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Comical Ali [2003] [DVD]

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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Revolver Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 7 July 2003
  • Run Time: 45 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A08JQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,329 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description


The media throws up unlikely heroes, men or women that touch us, those that triumph in the face of hardship and adversity, those that strike a resonant note in these beleaguered times. And the last 3 months has given us one such man, a warrior of unshakeable belief, a titan amongst publicists, a hero for the modern media age. The undisputed heavyweight champion of PR, the Sultan of Spin, ladies and gentlemen – we bring you the Iraqi information minister. Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation is proud to present ’Comical Ali’: The Very Best of The Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. You’ve been missing him like crazy, but wipe away those tears because Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation have brought back the Iraqi Information Minister and this time you get to keep his unique brand of humour for ever on DVD. The world stands united in admiration for him, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf – a legend of the modern media age. And now you too can own the uncensored, blow by blow very greatest hits. Not only do you get to own a piece of history, but you also get to laugh your ass off.


Comical Ali is a dry tribute to the thus-nicknamed former Iraqi Minister for Information, Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf, whose bravura performances at press conferences throughout the brief Iraq War of 2003 turned him into a global icon, celebrated on numerous Web sites and even showered with tongue-in-cheek praise by President Bush himself. His colourful denunciations of the "villains" and "mercenaries" whom he insisted were being "crushed" by the glorious Republican Guard at every turn only increased in their volume and insistence when TV footage of American troops occupying Saddam Airport plainly proved that he was talking nonsense. And, as a dry smile played about the Minister's lips, you wondered if he himself realised he was talking nonsense and was having fun with it--or was he a Saddam loyalist in pathological denial?

Wisely and appropriately, this low-budget documentary restrains itself from overplaying the comedy element here, even if the cover artwork makes you fear otherwise. Rather, it offers a potted history of the War, thumbnail profiles of "Comical Ali" and his boss Saddam Hussein and earnestly ponders whether Al-Sahaf only embarked on his lurid stream of blatant whoppers because he was under orders to do so? (Well, there's a thought...). Copious and highly entertaining footage of Al-Sahaf enables you to arrive at your own theory as to whether he was bad, mad or sad, or all three. --David Stubbs

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 38 people found the following review helpful By "jo1201" on 1 Sept. 2003
Format: DVD
During the conflict I very much enjoyed the Iraqi Information Ministers amazing claims. He brought humour to the war for many westerners so detached from the real truth. I was pleased when I learned of this product and purchased it, on viewing however I was very disappointed and somewhat saddened.
First thing this DVD is not region 2 encoded, it is in fact 0 and in the NTSC format leading to my stand alone DVD player not accepting it and spitting the message "NOT PAL" on screen, no problem though, I knew my computer would accept it. The next disappointment was the quality of the special feature, I understand this was not a big budget release but at the very least they should have included a written documentation of the mans work history but no, instead we got a video montage of poor quality desert scenes with traditional Arabic music, I certainly was not expecting that! "Hey I know, lets just edit this stock VHS desert footage together bang on some groovy Arabic tunes, yeah, that’s perfect. Boys, we’ve got our special feature".
Finally the documentary itself. The voice over is the typical cheesy American fare featured in such shows as "Cops" and "The World's Wildest (insert dramatic situation here)", the editing is adequate although more stock desert footage has been thrown in every so often with a nice tacky font added to the mix. The "expert" guests commenting on the situation in question are completely unknown to me and I am sure everyone else (apart from their close friends and immediate family), a couple of them occasionally said interesting things, however, on the whole they said nothing which added to the documentary and personally I disliked them all.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. White on 17 July 2003
Format: DVD
I purchased this disc because I found the Iraqi Information Minister highly entertaining and a record (for such a good price) was irresistable, plus there's a charitable donation. I didn't expect much in the way of quality to the production but I was wrong. This is a very good documentary about the life of the man and the context of the second US attack on Iraq. The commentary is subtle and interesting and the video transfer is first rate. As well as the clips of 'Ali' there are other famous images such as the attacks on Baghdad, the toppling of Sadham's statue, the US troops at the airport etc etc. This documentary could be shown on prime time UK TV and put most shows to shame.
Also: there are 'extras' including the best utterances of the great man without music backing them as it does in the documentary and a surreal but pleasant desert video montage with appropriate Arabic music.
The best thing of all though is the main menu screen which has a very simple but (in my case at least) laugh out loud joke. You'll have to buy the disc to find out!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Revill on 9 July 2003
Format: DVD
It's fair to say the only slight ray of sunshine in an otherwise very serious period of war and tragedy this year was the eternally (and quite worryingly) optimistic Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. His endless stream of threats (my feelings, as usual, we will slaughter them all'), denials ('they are not even 100 miles from Baghdad, they are not in any place, this is an illusion') and insults ('they are a superpower of Al Capone') was just begging to be portrayed and kept for posterity somehow...but just butting all those quotes together, no matter how funny and eccentric they are, would get boring pretty quickly.
So thank goodness I bought this, hoping it would have a bit of a story behind it, and it did; in fact, it's a very slickly put-together documentary that has just the right blend of Big Mo and other archive footage, taken naturally from the war just passed but also his earlier guise as Foreign Minister...these clips are even more hysterical because he is so deadpan, resplendent in his suit back then, but still delivering his now infamous rants about 'those villains'. And what's more we get plenty of interesting interviews and opinions from journalists, authors etc., some of whom really do feel sorry for him. The balance in the views on offer from 'he shuld be in jail' to 'he was trapped, he had a gun to his head' works very well and lets us make up our own minds.
But special mention has to go to the sections on Saddam Hussein (his musical tribute from Iraqi TV is priceless) and his attacks on Bush and Blair: 'this stooge...I think the British nation has never been faced with a tragedy like this fellow!' You can't help siding with him a little/a lot when you watch it!!
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
it is funny to see that in spite of his a bit early enthusiasm he was more right than what his ironic followers could imagine in their worst nightmares. almost all he said can now be turned around and gain some new meaning.
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