The Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad

Director: Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan Sr.
Cast: Conrad Veidt
Conrad Veidt
, Sabu
Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan Sr.,
The Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad

Director: Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan Sr.
Cast: Conrad Veidt
Conrad Veidt
, Sabu
Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan Sr.,

DVD (Color)

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The credited line-up of six directors-Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, Zoltan Korda, William Cameron Menzies and Alexander Korda-should be indication enough that the 1940 The Thief of Baghdad is no ordinary sword and sandal romp. This Technicolor Arabian Nights extravaganza is widely regarded as one of the best (if not the best) fantasy films of the pre-computer technology era. The title character, named Abu (and engagingly played by Sabu), befriends a ragged young man named Ahmed (John Justin), who happens to be the rightful prince of Baghdad. The prince has been usurped by his evil vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), who hopes to expand his power by marrying the breathtakingly lovely princess of Basra (June Duprez). To win the princess' hand, Jaffar keeps the childlike King (Miles Malleson, who cowrote the screenplay with Lajos Biro) preoccupied with mechanical toys, such as a winged horse and a six-armed dancer, which disposes of the King after he tells his daughter she needn't marry Jaffar. The prince and Abu try to stop Jaffar, only to be thwarted by the vizier's magical powers: the prince is struck blind, while Abu is transformed into a dog. It wouldn't do for the bad guy to win this early in the game, thus Abu, returned to human form, finds himself on a deserted beach. Stumbling across an odd-looking bottle, Abu inadvertently releases the bottle's occupant: a gigantic, bombastic genie (Rex Ingram). The genie intends to crush Abu to death, but the wily thief tricks him back into the bottle. In exchange for his freedom, the genie agrees to grant Abu three wishes....and at this point, the film really begins to percolate, what with that "All Seeing Eye" gem, golden arrow and magic carpet added to the formula. If elements of The Thief of Baghdad sound familiar, it is because the film was used as the model for the 1992 Disney animated feature Aladdin. Even allowing for the much-improved technical wherewithal at Disney's disposal, nothing has dimmed the lustre of the multi-Oscar-winning The Thief of Baghdad, the sort of film that invariably elicits the reaction "They just don't make 'em like that any more!"

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Product Details

Release Date: 05/27/2008
UPC: 0715515029926
Original Release: 1940
Source: Criterion Collection
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Color]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time: 1:46:00
Sales rank: 5,190

Special Features

New digital transfer; Two audio commentaries; Optional music and effects track; Theatrical trailer; Visual effects documentary; The lion has wings; Excerpts from the codirector Michael Powell's audio dictation for his autobiography; Excerpts from a 1976 radio interview with compsoer Miklós Rózsa; Still Gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Conrad Veidt Jaffar
Sabu Abu
June Duprez Princess
John Justin Prince Achmad
Rex Ingram Djinni
Miles Malleson Old Sultan
Morton Selten Old King
Mary Morris Halima
Bruce Winston Merchant
Hay Petrie Astrologer
Adelaide Hall Singer
Roy Emerton Jailer
Allan Jeayes Storyteller
Miki Hood Actor
Michael Powell Actor
David Sharpe Actor
Tim Whelan Actor
Frederick Burtwell Unnamed Character
Glynis Johns Unnamed Character
Norman Pierce Unnamed Character
John Salew Unnamed Character

Technical Credits
Ludwig Berger Director
Michael Powell Director
Tim Whelan Director
John Armstrong Costumes/Costume Designer
Lajos Biro Screenwriter
Osmond H. Borradaile Cinematographer
Lawrence W. Butler Special Effects
Jack Clayton Asst. Director
Charles Crichton Editor
David B. Cunyngehame Production Manager
William W. Hornbeck Editor
Tom Howard Special Effects
Alexander Korda Producer
Vincent Korda Production Designer
Zoltan Korda Producer
Robert Krasker Camera Operator
Miles Malleson Screenwriter
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
William Cameron Menzies Associate Producer,Asst. Director
Oliver Messel Costumes/Costume Designer
John Mills Special Effects
Georges Périnal Cinematographer
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
Marcel Vertes Costumes/Costume Designer
A.W. Watkins Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Thief of Bagdad
1. Opening Credits [1:51]
2. The Princess and the Blind Man [6:18]
3. "There Was Once a King" [8:31]
4. Abu the Thief [6:06]
5. Basra [6:35]
6. Djinni of the Pool [6:36]
7. Jaffar's Visit [7:39]
8. The Curse [6:23]
9. Winds of Heaven [10:56]
10. Place of Desolation [:57]
11. "Free!" [3:53]
12. "The All-Seeing Eye" [6:34]
13. Last Wish [13:25]
14. The Land of Legend [7:59]
15. The Arrow of Justice [7:19]
1. Color Bars [5:17]

Customer Reviews