Perhaps the most splendid fantasy film ever made. Alexander Korda produced, Michael Powell and five others directed this breathtaking attempt to capture The Arabian Nights on film. An early example of outstanding Technicolor work, this became a cult favorite among young Hollywood directors
of the 1970s such as Francis Coppola and George Lucas. The special effects, though quaint by today's standards, still deliver the goods. This lively collection of incidents from the Arabian Nights fables makes most modern fantasy blockbusters look anemic in comparison.
Abu (Sabu), a charming street urchin, is thrown into a Bagdad dungeon for thievery. Before long, Prince Ahmad (John Justin), the deposed ruler of the realm, joins him there. Ahmad has been overthrown by his righthand man, the evil grand vizier, Jaffar (Conrad Veidt). The unlikely duo manage to
escape and flee to exotic Basra, where Ahmad is smitten by Basra's princess (June Duprez). Learning that Jaffar is about to abduct the beauty, Ahmad and Abu try to thwart the plan, but the wicked magician turns them into a blind beggar and a dog respectively. When the princess promises to wed
Jaffar, he revokes his curse, and sails back to Bagdad with her. All seems lost until Abu--after a series of adventures involving a genie, an "All-Seeing Eye," and a magic carpet--finds a way to save the day.
Although six directors worked on the film, it remains surprisingly seamless as it maintains such a consistent grandeur and even pace. The marvelous set designs by Vincent Korda seem truly out of this world, and Miklos Rozsa has created a dynamic and memorable score. Conrad Veidt, looking cool and
cruel in his dashing black outfits, is one of the screen's great villains. Sabu is simply adorable as the little thief of Bagdad. Duprez's unusual but stunning beauty is only enhanced by the rich Technicolor and the handsome Justin looks just right as the wan prince. African-American actor Rex
Ingram is outstanding in the small but unforgettable role of the genie.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Perhaps the most splendid fantasy film ever made. Alexander Korda produced, Michael Powell and five others directed this breathtaking attempt to capture The Arabian Nights on film. An early example of outstanding Technicolor work, this became a cult favori… (more)