downfall. That said, although Veidt dominates the screen, he has a rival in the charisma stakes in Sabu's Abu; Sabu was a natural, always instantly likeable, and his ingenuity is well presented here as the roguish but curiously innocent thief of the title.

When the film starts, Abu has been transformed into a dog and Ahmad has been blinded, all until Jaffar holds the Princess in his arms. Every scene conjures up a new marvel, whether it's the infantile Sultan's collection of toys which will be his undoing, the flying, clockwork horse that persuades him to turn the Princess over to Jaffar, or the Djinn, electrifyingly played by Rex Ingram. The canine Abu has been thrown overboard into the sea by Jaffar, and after he wakes up on a sea shore he is back in human form - yes, it looks like Princess is being forced to relent. Abu finds a bottle on the beach, and when he opens it out pops the gigantic Djinn from his prison of two thousand years: handy for the wily thief, as after a spot of negative psychology he manages to wrest three wishes from him in return for his eventual freedom. What follows includes a giant spider, a flying carpet and the appropriation of an All-Seeing Eye, leading up to a satisfying conclusion. Breathlessly rendered, opulently designed and with some wonderful dialogue, The Thief of Bagdad was best served in this version, a true classic. Music by Miklos Rozsa.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4164 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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: