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Arabian Nights (1942)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 1943 (UK)
The caliph of Baghdad must go into hiding with a group of traveling performers when his brother usurps the throne. Both brothers desire a beautiful dancing girl, who is torn between power and true love.


John Rawlins


Michael Hogan (story), Michael Hogan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Hall ... Haroun-Al-Raschid
Maria Montez ... Sherazade
Sabu ... Ali Ben Ali
Leif Erickson ... Kamar (as Leif Erikson)
Billy Gilbert ... Ahmad
Edgar Barrier ... Nadan
Richard Lane ... Corporal
Turhan Bey ... Captain
John Qualen ... Aladdin
Shemp Howard ... Sinbad
William 'Wee Willie' Davis ... Valda
Thomas Gomez ... Hakim
Jeni Le Gon Jeni Le Gon ... Dresser
Robert Greig ... Eunuch
Charles Coleman ... Eunuch


Dancer Scheherazade was told by the stars that she will become wife of the caliph in Bagdad. She tells Kamar, brother of caliph Haroun. He planned a coup d'etat, which failed at first, but supported by the wazir he finally succeeds. Haroun is injured and gets help from Ahmad's actor troupe, where he is nursed by Scheherazade, who doesn't recognize him. When she hears that Kamar is looking for her she goes to him, but is sold with the complete troupe of actors to slavery. They're able to escape, but Haroun is still in danger. To save him, Scheherazade agrees to poison Kamar, but Haroun tries to establish his rulership first. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dashing Thieves of Baghdad...riding out of the magic and splendor of See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film marks the first use of three-strip Technicolor by Universal. See more »


In the 'city' in the desert, there is a sulphur-crested cockatoo in the harem. This bird is a native of Australia, and not known elsewhere until several centuries later. See more »


Aladdin: [to Corporal] If you have to leave, don't go until you come back.
See more »


Featured in Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992) See more »

User Reviews

Technicolor escapist tale...
17 September 2020 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

...with an unpretentious appeal to the child in many of us. In ancient times, the caliph of Baghdad, Haroun-Al-Raschid (Jon Hall), has his throne taken from him by his treacherous brother Kamar (Leif Erickson). The caliph is a fugitive marked for death, but he's rescued by acrobatic performer Ali Ben Ali (Sabu) who introduces the former leader to beautiful dancing girl Sherazade (Maria Montez). All three team up to win back the caliph's throne.

This goofy distraction was a big hit with wartime audiences looking to escape the horrors and worries of the time. And this is certainly "leave your brain at the door" entertainment, has little in common with the source stories, and is targeted at the least discerning of viewers. It fails to live up to the overheated camp heights of the noted Montez-Hall team-up Cobra Woman, though, and that lack of kitsch makes this a more tedious slog. Maria Montez may have been, to put it kindly, limited as an actress. But she had an exotic appeal that made her perfect for these kinds of cheesy sand-and-sex costume adventures churned out by Universal during the war.

Billy Gilbert's performance, in which he seems to scream most of his dialogue, also becomes nails-on-a-chalkboard irritating. As ridiculous as the movie is, it earned 4 Oscar nominations, for Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Art Direction.

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Release Date:

1943 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Arabian Nights See more »


Box Office


$904,765 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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