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Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 390 users  
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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 »

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(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)

Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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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 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  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

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: Wait, I think I've got something! You don't have to be a sultan - you can resign!
Sultan: Resign? Desert my throne? Forsake my people? Allah would never forgive me.
Ali Baba: You don't have to desert your people. You can go on being the head man, but instead of sultan you become a president.
Sultan: A what?
Ali Baba: A president, like they have in America.
Sultan: Well, does he rule the country?
Ali Baba: Does he rule the country? Hunh! Ask the Republicans!
See more »

Connections

Version of Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (1979) 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

 
Eddie brings Americana to Iraq 65 years too early
31 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's always a treat to see another Eddie Cantor film, rarely shown on TV and slow to be transferred to the latest video technology. Eddie dreams he has traveled to Bagdad, where he becomes Ali Baba, becoming involved in palace politics and initiating an Americanization program. He introduces swing music and finally convinces the reluctant sultan to replace his hereditary position with an elected president, with the understanding that the sultan will have no meaningful opposition. Eddie arranges for rally signs displaying various New Deal slogans and also nicknames the sultan(Abdullah) "Honest Abe". But, the people overwhelmingly elect Eddie, even though he isn't running. They dig his swing music played by a Harlem band, his humor and his enthusiasm for reforms benefiting them. The Sultan wins only 2 districts: garbled versions of Maine and Vermont, which were the only 2 states FDR didn't carry in the 1936 elections. Eddie is now in big trouble with the sultan, who is determined to make good on his threat to boil Eddie in oil. Eddie has to get away from here fast, but how? He finds a magic flying carpet, but the magic word to make it fly isn't known. Eddie guesses "inflation", since FDR thinks that should make the economy fly. It works, but without a steering wheel, Eddie is at the mercy of its whims as to where it takes him. His troubles aren't over yet....I'm sure, the screen writers would be shocked if they knew that Iraq would be forcibly subjected to an Americanization campaign only 65 years later.

The musical highlight is the "Swing is Here to Stay" scene: an all African American effort, if we include Eddie in black face as an AA. The supposed band consists of AAs dressed as various native African tribals playing mostly obvious fake ornate or primitive musical instruments while dancing around. Meanwhile, Eddie struts and dances and sings in front, eventually being replaced by Jeni Le Gon, as a wild native dancer, then by the Peters Sisters, primarily a singing trio, with some footwork included. The Peters Sisters pretty well filled up the screen, being on the heavy side, but I enjoyed their act the most. They repeated their performance near the end of the film. It's too bad this seems to be the highlight of their very limited film career, although they continued to perform for several more decades. They may also be seen-heard on DVD in "Hi Di Ho" and heard on the CD "The Jazz Train", although I have not seen or heard these.


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