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63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical, timeless classic, 18 April 2007
By 
Guy Mannering (Maidenhead, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] (DVD)
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.) Miles Malleson who plays the Sultan of Basra also deserves special credit for contributing the wonderfully poetic screenplay with its echoes of Sir Richard Burton's 19th century translation of the 1001 Nights, likewise Miklos Rozsa for one of the great film scores of all time (in fact the music virtually steals the show, it plays almost continuously and is brilliantly integrated with the action.) Then there's Georges Perinal who lensed the picture and the stunning sets by art director Vincent Korda (Alex's younger brother.) I could go on and on. Perhaps only the special effects no longer dazzle quite as much in our computer age but, even so, it's difficult to imagine the flying carpet sequence being bettered and the moment when the giant genie (the unforgettable black actor Rex Ingram) with tiny Sabu clinging to his pigtail flies up through the clouds to the temple of the dawn is for me the supreme moment of movie magic, it shows what the cinema can do that no other art form can. You'd never guess this movie had three credited directors and at least three uncredited because it's such a seamless triumph. It is undoubtedly Korda's finest production and one of the greatest British films of all time.

With regard to the technical quality of this release, picture, colour and sound are all very good and unlikely to give you cause for complaint. But movie buffs and perfectionists may find the two disc Criterion version preferable on technical parameters and it comes with a host of interesting extras. It's also much more expensive and to the best of my knowledge is only available in Region 1 format from the US. If you're interested in acquiring a recording of Rozsa's wonderful music please refer to my review of The Thief of Bagdad/Jungle Book suites performed by the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra issued on the Colosseum label.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of all Arabian Nights' adventures for all ages, 24 Mar 2001
By A Customer
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure enchantment, 4 Jan 2003
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The thief of Bagdad, 14 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] (DVD)
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 amazing years, 21 Jun 2005
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous in every sense, 13 Sep 2010
This review is from: Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best adventure movie ever, 25 Jan 2001
By A Customer
If we must describe this film in one word, it is "enchantment".
The 1001 nights tale is told with a highly effective, beautiful and dramatic use of colour, and special effects that are truly amazing for its time.
Conred Veidt has here one of the best performances of his career, as a "bad guy" hopelessly in love with the princess.
There is a toy-loving prince that suffers an astonishing death at the hands of a murderous doll.
And there is Sabu, and the beautiful sets, and the fabulous genius, the adventure, the excitment, and one could go on forever praising the wonders of this film.
It is truly the best adventure film of all time, and one of the best British films ever.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A childhood memory, 25 Jun 2010
By 
Mr. T. HARWOOD "LInda Harwood" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] (DVD)
This has been a favourite of mine since I was a child and I just had to have a copy. How scared was I as a child of that big spider which is now hilarious to watch but an all time best film
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time classics, 21 Jan 2010
By 
F. Stephen "fabulousfreddie" (Newcastle,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] (DVD)
A magical story from the golden age of movie-making. The special effects clearly can't be up to modern CGI standards, but nevertheless great entertainment. A joy to watch.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film, excellent DVD, 1 Feb 2011
By 
Julian Hughes (Hove) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] (DVD)
I loved watching this, it's as enjoyable as all the other reviewers report and the DVD is great. Technicolor doesn't fade like more recent color film processes so the colours are rich, vivid and saturated as you can see from the images I uploaded. The print isn't absolutely 100% pristine and perfect but it's also very hard to complain about it. It may be that the Region 1 NTSC Criterion edition is better but while I do sometimes spend extra on imports when Region 2 discs aren't good enough I'm not tempted this time. There's nothing about this DVD which would inhibit your enjoyment of a fantastic film. I bought the Network label DVD from Amazon. The same label's DVD of Jungle Book, also featuring Sabu, is great as well so if you enjoyed Thief of Bagdad have a look at The Jungle Book [DVD].
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Thief Of Bagdad [DVD]
Thief Of Bagdad [DVD] by Alexander Korda (DVD - 2006)
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