The Seven Tasks of Ali Baba (1962) Poster

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7/10
Terrific peplum, great showcase for Iloosh Khoshabe/Rod Flash
steven-22220 February 2009
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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4/10
Lots of stuff going on, but none of it's very interesting
Leofwine_draca11 January 2015
Thoroughly unentertaining Arabian Nights adventure yarn, let down by a plodding derivative script and a lack of budget which fails to make any of the sets or locations realistic. The film consists of people fighting, talking, getting captured, escaping, fighting, round and round in an endless circle with little in the way of originality to distinguish it from the other Italian productions of the period. I still find it hard to understand why the Italians decided to make Ali Baba films without any magical elements or exoticism, aside from that old cliché of the "Open Sesame!" hidden door - surely the exotic locales and characters should be exploited to their full extent rather than going through the motions in what, if you changed the settings and costumes, would be another run-of-the-mill peplum yarn.

All in all it's a pretty violent film with lots of people dying violent, tortured deaths. Unfortunately the action scenes are few and far between and invariably disappoint in their sheer shoddiness, with guys hitting each other with lumps of wood with no skill. Sometimes somebody hits someone else with a sword but there's no blood. The only time this film gets kind-of exciting is in the blood-and-thunder finale. The best thing this production has to offer are some colourful costumes and a "far eastern" theme tune which is repeated over and over throughout. Rod Flash (VULCAN, SON OF JUPITER) is the musclebound meathead of a hero who wanders through the plot, Bella Cortez (GIANT OF METROPOLIS) the most watchable plot element as the voluptuous love interest who wanders around in low-cut clothes. The bad guy, as played by Furio Meniconi, isn't nearly evil enough for this kind of production.

Also thrown into the cooking pot of the plot are a friendly dwarf, tribal dances, a wicked witch who consults her crystal ball, a huge spiked pendulum torture device which knocks people into burning pits, a gang of guys in joke-shop fright masks, Ali Baba's hilarious "screams" of agony when he gets wounded, the same bloody wound being burnt closed with a knife, and some mystical mumbo jumbo but no special effects - the budget wouldn't stretch that far. There's always something going on in the film but the problem is that it just isn't very interesting. Three years later, director Emimmo Salvi returned with ALI BABA AND THE 7 SARACENS, an unconnected sequel which saw Rod Flash (apparently without his muscles), Bella Cortez, and the dwarf actor returning in a greatly improved and more entertaining production - thanks in part to Gordon Mitchell's totally over-the-top portrayal of the manic bad guy. See that one instead.
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8/10
Worth Seeking Out - aka Ali Baba and The Sacred Crown
Scott_Mercer1 February 2014
(Pretty sure that what I was saw was The Seven Tasks of Ali Baba, and not a different movie, though titled as Ali Baba and The Sacred Crown...)

I agree with the other commenter. This is a very entertaining action filled peplum with a decent budget and thrilling action sequences. Judging the acting is usually a bit tough in dubbed films, but it seems quite decent for the genre.

Now Something Weird Video has uncovered a much better, full color transfer of this apparently rare film. The colors are fairly bright and the image is a bit soft, but it is pretty well free of the missing frames, scratches and blips you see on some of these Euro sword and sandal flicks from SWV or Mill Creek Entertainment.

I saw this online via Something Weird's streaming service. Not sure if they have gone to the extra step of offering it on a DVD or DVD-R though. So your options for seeing this may be limited at the moment. Definitely worthwhile if you are fan of the genre.
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