Thief of Bagdad
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Carefree Ahmed the Thief must endure various fantastic adventures to woo the beautiful Princess away from the villianous Mongol Prince. Features score from original cue sheets by organist Gaylord Carter.
Douglas Fairbanks spared no expense for what may be the most lavish fantasy movie ever made. Inspired by the flying-carpet effects of Fritz Lang's somber but spectacular Der Müde Tod, Fairbanks (ever the canny businessman) bought the American rights, then hid the film away as he created his own show-stopping adventure, an adaptation of A Thousand and One Nights in which the magic-carpet ride was but one of many fantastic marvels. Swaggering through massive marketplace sets and cavernous throne rooms as an incorrigible thief and pickpocket, he scales towering walls (with the help of a magic rope) and leads a merry chase through crowded bazaars in his pursuit of loot--until he falls in love with the beautiful princess and vows to win her heart. This jaunty opening is but mere preamble to the spectacular second act. As three kings scour the globe to retrieve the rarest treasures known to man, the repentant thief embarks on an odyssey through caverns of fire and underwater caves. The marvelous special effects--from the smoke-belching dragon and underwater spider to the flying horse and magic armies arising from the dust--may show their seams but glow with a timeless sense of wonder. William Cameron Menzies's magnificent sets appear to have leapt from the pages of a storybook. As the adventure concludes in a torrent of movie magic that cascades nonstop through the breathless final hour, Fairbanks commands the screen with a hearty laugh and graceful athleticism, the cinema's first action hero triumphant. Kino's restored edition is tinted and features an organ score by Gaylord Carter. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Kino "Deluxe Edition" is digitally mastered from a 35mm archive negative, with 19 minutes of rare outtakes and special effects footage as extras. The film is tinted throughout -- a color effect that was used on its initial release, and which adds greatly to the fantastic nature of the story and its immense sets.
The new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (a quintet that specializes in reviving music used during the silent film era) is based loosely on the original "cue sheet" for the film by James Bradford. This means that you'll be hearing some of the music recommended for the film on its first release (although the music would have been different in each theater--silent film music was left up to the music director at each movie house). The music features many "oriental" pieces written for the silent film theater by forgotten "photoplay music" composers such as Gaston Borch and Irenee Berge, as well as pieces by classical composers like Rimsky-Korsakov who explored oriental themes. A written commentary and cue list of the music used is on the DVD as an extra, and can also be found at Mont Alto's web site, [...]
A different high-quality edition from Image Entertainment features an organ score by Gaylord Carter, who was a talented theater organist, and that's also a good choice.Read more ›
"This budget edition of The Thief of Bagdad has been transferred from a Blackhawk Films 16mm reduction print and, therefore, has many of the shortcomings of that older print. The picture is slightly contrasty, with loss of detail in highlight areas. The print used for the transfer has some minor emulsion damage, several sections of exposure fluctuations throughout, splices, long vertical scratches, dust, and frame jitters. The original print has cropped the original print framing slightly, and the video transfer has not been windowboxed, with the result that some of the film's intertitles with be cropped to the point of difficult reading on some televisions."
The story finds FB's as a "prince" among thieves,eking out an existence stealing from whomever he can and sharing it with his cohort in crime Edwards.One day he decides to mount the palace walls to steal the Caliph's treasure,after absconding with a magic rope elsewhere in the city.Once inside he spies the Caliph's daughter and falls instantly in love.Back outside his partner is baffled by any lack of treasure other than the princess's slipper.They devise a scheme to kidnap the princess away from the palace.
The next day three suitors arrive to ask for the daughter's hand in marriage.FB's makes himself into a fake prince and arrives as the unwanted fourth.The princess's fortune was read and it said the first one to touch a rose tree inside the palace walls will be her forever lover.FB's is accidentally tossed into the tree off his horse and takes a rose bud to give to the princess.He douses the rose with a sleeping agent and ascends to the princess's balcony.Seeing the rose the princess now knows FB's is the one,and when FB's realizes her devotion to him he abandons the kidnap scheme.In fact he now becomes a changed man and admits everything,including his pretense as a prince.The guards are alerted and capture him.He is taken away to be flogged.Before he can be caged with a vicious orangutan the princess uses her clout to see him safely escorted out of the palace.Read more ›
Thief of Baghdad, with its look of unrealistic beauty (courtesy of art director William Cameron Menzies), was not fully appreciated in its day. Because of its huge cost ($2 million -- a real fortune in those days), it made little money.
A true Silent Classic!
Most recent customer reviews
After countless hours of watching B movies. I treated myself to this one. Simply put, every Sword and sandals/Dungeon and Dragons/Lord of the rings fan must see this one. Read morePublished on April 14 2009 by Yves-Michel
THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD is surely one of Douglas Fairbank's most elaborate films; it's also tremendously entertaining. Read morePublished on Dec 27 1999 by Joe Libby
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