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Anna May Wong,
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J. Elder Wills
Anna May Wong,
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Ali Baba discovers the treasure cave of robber-baron Abu Hasan, and tells his greedy brother, Kasim Baba, who is posing as a Chinese merchant and entertaining Hasan, where the cache is hidden. Zahrat, acting as a spy for Hasan, is blamed when the robber is almost caught, and Kasim is killed. Zahrat then decides to join Ali and his son, Nor-al-din, who is in love with the slave-girl, Marjanal. During a party, she kills the disguised Hasan, and his men are boiled in oil. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
With an enjoyable old-fashioned mix of humor, melodrama, musical, and pageantry, this adaptation of the stage show "Chu Chin Chow" is still well worth seeing. It does a good job for its time of blending everything together with a consistent pace and without any dull stretches. It makes good use of the Arabian Nights' story setting, while not taking itself too seriously.
The plot is based on the well-known story of Ali Baba contending with Abu Hasan and his cave full of thieves and cutthroats. George Robey as Ali Baba and Fritz Kortner as Hasan both seem to be having a good time, and they give pleasantly exaggerated performances, slightly over-emphasizing their expressions and their characters' traits.
But the star of the cast is Anna May Wong, who plays a slave girl who spies on behalf of Hasan. The role offers little challenge for someone of Wong's considerable acting talents, but it gives her a chance to grab numerous scenes. She gives her character a formidable presence and a very attractive appearance that make her the center of attention when she is on the screen.
Overall, it's nothing to take seriously, but it is very good escapist entertainment for those who enjoy the movies of the era. There was also an American release, "Ali Baba Nights", which cut out the musical numbers and some other material, giving it a quicker pace but a less lavish style, without quite as much atmosphere.
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