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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Arabian Nights (DVD + Blu-ray) [1974]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 19 July 2017
This film is an absolute visual treat with its spell-binding use of creatively selected locations in Ethiopa, Iran, Nepal and Yemen. Story unfolds in an almost dream-like fashion which is totally beguiling. The frequent nudity of the film's young cast members, both male and female, has a delightful innocence that is masterfully handled by Pier Paolo Pasolini to enhance the film's peerless magic . A joy of a film, totally different to any of my normal viewing; it was a privilege, and a pure pleasure, to watch such a little known masterpiece of cinema
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 17 February 2012
This is possibly Pasolini's greatest film, I think, it is so lyrical and breathtaking in every way. The interleaving of its many tales is fascinating and makes it exemplary of a certain kind of story-telling on screen, because the beauty seems bound up with the sense of many narratives. But there are other forms of beauty too - the characters are almost uniformly ravishing, and the landscapes amazing (it was shot in Eritrea, I think). Not forgetting the various objects which have a look of great value and authenticity. The tales are extremely vivid and fresh, and often funny. The two main characters, Nur-e-Din and his beloved Zumurrud, whom he spends most of the film trying to find, are absolutely delightful - Franco Merli's smile is one in a million! - and the sensuality of the film is irresistible. It really does amaze the eye and quicken the senses, almost as if you had been to those places and could smell the air ...
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on 10 August 2009
Pasolini's first two adaptations of stories covering rough, raunchy Medieval life include The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales. This one, Il Fiore Delle Mille e Una Notte - loosely translated to Arabian Nights - is visually the richest and probably the most disturbing. Rather than following the plots of each tale in sequence, the narrative moves through a series of incidents and consequences, gradually building up a sumptuous tapestry of Arabian mysteries and legends.

The central theme - a poor boy seeking his first and only love who has been kidnapped - runs throughout the film while surrounding narratives gain strength and intensity as the piece builds. The film was shot in Iraq, Yemen and Nepal, providing exactly the right atmosphere for tales of djinns, robbers, princesses and slaves. You can almost smell the sandalwood and hear the swoosh of flying carpets as you view desert scenes, desolate Arabian coasts and Medieval castles and tenements, apparently build from mud and sand.

Pasolini worked in the 60s and 70s - a liberated era when inhibitions were few and religious sensibilities were less delicate than today. Anyone who finds nudity offensive - particularly male, and in considerable detail - might find this film offensive. It is by no means pornographic, however. The sex scenes, such as they are, tend to be rather insipid but the language and visual material that precedes them is sensual, playful often erotic. The stories show love in all its manifestations, both sexual and otherwise. An enjoyable and thought-provoking film which, with the other two, make a great trilogy from 70s Italian cinema.
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on 4 May 2015
Glad i watched this as i've been wanting to for a long time. It is not as visually sumptious or sexy as i had expected and the story is a bit so-so. Still a must see for lovers of this genre. The costumes and sets are amazing!
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on 18 April 2013
This was the only film in Pasolini's trilogy that I had not seen on it's release. Although good, and worth seeing if you are a fan of The Canterbury Tales and The Decameron, I felt that Arabian Nights was the weeker of the three. I feel the humour let it down.
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on 2 September 2016
Third in the series, and not the joyful bawdy romp of the first two,
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VINE VOICEon 6 November 2003
It takes some getting into, not helped by the quality of the VHS tape, which was a bit ropey in parts. It's also too long. You could cut out the first 20 minutes-or-so and not miss them. And it must be said it takes some getting used to having characters from the Arabian Nights talking in Italian! But on the whole this is enjoyable and deliciously different, and after a while I even stopped wishing for Ray Harryhausen's monsters to appear! It is also genuinely erotic, with plenty of shots of nubile good-looking Italians locked in passionate clinches in shaded rooms and tents, or in bath-tubs. The demon is laughable when he first appears, looking like a geriatric rent-boy who's seen better days, but he becomes effective. The most stunning part though was as the young man dons his ragged priest's vestments for the first time as bells ring out in the town all around him. Very Italian was that.
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on 3 March 2005
Having never knowingly seen a Pasolini movie before, I'm not a dedicated Pasolini fan, but even I can appreciate Arabian Nights for its authenticity and unembellished storytelling. Arabian Nights was made in a time before the special effects we take for granted these days came into being. Nevertheless, the storytelling remains strong enough to carry you through the movie. It doesn't follow a traditional Hollywood linear story-pattern, but is instead a mosaic of stories and therefore has a fragmentary feel to it. The movie doesn't follow the traditional Arabian Nights stories we've come to expect - there are no genies, flying carpets, Ali Baba or magic lanterns - but a collage of interlocking stories that reveal themselves rather like a Chinese magic-box. The movie starts with a simple enough tale of Narmud, a young man, who purchases Zaramud, a beautiful young slave girl, whom he falls in love with, and who is kidnapped. Narmud runs tearfully from one location to another in search of his true love. The movie progresses seemlessly into its multiplicity of tales with such ease that you're left breathless by the circumstances that gave rise to the interwoven tales. In spite of the dated effects and sometimes amateurish acting, Arabian Nights is still an eclectic visual feast that bravely introduces its 1974 audiences to a distinctly non-European worldview.
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on 21 October 2015
the third in the trilogy of life by PASOLINI.made with his usual saucey humour
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on 14 April 2015
First saw this in the cinema when it was first released. It is not perfect but stands well against many other films I saw in the 70's. Visually sumptuous forty years ago it works best from Blueray on a big screen. I have the earlier DVD transfer as well and it never had the same quality as the original film.
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