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The tale of Ali Baba (to use the more common Western spelling) is one of those generic stories, the details of which tend to be pretty loose: there are 40 thieves, there's a magical cave ... See full summary »
Ali Baba, son of the Kalif of Bagdad is brought up by the 40 Thieves after his father is killed by the soldiers of Hugalu Khan, who received the necessary information by traitor Cassim. Ali becomes the leader of the thieves and they are fighting for the freedom of his land. Per chance Ali captures the fiancée of Hugalu Khan, who turns out to be his girl friend Amara. After a few misunderstandings Ali uses her wedding day with Hugalu Khan as the day for the liberation of Bagdad.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I saw this a few days ago after a gap of many years and it's still fun to watch. There was a whole spate of these highly colored Arabian Nights adventures in the 1940's and audiences lapped them up. The fun now is in the apparent seriousness with which they were made and the earnestness of not very good actors and actresses spouting there quasi poetic dialog.
These films were bonanzas for the exotic looking performers of the period, Turhan Bey, Jon Hall and Maria Montez (one of the lust objects of my adolescence). She would often wear quite revealing see-through dresses and there was always at least one scene where she emerged from a bath or swimming pool, quickly being discretely covered by large towels borne by hand-maidens.
Extras were cheap in those days and so there is a cast of thousands but most of the time the director does no more than fill the screen with bodies. Look at the battle scenes and you will see most of the participants are just waving their scimitars in the air aimlessly.
Ali Baba has wicked caliphs and valiant freedom fighters battling it out in the Hollywood desert. The ridiculousness of the All American Andy Devine as an Arab. Fairy tale cardboard castles. All makes for colorful entertainment.
I give it 8 out 10.
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