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The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  25 December 1940 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,283 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 66 critic

After being tricked and cast out of Bagdad by the evil Jaffar, King Ahmad joins forces with a thief named Abu to reclaim his throne, the city, and the Princess he loves.

Writers:

(screen play and dialogue), (scenario by) (as Lajos Biro) , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

The Thief of Bagdad (1940) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Mark Dightam, Robert Eddison, Helen Weir
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Abu
...
Princess
John Justin ...
Ahmad
...
Miles Malleson ...
Sultan
Morton Selten ...
The Old King
Mary Morris ...
Halima / Six-Armed Lady
Bruce Winston ...
The Merchant
Hay Petrie ...
Astrologer
Adelaide Hall ...
Singer
Roy Emerton ...
Jailer
Allan Jeayes ...
The Story Teller
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Storyline

Prince Ahmad is the rightful King of Bagdad but he has been blinded and cast out as a beggar. Now a captive of the wicked Grand Vizier Jaffar he is cast into a dungeon where he meets Abu, the best thief in all Bagdad. Together they escape and set about a series of adventures that involve a Djinni in a bottle, a mechanical flying horse, an all-seeing magic jewel, a flying carpet and a beautiful princess. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

thief | king | flying | princess | prince | See All (168) »

Taglines:

THE WONDER of the masked magician who transforms a prince into a beggar...a boy into a barking dog! (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le voleur de Bagdad  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed at London's Denham Studios, which had just merged with J. Arthur Rank's nearby Pinewood Studios. See more »

Goofs

Despite taking place in the ancient Middle East, several scenes show local people speaking in Hindi, which is spoken in India. (Again, it's "Oriental" enough for a 1940s audience not to notice.) See more »

Quotes

Princess: You don't look wicked. Are you a good Djinni?
Ahmad: Not too good. Very good Djinni are just as tiresome as very good men.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Thief of Bagdad (1924) See more »

Soundtracks

I Want To Be A Sailor
(uncredited)
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by Robert Vansittart
Additional Lyrics by William Kernell
Performed by Sabu
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Still a Solidly Wonderful Fantasy After Sixty-Plus Years
15 February 2004 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

The story of the boy thief of Bagdad (as it was once spelled) has attracted filmmakers from Raoul Walsh in 1924, who starred Douglas Fairbanks in the first, silent, rendering of "Thief of Bagdad," to less imposing, more recent attempts. The best, however, remains 1940's version which for its time was a startling, magical panoply of top quality special effects. Those effects still work their charm.

No less than six directors are listed for the technicolor movie which starred Sabu as the boy thief, Abu, John Justin as the dreamily in love deposed monarch, Ahmad and June Duprez as the lovely princess sought by Ahmad and pursued by the evil vizier, Jaffar, played by a sinister Conrad Veidt. The giant genie is ably acted by Rex Ingram.

Ahmad is treacherously deposed by Jaffar and when later arrested by that traitorous serpent, he and the boy, Abu, suffer what are clearly incapacitating fates. Ahmad is rendered blind and Abu becomes a lovable mutt. Their adventures through the gaily decorated Hollywood backlots are fun but the special effects make this film work.

Two men were responsible for everything from a magic flying carpet to the gargantuan genie who pops out of a bottle with a tornado-like black swirl: Lawrence W. Butler and Tom Howard. (Howard, incidentally, did the special effects for the 1961 version of this film. Both men had long and distinguished careers in technical wizardry.)

Duprez is outstandingly lovely while little called on for serious acting. Justin's Ahmad projects a driven but dreamy romanticism untouched by erotic impulses. Sabu is really the central actor in many scenes and he's very good. For a movie meant for kids as well as adults there's a fair amount of violence but of the bloodless kind. Still, I don't think anyone under eight ought to see "Thief of Bagdad."

This film makes periodic appearances on TV but today my teenage son and I saw it in a theater with quite a few youngsters present. It was great to see computer-besotted kids in an affluent community respond with cheers and applause to special effects that must seem primitive to them.

"Thief of Bagdad" is a pre-war Hollywood classic from a time when strong production values often resulted in enduringly attractive and important releases. This is one of the best of its kind.

9/10.


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