Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

1944

Adventure / Fantasy

2
IMDb Rating 6.4

Synopsis


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720p
1.06G
Normal
English
/
87 min
P/S 91 / 193

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MOscarbradley 6

If "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" isn't quite the camp classic it might have been it is, nevertheless, a spirited adventure yarn that young kids should get a buzz out of; (their parents won't find it too much of a chore either). It's probably the best known tale of the Arabian Nights, at least as far as children are concerned, and this version, directed by Arthur Lubin and gorgeously shot in Technicolour by W. Howard Greene and George Robinson, is an enjoyably painless entertainment. Conceived as another vehicle for its trio of 'stars', Maria Montez, an aging but reasonably nimble Jon Hall as Ali Baba and a boyish Turhan Bey cast, yet again, as a sidekick, it also features those stalwart supporting actors Andy Devine, Fortunio Bonanova and Frank Puglia lending sterling support. Hardly memorable but good matinée fare.

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Reviewed by OldFilmLover 9

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is the best of the Montez-Hall movies, ahead of Arabian Nights, which perhaps deserves an 8, Cobra Woman, which deserves a 7, and White Savage, which deserves only slightly over a 6. My 9 rating is perhaps a bit high -- maybe 8.4-8.6 would be more accurate -- but I give it a 9 in protest against the ridiculously low IMDb average.<br/><br/>What sets this above all the others is the script; both plot and dialogue are superior. The performances are also livelier, the acting better (both of the leads, Hall and Montez, and of the supporting cast), and the feeling of forward movement in the story much greater.<br/><br/>In fact, I rank this film third, all-time, among classic adventure films in which only normal human beings with normal human powers are involved (no genies, dragons, gods, animated skeletons, Jedi knights, etc.), and which are not at least part tongue-in-cheek (like the Indiana Jones films). Only The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Mark of Zorro are better in this category. (Though The Black Swan, The Most Dangerous Game and a few others come close.)<br/><br/>Kurt Katch turns in a great performance as the evil Hulagu Khan. To the 7-to-13-year-olds who crowded the Saturday matinée in 1944, Katch&#39;s Khan would be the classic portrayal of the tyrant. Of course, to adult eyes, Katch&#39;s performance is over-acted, but films in this genre have to be judged with their intended audience in mind.<br/><br/>Special mention should go to Turhan Bey, and to Frank Puglia as Montez&#39;s sycophantic father. The only performance which could be thought a flaw in the film is that of Andy Devine, as the fat &quot;comedy relief&quot; thief. The &quot;cowboy humour&quot; he brings from his other roles seems a bit out of place in a basically high-toned, medieval-flavoured tale about the Muslim and Mongol Middle East. I could have done without him. Still, he was doing what the part called for, so really any blame should be assigned to the writer and director rather than Devine himself. And again, we have to consider the primary audience for the film (though adults can enjoy it, too) was the kids -- and that sort of comedy relief would be what many 40s kids liked.<br/><br/>The music, camera work, and Technicolor are all first-rate. The film is polished. When 1940s Universal did one of its rare, big-budget &quot;A&quot;-list movies, it could do it very well.<br/><br/>Love, courage, nobility; a despicable Oriental tyrant and a people groaning under his heel; the transformation of thieves into patriots; action, glamour, spectacle, and a rousing climax -- this film is a perfect piece of sheer entertainment. <br/><br/>I watched this movie with my kids over and over again when they were young. They loved it. It&#39;s a great family movie if you have pre-teen kids who have not yet been jaded by the modern emphasis on loudness and special effects, and can still accept the older styles of acting and storytelling because they have the openness of childhood. If you start them out on Indiana Jones and Star Wars, it may be impossible for them to go back later and really enjoy these older-style adventure movies. Give them this experience while they can still enjoy it.

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Reviewed by skutah 8

This movie is a colourful adventure movie that is greatly entertaining if you like this old technicolor style of Orientalist films. I mainly love it because of two things: fond childhood memories from a time when I even watched it on a black and white TV set in the mid-80s and [name=nm0700084]&#39;s Prince Cassim.<br/><br/>This actor has played small parts in a couple of classic movies and often appeared alongside some of the big names of his days, but it is in this movie and a couple of later productions mainly that he got a chance to show more of his talent and skills. His expressions and his work with his voice are formidable and he is seriously underrated as his range of characters is pretty impressive. Not to speak about how he managed to make this villain character mean and miserable, contemptible and touching at the same time. His Prince Cassim to me has always been the character with the most depth in this film.<br/><br/>That said, the film is of course to be classified as strongly Orientalist and escapist, it never lets you forget that you&#39;re watching a piece of Hollywood fiction with main characters that are boringly one-sided (good or bad) and it avoids answering the most interesting question: What Ali would&#39;ve done with Cassim if he had faced the decision as he was the father of Ali&#39;s beloved and future wife who - as a good daughter - still had a soft spot for her dad despite his awful misbehaviour. But all of this is part of the style of this sort of movies at the time and therefore I find it excusable.<br/><br/>On the other hand the interweaving of 13th century history with a tale from the 1001 nights is done in an amazingly apt manner as the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols is in fact attributed to the machinations of a treacherous vizier (along with an incompetent caliph) in some sources, the caliph was actually killed by the Mongols and there was indeed a fugitive who claimed to be a surviving member of the dynasty and subsequently continued the line of the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad in Egypt. Therefore there might&#39;ve been more knowledge at work than one would expect from this type of light entertainment and I&#39;m wondering how they came to mix these ingredients with the Ali Baba story.<br/><br/>All things considered I rate this 8 out of 10 because my 21st century adult self is unable to overlook the issues listed above.

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