In the time of the Arabian Nights, the city of Baghdad is ruled by Sultan Ali Bajazeth but actually controlled by the scheming Grand Vizier Ghamal. The poor of Baghdad are aided by Karim, the Thief of Baghdad.
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
Douglas Fairbanks actually owned the rights to the title of the film, which had been one of his biggest hits, The Thief of Bagdad (1924). When Alexander Korda decided to produce an epic version of one of the "1001 Arabian Nights" tales, he found the popularity and draw of Fairbanks' original title irresistible. In a 1938 banquet at the Savoy Hotel in London, Korda made sure he was seated next to Fairbanks and negotiated the rights to the film over dinner. See more »
Almost all of the characters mispronounce "Allah". The first syllable rhymes with "dull" or "null", but in the film, most pronounce it as rhyming with "pal" or "gal." See more »
You don't look wicked. Are you a good djinni?
Not too good. Very good djinni are just as tiresome as very good men.
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Three flash-backs introduce the main characters (Abu, Jaffar, and the Princess) who will interact with Ahmad; three are the songs, each linked to those same characters. Three times does Ahmad pronounce the absolute word 'Time', in his declaration of love to the Princess, answering her three questions at their first of three meetings. So strong is the impression he causes, that the Princess will resist the three attempts by Jaffar to conquer her - by three successive ploys: deceit, hypnosis, and memory erasing. Yet, Jaffar owns what he describes as the three inescapable instruments of domination over a woman: the whip, the power, and the sword. Three is the number of flying entities: the mechanical-horse, the Genie, and the The Genie and the magic carpet. The Genie offers three wishes to Abu at their first of three encounters; three times does the Genie laugh loud in the mountain gorges, and three are his considerations about human frailty, before he departs. Abu overcomes three obstacles in the Temple of Dawn (armed guards, giant-spider, and giant-octopus). Three are the instruments of justice: the magical eye that shows Abu the future, the magical carpet that transports him just in time to save Ahmad and the Princess, and the bow-and-arrow to execute Jaffar. There's magic in the number three, and there is magic in this movie.
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