he travels to Aladdin's village, identified as being near the border with China, where he enlists Aladdin's help by pretending to be his long-lost uncle and offering to leave his wealth to ... See full summary »
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Alexandra Nicole Hulme,
he travels to Aladdin's village, identified as being near the border with China, where he enlists Aladdin's help by pretending to be his long-lost uncle and offering to leave his wealth to Aladdin. At one point, the Magician character tells the story of his travels to China, India and Persia and we see a montage of these adventures and it's kind of interesting because of the way it invokes other cultures of the era. There is some unnecessary padding throughout as characters break into songs that do nothing but tell parts of Once upon a time, somewhere in Africa, a local magician dreamed of owning the Magic Lamp. Thanks to a Magic Ball he learned that the Lamp could be found in an Asian village and that only the innocent hand of a young person could snatch it. He traveled to the place, a village called "Three Hill City", close to the Chinese border. There lived Aladin, a boy who could help him to grab the Lamp. Which he did. But what was not planned is that Aladin kept the Lamp for ... Written by
ALADDIN AND HIS MAGIC LAMP (1970) is a feature-length adaptation of the Aladdin story directed by pioneering French animator Jean Image who, in 1950, directed France's first animated feature, JEANNOT L'INTREPIDE (aka JOHNNY THE GIANT KILLER). This is a weaker, lower-budgeted film than JEANNOT, but it's still an interesting cartoon version of the famous Arabian Nights tale. The dramatic parts are compelling but they're too often interrupted by juvenile sight gags, dull songs, and bizarre character animation that looks very cheaply done and suffers from the occasional racial and ethnic stereotype. The version I have is 71 min. long and was released on VHS by Prism Entertainment in 1989 and made from a print dubbed into English and copyrighted 1983 by Joseph Brenner Associates. The dubbers sound like familiar New York-based actors who dubbed a lot of early anime and Italian genre films (Hercules movies, Italian westerns and the like). Except for the two actors who do Aladdin (one as a child and one as a young man), the dubbing is generally pretty good.
The villain who uses Aladdin to get the lamp is never given a name other than "the Magician of Egypt," or so the narrator tells us. He does, in fact, live in Egypt--inside the Sphinx!--and he travels to Aladdin's village, identified as being near the border with China, where he enlists Aladdin's help by pretending to be his long-lost uncle and offering to leave his wealth to Aladdin. At one point, the Magician character tells the story of his travels to China, India and Persia and we see a montage of these adventures and it's kind of interesting because of the way it invokes other cultures of the era. There is some unnecessary padding throughout as characters break into songs that do nothing but tell parts of the story that could have been better told through dialogue or action. All the songs are in English and were evidently written for the English dub crew, which begs the question of what the French originals sounded like. Padding is also provided by tiresome gag sequences such as one where a parade of elephants carrying Aladdin's gifts for the princess all do dance steps together as they proceed to the Sultan's palace.
The painted backgrounds are often very lovely and are worth seeing for those interested in background art and design. There are occasional original imaginative touches such as the tree people in the cave of treasures who entice Aladdin with rubies, emeralds and diamonds that seem to grow out of them. Also, despite the odd-looking character design for Aladdin and the Princess (named "Badrulbadur"), in which they have super-wide heads, the two characters themselves are quite endearing and their affection for each other is believably presented. In fact, they sing a duet together, one of the few songs that isn't annoying.
The credits at the beginning of the print seen on this tape are all in French and the voice actors credited are the French ones. There were no credits for the English voice dubbers or songwriters.
I saw this right after seeing 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, the Mr. Magoo version of the Aladdin tale, also reviewed on this site. The Jean Image version is far superior. I also watched a Japanese animated version, ALADDIN AND THE MAGIC LAMP (1982), which boasts more beautifully detailed artwork and character design and offers a more serious tone, but suffers from presenting Aladdin as a much less sympathetic character. Both of these other versions are also reviewed on this site.
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