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The funniest Bowery Boys movies are the ones with the most wildly implausible plots. Anybody who watches a Bowery Boys movie in expectation of deep thoughts on the human condition is looking in the wrong place. 'Bowery to Bagdad' has one of the looniest plots in the entire Bowery Boys series... and it's possibly the funniest of them all. Much of the credit goes to a splendid performance by the veteran character actor Eric Blore, making his only appearance in a Bowery Boys movie.
This movie should actually be titled 'Baghdad to Bowery' because that's the way the action moves. The story starts with a newspaper headline announcing the disappearance of a valuable Oriental lamp. Then we see a montage shot of a couple of bit players pretending to be Arabs (with beards and headcloths) who are searching the entire world for the missing lamp. Of course, it turns up in Louie Dumbrowski's candy shop. (Stranger things have happened in real life: the necklace worn by Mary Queen of Scots when she got her head chopped off later turned up in an obscure antiques shop.)
Needless to say, this is a magic lamp with a genie. The genie is played by Eric Blore with his usual droll humour, wearing a pantomime-genie outfit that includes a turban and a pair of those curly-toed shoes. When Sach (Huntz Hall) frees the genie from the lamp, Blore offers to use his magical powers to give Sach anything he desires. Proving just how big a moron he is, Sach wishes for a long row of chocolate sodas. He also wishes that the genie would enlarge one particular part of his body. Guess which part. Yes, you're right: his biceps. The sight of Huntz Hall swaggering about with Schwarzenegger muscles is truly bizarre.
This film has a larger budget than usual for the Bowery Boys. The genie's magical effects are amusingly depicted with some well-edited jump cuts, of the sort later used on 'Bewitched'. Even the plot is more engaging than usual: the Bowery Boys go up against a gang of deeze-dem-doze crooks who want the lamp (and the genie) for themselves; when the lamp falls temporarily into the gangsters' clutches, I actually felt some concern. The ending is quite funny, with Sach innocently making a wish that lands him and Slip (Leo Gorcey) in big trouble. Speaking of Leo Gorcey, did you know he shared a wife with Groucho Marx? Kay Marvis divorced Gorcey, then later married Groucho. I'll bet she had some interesting stories.
I'll rate 'Bowery to Bagdad' 7 points out of 10. It's a toss-up between this film and 'Master Minds' for the funniest Bowery Boys movie.
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