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Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Fantasy, Musical | 29 October 1937 (USA)
A movie company is doing the Arabian Nights when a hobo enters their camp, falls asleep and dreams he's back in Baghdad as advisor to the Sultan. In a spoof of Rosevelt's New Deal, he ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Yusuf / Tony Martin
...
Sultan
June Lang ...
Princess Miriam / June Lang
...
Sultana / Louise Hovick (as Louise Hovick)
Raymond Scott and His Quintet ...
Raymond Scott Quintete
...
Ishak / Broderick
Virginia Field ...
Dinah
Alan Dinehart ...
Boland
...
Prince Musah (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Maurice Cass ...
Omar - The Rug Maker
Warren Hymer ...
Tramp
Stanley Fields ...
Tramp
Paul Hurst ...
Captain
Sam Hayes ...
Radio Announcer
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Storyline

A movie company is doing the Arabian Nights when a hobo enters their camp, falls asleep and dreams he's back in Baghdad as advisor to the Sultan. In a spoof of Rosevelt's New Deal, he organizes work programs, taxes the rich and abolishes the army. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

new deal | taxes | sultan | spoof | dream | See All (41) »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nuits d'Arabie  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eddie Cantor appears as himself in the film's final sequence with Tony Martin. See more »

Quotes

Ali Baba: Excuse me, who are these fellows? They're not even listening!
Sultan: They're my new musicians from Africa.
Ali Baba: Africa?
[to musicians]
Ali Baba: What part of Africa?
Sultan: I'm afraid they don't understand you. You see, they talk a strange tongue.
Ali Baba: [to musicians] Parlez-vous Français?
[No response]
Ali Baba: Se hable espanol? Capisce italian'?
[No response]
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of La cueva de Ali-Babá (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played briefly during the Ali Baba campaign parade
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The New Deal To The Old Caliphate
30 January 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Ali Baba Goes To Town anticipates the war in Iraq by several decades. Just as we are at war to democratize Iraq and its capital Bagdad, so Eddie Cantor is in Iraq by himself to bring the New Deal to the old caliphate. The populace seems to take to it somewhat better.

Cantor is young Al Babson hitchhiking on a freight car to Hollywood when while doing a little soft shoe to entertain fellow tramps Stanley Fields and Warren Hymer he falls out of the car and in the desert. Not to worry though, he lands in the middle of a sand and sandal Arabian picture that 20th Century Fox was shooting. The film has the look of the kind that Maria Montez would do at Universal in the next decade. He gets hired as an extra.

However in a big scene where he's one of many to pop out of a giant jar, Eddie over medicates himself on his many pills and falls asleep and dreams himself back into old Bagdad. The people he meets there are suspiciously like the stars of the film he's on like June Lang, Tony Martin, and Roland Young. Young makes a rather urbane sultan who takes to Cantor, so much so he makes him his prime minister. Cantor proceeds to introduce the New Deal to Bagdad and gives the people some ideas of democracy.

That does not sit well with a trio of villains, Douglass Dumbrille, John Carradine, and Louise Hovick. If you don't recognize the name Louise Hovick, she was a minor starlet at Fox who would leave their shortly for another career involving exposure under the better known name of Gypsy Rose Lee.

Cantor did this whole thing before and much better in Roman Scandals. In real life Cantor was a number one booster of the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and the satire is somewhat blunted. It's also somewhat dated and you'd really have to be familiar with both Cantor and the Thirties to get a lot of the jokes.

Tony Martin is in the film as a young reformer type or what passed for one in old Bagdad. I got a feeling that a lot of his role was left on the cutting room floor. He makes no mention of Ali Baba Goes To Town in his joint memoir with Cyd Charisse.

Ali Baba Goes To Town did not fare well at the box office even with the presence of a whole lot of guest stars in the film via newsreel clips from the premiere of Wee Willie Winkie. By mutual consent Darryl F. Zanuck and Eddie Cantor did not make any more films and Cantor was off the screen for three years.

The film is really for Eddie Cantor fans and for those who'd like to familiarize themselves with one of the greatest entertainers of the last century. But there are far better filmed examples of his work.


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