The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

LUDWIG BERGER, MICHAEL POWELL, TIM WHELAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  

United Kingdom, 1940.  Alexander Korda Films, London Film Productions.  Story by , Screenplay and dialogue by , scenario by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by Miklos Rozsa.  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , , .  Film Editing by .  The Criterion Collection

An obviously strong influence on Disney’s Aladdin (one can draw many similarities to plot and production design between the two films), this magnificent fantasy film stars a young as a petty thief assisting a blind beggar who was once a prince in finding his true love and being reinstated in his lordly position. This will be something of a challenge, however, because the princess is being kept locked up by the evil Jafar (–is it just me or does this man play villains like he wants to be Marlene Dietrich?) Technological limitations were obviously never an issue for Korda, who finds some of the most stunningly creative ways to show giant genies, magic carpets and flying horses, all of it gorgeously photographed in eye-popping Technicolour. The film was interrupted halfway through its filming in Morocco thanks to the outbreak of World War II, so most of the outdoor locations were completed in the United States.

The Criterion Collection:  #431

Academy Awards:  Best Cinematography-Colour; Best Special Effects; Best Art Direction-Colour
Nominations: Best Original Score

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