In Bagdad, the young and naive Sultan Ahmad is curious about the behavior of his people. The Grand Vizier Jaffar convinces Ahmad to walk through the city disguised as a subject to know his people. Then he seizes the power telling to the inhabitants that Ahmad has died while he sends his army to arrest the Sultan that is thrown into the dungeons and sentenced to death. Ahmad befriends the young thief Abu that helps him to escape from the prison. They flee to Basra and plan to travel abroad with Sinbad. However Ahmad stumbles upon the beautiful princess and they fall in love with each other. But the evil Jaffar has also traveled to Basra to propose to marry the princess. When they see each other, Jaffar uses magic to blind Ahmad and turn Abu into a dog. Is their love doomed? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
An utterly beautiful film, one of a handful of I saw when young that entranced me then and still do, in Thief's case the impression actually seems to get better with the passing of time. By the '90's my daughter and I had seen it many times on TV but still went to the pictures when it came to the local art-house cinema when it had finished we came out starry eyed with heads full of poetry and Miklos Rozsa's stirring music wishing it could have lasted a couple of hours longer and thinking what a beautiful world it suddenly was again.
Idealistic Prince Ahmad wants to slum it amongst his people for a while to check things out, but evil Vizier Jaffar takes his chance to imprison him and seize the throne. After escaping with a little thief played by Sabu, Ahmad spots a Princess and they fall blindingly in love along the way they have many adventures (although apparently not enough for Sabu!) and Love not only conquers but annihilates everything. The special effects must have been mesmerising in 1940, but Time has taken its toll and lessened their impact especially since digital cartoonery has taken over even live action but they still hold up well compared against films like Superman from 40 years later. Anyway, if I'm requested to suspend disbelief in gargantuan guffawing genies, flying horses and carpets I also suspend disbelief in perfect special effects! Favourite bits: the dreamy scene in the sunlit garden when Ahmad reveals himself and Adelaide Hall's suitably romantic song; the stunning colours in the tent in the Land Of Legend in fact, the stunning colours throughout; Sabu and Rozsa's triumphant but still wistful finale. Conrad Veidt played the baddie in two of the most incredible movie romances ever, this and Casablanca, and then died. John Justin and June Duprez were great in the leading roles of lovers, both of them slightly and refreshingly stilted, but the parts didn't call for a huge range of emotions: only pure love mattered.
There's a couple of mildly violent images in it, but rest assured this is a glorious feelgood experience with a 100% positive message, it's only a pity that nowadays little kids don't watch this instead of the porn they prefer. One of my Top 10 film favourites, I can't recommend this too much may it be shown to the end of Time.
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