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Thief of Bagdad

Douglas Fairbanks , Julanne Johnston , Raoul Walsh    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 103.95
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thief of Bagdad (Deluxe Edition) from Kino Jan. 6 2004
Format:DVD
Douglas Fairbanks' "The Thief of Bagdad" is in the public domain, so it's no surprise that there are many DVD and VHS versions of this film available, from bargain basement tapes with no music taken from battered source prints, to high-quality editions with fine music and extras. (Many of the reviews given here are for different editions, so if they complain about the video transfer, missing scenes, or the musical score, keep in mind that such comments don't apply to all editions.)
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT FAIRBANKS CLASSIC Jan. 27 2004
Format:DVD
first, hats off to Kino for releasing all these great, old Daouglas Fairbanks Sr. Classics on DVD. They have done a fantastic job and the Thief of Baghdad shows agains why Fairbanks was the master of the Swashbuckler.As the thief of Baghdad, his movements are dance-like -- nothing like the athletics he performed in most of his other films. In this Arabian take, the thief ignores the holy teachings and sneaks into the palace of the Caliph (Brandon Hurst). All thoughts of robbery slip away, however, when he sees the beautiful princess (Julianne Johnston). Princes have come from many faraway lands to win the princess' hand (and it's amusing to watch her face growing ever more alarmed at their arrival, because each one is uglier than the last). The thief disguises himself as a prince and the princess falls in love with him. After having a pang of conscience the thief confesses all to the Holy Man (Charles Belcher), who sends him to find a magic chest. He braves many obstacles to get it, and when he returns he discovers that the Mongol Prince (So-Jin) has taken over the city. Using the chest, the reformed thief creates armies of men out of nothingness and recaptures the city. He then uses the cloak of invisibility to spirit the princess away on a magic carpet. Fairbanks stole some of the special effects for his film from Fritz Lang's Der Mude Tod, which he had purchased for American distribution.
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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Un-clean, Un-clean! April 20 2009
Format:DVD
Don't buy this video if you have any love at all from this film. I am talking about the "Alpha Video" version only. From "The Silent Era" website:
"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."
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