Terrific peplum, great showcase for Iloosh Khoshabe/Rod Flash
The only print I have found of this rare peplum is a medium-quality, black and white, full-screen 16mm VHS from Something Weird; there is at least one bootleg DVD-R available, but it has the SW watermark.
But, even seen under these poor conditions, this movie is a stand-out, one of the best peplum actioners I've seen. Basic plot: Ali Baba (Rod Flash, aka Iloosh Khoshabe aka Richard Lloyd) has hidden the sacred crown in the open-sesame cave; the bad guys who want it capture Ali and repeatedly torture him (and his companions, including the obligatory dwarf); the villain's daughter falls in love with Ali and helps him escape; there is a big battle at the end.
The film brims with zest. Ali Baba is a joyous and lustful fellow, often seen getting out of the bed of a satisfied-looking woman. The various tortures and tests to which he is subjected are among the most devilishly complicated and sadistic ever seen in a peplum. And Ali's love-hate affair with the villain's daughter is HOT.
Of the peplums Khosabe made this is by far his best showcase. He bares his chest early in the film and stays half-naked throughout his torments and tests as well as his eventual triumph, with lots of close-ups of his straining back, brawny chest, and strikingly handsome face. When he is dressed, in a revealing Arabian Nights outfit, the designers show off his physique splendidly.
I hope one day to see this movie in a widescreen, color format (is there an archive print somewhere in Europe?), so as to enjoy it in its full glory.
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