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Arabian Nights [DVD] 
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A young Sultan named Schahriar must find a wife before the next full moon, otherwise the kingdom will be given to his exiled brother, Schahzenan. Schahriar is skeptical about marrying again, having been the target of a failed assassination attempt by his first wife and his evil brother. However, he sends the old Grand Vizier, Jafar, to find a wife for him, planning to kill her the day after he inherits the kingdom. Ironically, it is Jafar's own daughter, Scheherazade, who offers to marry Schahriar. After the wedding Scheherazade begins to tell her husband a story about Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Next morning, Scheherazade is anxious and unsure of her fate but Schahriar sends the executioner away, at least temporarily. As Scheherazade spins tales of tragedy, comedy, magic and mayhem, she cleverly creates plots that feature heroes, villains and beautiful heroines. The sultan is impressed and learns valuable lessons from the stories, showing that love and laughter will always defeat evil
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Top Customer Reviews
Dougray Scott is brillant as the Caliph (ruler) beginning with him verging on the edge of madness after the betrayal of his firsrt wife and brother and then as his second wife, a friend who has loved him since they were children and the daughter of the Caliph's chief consultant, brings him from the brink of madness and saving her own life by keeping him distracted by telling him different stories.
This wonderful story as well as being funny and well performed also teaches other that stories can teach us many things.
The story is in fact several stories, as told by Scheherazade to her new husband, the Sultan, in a framing story. The framing story is a rare thing - a device to hold several stories together, which works as well as the individual tales. The Sultan is on the brink of madness as a result of his late wives betrayal. He now has developed a pattern of marrying and then killing the bride in the morning... a pattern Scheherazade intends to break by engrossing him in her tales enough to keep him wanting to hear the end the next night. As she tells her tales, she aims to help his madness subside and impart wisdom to help him confront the reasons for his torment.
And so we get the classic stories of Ali Baba, Aladdin, and a couple more that might be less familiar but are no less compelling, with a surprisingly diverse and well known cast including Alan Bates, Jason Scott Lee, Vanessa Mae, Dougray Scott, Andy Serkis and others.
Scenery and sets all appear surprisingly authentic and detailed, the big budget (for TV) is evident in the terrific effects (genies, magic carpets etc..) and of course the timeless stories work well.
There are a couple of gripes - the sound is in stereo only, and the dubbing is much worse than we should expect from a big budget production these days. Also, while the overall tone works well, the slapstick in places might be a little too much for adults, and the occasional gruesome death may unnerve younger viewers.
A short featurette outlining the undeniable scale of the production completes a package which is a success, provided your expectations are simply for some light entertainment, and nothing more substantial.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like this version of the Arabian Nights. My DVD player shows the running time as 2h55m45s. I have marked down because it stopped playing half way through. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Destiny Detective
I BOUGHT THIS AS A PRESENT FOR MY FRIEND AND SHE REALLY ENJOYED IT I RECOMMEND IT TO ANY ONE WHO LIKES CLASSICAL MUSICPublished 21 months ago by clanline
I saw Arabian Nights as a mini series one year and when I found it on Amazon I was delighted. For anyone who enjoyed Gulliver's Travels (the proper story, not the Jack Black farce)... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kirstin
We love this for-TV adaptation of the story of the 1001 Nights. The acting is really good (including some headline British actors) and the whole thing is a lot of fun. Read morePublished on 11 Mar. 2014 by Mr Jaybles