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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
Ali Baba, son of the Kalif of Bagdad is brought up by the 40 Thieves after his father is killed by the soldiers of Hugalu Khan, who received the necessary information by traitor Cassim. Ali becomes the leader of the thieves and they are fighting for the freedom of his land. Per chance Ali captures the fiancée of Hugalu Khan, who turns out to be his girl friend Amara. After a few misunderstandings Ali uses her wedding day with Hugalu Khan as the day for the liberation of Bagdad. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
When Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves came out in 1944 we and most of the rest of the world were waging war against tyranny. Although this retelling of the famous Arabian Nights tale about as far removed from the current situation as you could get, still the folks at Universal Pictures definitely had the current war in mind.
The Mongols are bent on world conquest and they've reached the Caliphate of Bagdad and as the Caliph Moroni Olsen is preparing to counterattack he's betrayed by one of his key noble allies Frank Puglia. Olsen is killed but his son escapes and lives. The boy Scotty Beckett grows up to be Jon Hall and seeks refuge among the band of thieves who have that legendary magic cave where they hide out and stash their loot that opens with the words 'open sesame'. Their leader Fortunio Bonanova adopts the boy and the young prince becomes a thief.
At the palace the young girl he played with as a kid is Puglia's daughter and she grows up to be Maria Montez. Puglia has big plans for her, he wants Montez to marry the great Hulagu Khan himself played by Kurt Katch.
The casting of Katch who incidentally in real life was Jewish played any number of Nazi thug types during and after the war. The casting here was by no means an accident. And Puglia could be taken for any number of collaborator figures like Quisling or Laval. The meaning was quite clear to World War II audiences.
Jon Hall and Maria Montez made any number of these kinds of exotic adventure films for Universal Pictures and became a popular screen team. They look as Middle Eastern as Barry Fitzgerald, but they were good looking and the movie-going public ate it up.
The film is easy to take with clear cut heroes and villains. Which in 1944 no one could mistake.
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