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Thief Of Bagdad [DVD]


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Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] + Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves [DVD] + Arabian Nights [DVD] [2007]
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Product details

  • Actors: Sabu, June Duprez, Roy Emerton, Adelaide Hall, Miki Hood
  • Directors: Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, Zoltan Korda, William Cameron Menzies, Alexander Korda
  • Producers: Alexander Korda
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Jun 2006
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FAOAZ6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,758 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Colourful adaptation of Achmed Abdullah's timeless tale, directed by some of the top names of the time (including Michael Powell and Zoltan Korda). Young thief Abu (Sabu) aids Ahmad (John Justin), the deposed King of Bagdad, when his throne is usurped by the evil Jaffar (Conrad Veidt). Filming began in Britain but was transferred to the States because of the Second World War.

From Amazon.co.uk

Alexander Korda's 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad offers stirring proof that a strong story and vivid visual sense can still dazzle modern movie-goers without the aid of computer graphics or intricate special effects. Korda wrangled a virtual committee of directors (including a young Michael Powell and visionary designer and art director William Cameron Menzies) and orchestrated a still effective series of optical effects to give this Technicolor fable a striking look that mates cinematic energy with a painterly, storybook aesthetic. Even from a 21st century vantage point, this decidedly pre-digital production remains charming, distilling a familiar tale of genies, evil wizards and exotic adventures into an archetypal heroic quest.

In remaking Douglas Fairbanks' hugely popular, technically ambitious 1926 silent production, Korda repositions the title character as a much younger figure with the casting of a teenaged Sabu as the youthful thief, Abu. That shift makes his enemy, the evil Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), much more threatening while giving the fable an innocence the swashbuckling Fairbanks could not supply. In Rex Ingram, the film supplies a genie with a winning contrast in his thundering voice and mischievous smile, while June Duprez provides the requisite beauty to the princess whose fate becomes Abu's test of courage. Fellow Hungarian émigré Miklós Rózsa adorns the movie with one of his earliest and most evocative music scores. It's one measure of this Thief's appeal that at least two more remakes followed, but none have trumped this adaptation. --Sam Sutherland --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Guy Mannering VINE VOICE on 18 April 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this movie shortly after the death of its maker Alexander Korda when all his movies were shown on TV for the first time, and I remember being bowled over by the slendour and imaginative richness of the production even though I had to watch it in glorious black and white. When I got to watch it again some years later I was bowled over again by the sheer beauty of the early technicolor. It remains the finest cinematic evocation of the Arabian Nights, a potent blend of magic, romance and adventure and the inspirer of countless similar but inferior Hollywood spectacles a couple of which starred Sabu. A few years ago in a TV documentary John Justin, his co-star in this movie, said of the charismatic young Indian actor who sadly died at the age of 39 "In the course of a long life I've met many people most of whom I've forgotten but Sabu will always shine in my memory like a diamond." But the finest performance is given undoubtedly by the legendary Conrad Veidt as the wicked vizier Jaffar, one of the cinema's greatest portrayals of malevolence and all the more effective for being underplayed. "Know that there are only three things men respect: the lash that descends, the yoke that breaks and the sword that slays. By the power and terror of these you may conquer the earth." When the vizier drips his poisonous credo into the ear of the idealistic young king you are reminded of a certain Adolf Hitler (this British production was in fact interrupted by the outbreak of World War 2 and completed in Hollywood with financial aid from United Artists in which Korda was a partner. Veidt and Sabu stayed on in Hollywood, the former went on to play the dastardly Major Strasser in Casablanca whilst Sabu played Mowgli in the Jungle Book.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Mar 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Begun just prior to the outbreak of WWII and resited to Hollywood, this outstanding Denham lavish remake of the Douglas Fairbanks'silent classic couldn't be bettered with Korda's carefully picked cast & his family of technicians to craft it. Ever one of my top favourites, I can't overpraise it. My favourite star,Conrad Veidt,tall,sinister but at the time,every woman's dream,the evil sorcerer,Jaffer,coveting both the stunning June Duprez and usurper to the kingdom of Basra was great as ever. The popular new star, ex- Elephant Boy,Sabu, was captivatingly charming and spirited with the rest of its mainly stage performers completely united in this highly entertaining fantasy. Somewhat different from the original,it has everything - splendid sets, outstanding technicolor and lots of magic effects,most of which still stand up amongst which is the memorable lethal 6-armed "toy" buddah doubled by an evillooking Mary Morris & Sabu's "conversion" into an alley-dog. Like Korngold in "Robin Hood" a year earlier, the Hungarian composer,Miklos Rozsa,added the icing to this cake with an outstanding score. Korda's costliest production,it remains a memorable souvenir of his once magnificent British factory that rivalled Hollywood with its appeal to world stars,dedicated technicians and sometimes stylish & theatrical output. Other later remakes carry this title with scant resemblance to either the original or this treat. And how about that giant spider? And how did the genii, Rex Ingram, get back into the bottle?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Craig HALL OF FAME on 4 Jan 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
If you've seen Disney's Aladdin, you'll have some idea of how much other film-makers have ripped off this consummate version of 1001 Nights. A sorceror disembarks to listen to the sad tale of a blind beggar, once a Prince, and his dog, once a little thief. The sorceror is Jaffa, formerly advisor to the Prince who, like him, loves a beautiful Princess, and who has cursed them so that neither will regain their true form until the Princess lies in his arms. How the lovers defeat the evil sorceror involves a flying carpet, a genie, and the All-Seeing Eye from a goddess on the highest peak of the world - which must be stolen by the little thief, Sabu.
Even to a modern audience the special effects are glorious, and if you can see the strings on the magic carpet, Sabu's fight with the giant spider and the King's assasination by a many-armed statue remain breath-taking. It's funny, it's moving, and it's completely captivating for children of 6+.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Den Rey on 14 Oct 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is my favourite Film. I adored it as a child, and it is one of those classic films that you can watch time and time again.
My own children loved it, and countless others have. Sheer magic and an incredible achievement for when it was made in 1940.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Movie Fan from Portugal on 13 Sep 2010
Format: DVD
I first watched this film when I was about 10 but I did not remember it any more until I watched it on TV about 20 years ago and suddenly all the pleasure and fascination I had experienced in my first viewing came flooding back. This is a fable so well told that for its 100 or so minutes I was back in my childhood. All the special effects of today will never equal this exceptionally well directed film, the quality of its screenplay, or the charm of its actors. I relish watching it again and again. One of my favourites!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "khammond1928" on 21 Jun 2005
Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this film during the war, it was a brilliant way to get your mind off the many hardships that war brings. As an 11 year old I was enchanted by the film and seeing it again 65 years later, it is still enchanting. Much of this is due to the supurb script by Miles Mallison (he plays the dotty Sultan) which has humour and poetry to it. The cast is also terrific, Sabu as the thief, John Justin, the handsome hero, June Duprez the beautiful princess, Rex Ingram the giant genie and Conrad Veidt, the most wicked of all magicians. A great, great film.
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