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Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

A boy prince, raised by forty thieves, takes revenge on the Mongol invaders who murdered his father and stole his kingdom.

Director:

Arthur Lubin

Writer:

Edmund L. Hartmann (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maria Montez ... Amara
Jon Hall ... Ali Baba
Turhan Bey ... Jamiel
Andy Devine ... Abdullah
Kurt Katch ... Hulagu Khan
Frank Puglia ... Prince Cassim
Fortunio Bonanova ... Old Baba
Moroni Olsen ... Caliph Hassan
Ramsay Ames ... Nalu
Chris-Pin Martin ... Fat Thief
Scotty Beckett ... Ali Baba as a Child
Yvette Duguay ... Amara as a Girl
Noel Cravat Noel Cravat ... Mongol Captain
Jimmy Conlin Jimmy Conlin ... Little Thief
Harry Cording ... Mahmoud
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Storyline

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 <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

IN FLAMING TECHNICOLOR and THousands in Thrilling Spectacles! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alí Babá y los 40 ladrones See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The reason the plot of the fairy tale wasn't used for the movie may have had something to do with the fact that in the original fairy tale, there are some 42 murders; the first is Ali Baba's cousin, and the other 41 are those of the 40 thieves themselves and, later, their ringleader, who arrives at Ali Baba's disguised as a merchant and thirsting for revenge. He is the last of the Forty Thieves to die. The others die when, after smuggling themselves into Ali Baba's house in wine casks, boiling hot water is poured into each of the casks containing a bandit. See more »

Goofs

When the thieves are singing as they return to the cave the camera is leading them. The tire tracks of the camera car are plainly visible in the sand in front of the horse's hooves. See more »

Quotes

Abdullah: For a man's country or his stomach he might bid his life; even for his horse. Never, never for a woman.
See more »

Connections

Version of Alì Babà (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Song of the Forty Thieves
Lyrics by J. Keirn Brennen
Music by Edward Ward
Performed by Universal Studio Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Technicolor is Pretty Spiffy
14 October 2006 | by john-2448See all my reviews

I'm mostly commenting just to double the number of comments on this film. The film has a nice brisk pace and attractive leads. It's mostly a fun light-hearted piece of escapist entertainment, with the only problems being that the sets, costumes, and Andy Devine all keep reminding us that it is a Hollywood film being staged for the cameras. The sets often look horribly fake, the costumes look brand new and freshly dry-cleaned, in order to look good in Technicolor one supposes. The back projections are just awful, and absurdly fake.

There's one scene when the 40 thieves are riding off furiously in a cloud of dust, as seen from a distance. Then we get a close up of the three leaders, each in turn, wearing bright clean clothes, and apparently sitting on coin-operated horses in front of some grainy back projection. It's unintentionally funny. And Andy Devine is the least convincing Arab thief ever. He's supposed to be comic relief, akin to Friar Tuck in many versions of Robin Hood. However, his line readings are awful, with his voice cracking most of the time, apparently in an attempt at humor. It's as if he strolled on to the wrong set, grabbed a freshly laundered costume and misguidedly decided to join in.

If you watch Ali Baba today, it can be viewed as a commentary on the US presence in Iraq. An outside invader (here the Mongols) has sacked and overtaken Baghdad. A popular insurrection boils in the countryside, but is dismissed by the invaders as merely the work of thieves and troublemakers. The occupier goes in for torture and bullying of the opposition, etc. The film does date from the middle of WWII, so it is unsurprising if some references to war and then-current events seeps through.

If you want to see a better film on this theme, I'd recommend Douglass Fairbanks in The Thief of Baghdad. (I haven't seen the 1940 Sabu re-make yet). Or for those more adventurous in their cinematic tastes, Lotte Reiniger's The Adventures of Prince Achmed is an amazing silhouette animation film from 1926, which is stunningly beautiful.


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