On the run after being found sweet-talking the Sultan's daughter, Aladdin comes upon a lamp which, when rubbed, summons up Babs the genie. He uses it to return as a visiting prince asking ... See full summary »
On the run after being found sweet-talking the Sultan's daughter, Aladdin comes upon a lamp which, when rubbed, summons up Babs the genie. He uses it to return as a visiting prince asking for the princess's hand. Unfortunately for him, the sultan's wicked twin brother has secretly usurped the throne, someone else is after the lamp for his own ends, and Babs has taken a shine to Aladdin herself and is bent on wrecking his endeavours. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Thousand and One Nights is a rollicking, bawdy and unapologetically 40s vision of the ancient Arabian legend of Aladdin.
Just as Disney's animated feature "Aladdin" updated the genie-in-a-bottle storyline for the 90s mindset, this exploration fuses the epic musical film style of big-budget Hollywood films in post-War America with the cultural stereotypes surrounding the Middle East. The results are a fantastic, if laughable, adventure movie, geared towards young adults and the elderly, but with plenty to chew on even for children.
Imaginative sets and superb costumes present a lavish spectacle of colour and brilliant old school special effects combine with well-performed choreography to keep the action and laughs rolling, and the viewer suitably engaged. However, the cinematography and lighting are disappointingly one-dimensional, suggesting more of a stage adaptation than an original film.
Performances, especially vocal, are largely impressive. For a script that contains a bewildering assortment of varied characters, often singing choruses, a great cast of character actors is needed, and it's definitely the largely uncredited bit parts and cameos (Shelley Winters!) that make this ensemble memorable. With a wooden lead in Cornel Wilde (Aladdin), best friend Abdullah (Phil Silvers) really picks up the slack, with an endless stream of predictable--yet nonetheless witty--wisecracks. Even Babs (Evelyn Keyes), the emotionally-berserk female genie, manages to convincingly portray a noticeably pathetic, but likable, co- starring lead.
All told, this one's a must for film fans of days of yore and students of Hollywood Orientalism alike. If the rousing music and generous matte sets don't sweep you off your feet, the astonishingly ludicrous premise of a comedic epic musical based on an ancient tale of dread and magic will have you rolling on the floor laughing.
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