MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,235 this week

Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)

8.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 384 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 3 critic

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 »
0Check in
0Share...

Related News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 110 titles
created 21 Aug 2011
 
a list of 3763 titles
created 13 Apr 2012
 
a list of 870 titles
created 13 Apr 2012
 
a list of 10000 titles
created 26 Jun 2012
 
a list of 102 titles
created 10 Aug 2012
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)

Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) on IMDb 8.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Ali Baba Goes to Town.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

My Lucky Star (1938)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The son (Romero) of a department store owner enrolls the store's sports clerk (Henie) at a university to use her as an advertisement for their fashion department. She falls for a teacher (... See full summary »

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Sonja Henie, Richard Greene, Joan Davis
Second Fiddle (1939)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Studio publicist (Power) discovers Minnesota skating teacher (Henie) and takes her to Hollywood. She goes back to Minnesota but he follows her.

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power, Rudy Vallee
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A poor girl falls for a wealthy young man. He invites her to his gala birthday party, but she doesn't have the right kind of dress to wear, so her family and friends band together to raise ... See full summary »

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Shirley Temple, William Gargan, Guy Kibbee
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

What do women want? Don Juan is aging. He's arrived secretly in Seville after a 20 year absence. His wife Dolores, whom he hasn't lived with in five years, still loves him. He refuses to ... See full summary »

Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Merle Oberon, Bruce Winston
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Shirley helps her idealistic architect father get his dream of a slum clearance project; The little miss dances with bill "Bojangles" robinson. Based on paul gerard smith's book, "Lucky penny".

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Shirley Temple, Joan Davis, Charles Farrell
The Iron Mask (1929)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

King Louis XIII of France is thrilled to have born to him a son - an heir to the throne. But when the queen delivers a twin, Cardinal Richelieu sees the second son as a potential for ... See full summary »

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Belle Bennett, Marguerite De La Motte, Dorothy Revier
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When Phil Corey's band arrives at the Idaho ski resort its pianist Ted Scott is smitten with a Norwegian refugee he has sponsored, Karen Benson. When soloist Vivian Dawn quits, Karen stages an ice show as a substitute.

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Stars: Sonja Henie, John Payne, Glenn Miller
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Sonja Henie, Ray Milland, Robert Cummings
Happy Landing (1938)
Comedy | Musical | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Bandleader (Romero and manager (Ameche) discover skater (Henie) in Norway. They become rivals as she returns with them to America.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Sonja Henie, Don Ameche, Jean Hersholt
Marked Woman (1937)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crusading DA persuades a clip joint "party girl" to testify against her mobster boss after her innocent sister is accidentally murdered during one of his unsavory "parties."

Directors: Lloyd Bacon, Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lola Lane
Kiss and Tell (1945)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Corliss Archer, 15, and Mildred Pringle, 17, are best friends, and get into some mischief together which causes their parents to start fighting over who is a bad influence on whom. Their ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Shirley Temple, Jerome Courtland, Walter Abel
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Mary Hagen lives in a small town in Ohio and goes to Jordon Junior College. For years, there has been whispers, rumors and gossip about who are her real parents. When Tom Bates returns to ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Godfrey
Stars: Ronald Reagan, Shirley Temple, Rory Calhoun
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Yusuf
...
Sultan
June Lang ...
Princess Miriam
...
Sultana (as Louise Hovick)
Raymond Scott and His Quintet ...
Themselves (as Raymond Scott and his Quintet)
...
Ishak
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
Edit

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 more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nuits d'Arabie  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Newsreel footage of the many stars appearing at the Carthay Circle Theatre premiere of Wee Willie Winkie (1937) is used for the film's finale. See more »

Quotes

Sultan: I hope you'll enjoy what we've got - if you don't mind taking pot luck?
Ali Baba: Can I get a hot dog and a bottle of pop?
Sultan: Hot dog? Pop?
Ali Baba: That's the great national diet in America. I've just come from there.
Sultan: America? Where is that?
Ali Baba: A great open space between New York and Hollywood.
See more »

Connections

Version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Makin' Whoopee
(1930) (uncredited)
Music by Walter Donaldson
Played during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A 1930s cultural curiosity
2 August 2011 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

ALI BABA GOES TO TOWN (1937) is an interesting historical curiosity for classic movie buffs. It stars famed entertainer Eddie Cantor in one of his rare movie roles. The cast includes such familiar faces as Roland Young, John Carradine, Douglass Dumbrille, and Charles Lane, but also features burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee (a.k.a. Louise Hovick) at the outset of her ill-fated film career. "Looney Tunes" fans and music enthusiasts are also in for a treat seeing Raymond Scott and His Quintet dressed as Arabs and "performing" their eccentric jazz ("Twilight in Turkey") on primitive instruments.

Old movies from Hollywood's Golden Age often serve as time capsules for their era, and that is true with ALI BABA. Meant to be shown for a few weeks in theaters before stepping aside for new features from Hollywood's movie-churning machine, films set out to entertain the audience of their time, never dreaming of being resurrected in the age of home video and TCM. Jokes are often topical, reflecting the political climate or world news of the day. Dance sequences capture an era in music history and small cultural references may be lost on modern viewers.

ALI BABA GOES TO TOWN borrows its premise from Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", inserting a modern man (through a dream) into an old and foreign setting. This time, star-struck autograph seeker Al Babson (Cantor) visits the set of a Hollywood "Arabian Nights" movie, dozes off, and imagines he is in ancient Bagdad, where Roland Young is the real sultan and Douglass Dumbrille is the scheming prince. Cantor reforms Bagdad, introducing American principles of democracy and economics. He shapes Arab society in the image of New Deal America, with amusing (if absurd) modern touches (camel filling stations?) and plenty of cracks at Franklin Roosevelt and 1930s politics.

Eddie Cantor was an entertainer on stage, radio, and screen. He was famous in part, like Al Jolson, for his blackface routines, and there's one in ALI BABA. When the sultan is unable to grab the attention of his tribal African servants, Cantor speaks some Cab Calloway jive and gets them on their feet. Rubbing on his minstrel face paint, Cantor leads the Africans in an extended musical number ("Swing Is Here To Stay"), which earned an Oscar nod for dance direction. The scene was an innocuous inclusion in 1937, but can be a bit uncomfortable for modern viewers in this age of racial sensitivity.

Another great time capsule scene is at the close of the film, where the movie-within-the-movie has its glitzy premiere. It's a look back at the red carpet Hollywood premieres of yesteryear, where stars would be announced as they arrived by an emcee at a microphone. Footage from an authentic movie premiere provides cameos from Hollywood icons like Douglas Fairbanks, Shirley Temple, Tyrone Power, Victor McLaglen, Sonja Henie, Cesar Romero, and Dolores del Rio, as well as other stars of the day whose names haven't stood the test of time.

This Eddie Cantor vehicle is a dated comedy in many ways, but is valuable from a historical perspective. With its political satire and its glimpse of vintage Hollywood, the movie is intriguing. Some of the gags are fun, and it's a rare film that shows John Carradine (in an Arabian get-up, no less) doing a silly little dance. The flying carpet effects are relatively primitive, but fairly effective. I'd never seen Eddie Cantor on film before, and I must say I found his eye-rolling shtick tiresome. But that's probably his trademark and he did know his way around a witty line of dialogue.

Check out ALI BABA GOES TO TOWN if you're a fan of old-time Hollywood. (It helps if you're familiar with the 1930s and recognize names like Eddie Cantor, Gypsy Rose Lee, Roland Young, John Carradine, and Raymond Scott.) It's mildly entertaining, but it's certainly a neat curiosity. Keep an eye out for it.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?