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The Wonders of Aladdin (1961)

Le meraviglie di Aladino (original title)
A poor young man finds a magic lamp that possesses a genie, who will grant the boy three wishes if he sets him free from the lamp.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Noëlle Adam ...
Djalma
...
Aldo Fabrizi ...
...
...
Omar
...
Prince Moluk (as Mario Girotti)
Fausto Tozzi ...
Luigi Tosi
Marco Tulli ...
Fakir
Raymond Bussières ...
Magician
Alberto Farnese ...
Bandit Chieftain
Franco Ressel ...
Vizier's Lieutenant
Vittorio Bonos ...
Lamp Merchant
Adriana Facchetti ...
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Storyline

A poor young man finds a magic lamp that possesses a genie, who will grant the boy three wishes if he sets him free from the lamp.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

13 December 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wonders of Aladdin  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Fonolux)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This one of three films that Lux was going to produce starring 'Steve Reeves' (they had co-produced Hercules Unchained (1959)). They were able to get Reeves for the other two productions, The Thief of Baghdad (1961) and Morgan, the Pirate (1960). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Leading Man with Reed Birney (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's forgotten for a reason : contrived, unfunny and laborious
1 November 2013 | by (the rock) – See all my reviews

THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN is an Arabian PEPLUM adventure which makes little sense. The screenplay, by Bava and others, is point blank terrible. I'd like to write a comprehensive review of it but the story is near incomprehensible that I can't review it because I still don't know what the story is about. It meanders here and there with no semblance of a cohesive storyline or logic.

The first thing which stands out is that Aladdin is played by a 35 year old Donald O'Connor. I don't need to say anything more about this.

Aladdin still lives with his mother who one day buys a cheap lamp which 'makes noise'. Now who would buy a lamp or even sell a lamp that makes noise? This 'noisy' lamp is meant to be funny but it's just the beginning of a series of comedic touches or jokes which aren't comical or funny in any way, shape or form.

Now Aladdin accidentally rubs the lamp while scratching himself because he has fleas (!!!). Like the 'noisy' lamp, the scenes featuring fleas go one endlessly and never illicit any laughs. I've never thought of seeing a movie waste 10 minutes of film on stupid fleas. It's overkill.

The film continues on here and there with nary a story. Now the lack of story could be fine if the direction and pacing and dialogue where amusing but it's not. There are aspects of this story which beggars belief: such as Aladdin NEVER knowing how to summon the Genie (played with complete indifference by Vittorio De Sica). Once Aladdin figures he can summon a Genie he never asks for money, love, etc. It never dawns on Aladdin to ask the Genie to grant him all of his wishes. The Genie is simply there like a prop whenever Aladdin is in a predicament. At one point, Aladdin tries to summon the Genie but since he doesn't remember how he did it the first time (see above i.e. fleas) in one scene we have to endure O'Connor goofing around, rubbing his stomach and such. A-ha! Again not funny. Just stupid and forced. This moment happens 30 minutes into the film and we still can't see any semblance of a storyline. Aladdin and his slave (Milton Reid) are stranded in the desert after a battle. The two end up being captured by desert Amazons who want to mate with them and kill them afterwards but Aladdin figures out how to get the Genie to get them out of there and bam they're back in the desert, walking in a chain-gang. The entire scene with the Amazons, who look like Las Vegas showgirls, was pointless. They could cut it out and go from the scene before and then to the chain-gang moment and it wouldn't make any difference. It's inconsistent and padded and nonsensical as that.

O'Connor was a talented and his artistry does shine through from time to time but for the love of God he was totally miscast. Terence Hill is in this and he's wasted in a pointless role. The whole project feels aborted and misconceived. Steve Reeves was supposed to star in this and the European film company LUX changed their minds as Steve was going to star in a couple of other productions, including the much better and more successful THIEF OF BAGHDAD. So they cast O'Connor instead of Reeves. How does one go from Steve Reeves to Donald O'Connor is a total mystery.

So to recap:

The bad: unfunny jokes, lame action scenes, terrible meandering script, padded. The complete total lack of any sense of wonder.

The good: locations, great score by Angelo F Lavagnino and a scene or two showcasing O'Connor's talents.


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