HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
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
   
 
  Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves I Just Met A Girl Called Maria
Year: 1944
Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Turhan Bey, Andy Devine, Kurt Katch, Frank Puglia, Fortunio Bonanova, Moroni Olsen, Ramsay Ames, Chris-Pin Martin, Scotty Beckett, Yvette Duguay, Noel Cravat, Jimmy Conlin, Harry Cording, Angelo Rossitto
Genre: Romance, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: When the Mongol army, led by Hulagu Khan (Kurt Katch), invaded Baghdad they proved themselves ruthless conquerors, with their leader proclaiming that if the Caliph (Moroni Olsen) was not handed over to him then a thousand citizens would be put to death each day until he was. The Caliph recognised the gravity of the situation, but would not give up as his right hand man Prince Kassim (Frank Puglia) wished him to do. Yet Kassim had plans of his own, and his concerns hid a scheming nature as he gave away the location of the Caliph. However, there was one survivor of that ensuing attack: the deposed ruler's son, Ali...

By the time Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was released, its stars had been set in their place in Hollywood's firmament; not because they were terrific actors, but because Jon Hall and Maria Montez embodied the escapist fare that nations suffering the war were just in the mood for. There are nods to the world conflict here, but not so much that they were in your face - Kassim's wish for appeasement would not have gone down well in this decade, and so it is that he is revealed as a traitor early on. In addition, the drive to rid the land of vicious invaders would have appealed to many of those forced from their homes or living under the yoke of repression due to the war.

But mainly, Hall and Montez were there for the ladies left behind while their men went fighting to swoon over a perfect romance that could see its way through major upheavals and remain solid and respectful, as well as passionate within the bounds of the production code of censors. Not for nothing does Hall's Prince Ali interrupt Montez's Princess Amara twice while she is bathing, and likes what he sees: if this was racier than what movies set in contemporary times could get away with, we were never any doubt that as an exotic nobleman Hall's character's intentions were forever honorable. But this is meant to be based around the old Arabian Nights tale of Ali Baba, so how did that work out for them?

It appeared that the best way they found to adapt the material was to forget most of it and invent a fresh plot which could show off the stars in the formula that had done them so proud in earlier efforts such as, well, such as Arabian Nights, which had set the duo onto their path to stardom. Sadly, once the war was over new stars swiftly emerged to take their place and they both ended up in lower profile movies, with Montez dying tragically young at just 31 around five years after her biggest successes. Even Turhan Bey, who unlike his co-stars could claim authentic Middle Eastern roots, found his services not wanted after these fantasies fell out of fashion, in spite of being every bit the matinee idol that Hall had been.

The reason these films endure today is twofold: first, for nostalgists appreciating the sincerity of the approach, with nary a nod nor a wink to tell us that this should not be taken less than seriously, and also for lovers of camp, who appreciate them for the same reason, but with a sense of irony. There certainly wasn't much intentionally humorous about this one, with only Andy Devine, as one of the thieves, providing anything resembling comic relief. The Forty Thieves are the good guys in this incarnation, having brought up Ali and carrying out raids on the Mongols, although while they like to belt out a rousing song while on the hoof, they do somewhat disappointingly consist of a bunch of hairy old blokes, presumably not to take away from the dashing good looks of Hall and Bey (who plays Amara's manservant). As for Maria, nobody could have mistaken her for a great actress, but there was something about her glamorous artficiality that was ideal for a film that had only passing connection with the troubles of the real world, and her fans wouldn't have had it any other way. Music by Edward Ward.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4214 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
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: