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8 user 3 critic

The Palace of Arabian Knights (1905)

Le palais des mille et une nuits (original title)
A poor but honest young man wins the hand of a beautiful Princess after facing a series of exciting adventures involving apparitions, cartwheeling skeletons, a dragon, and plump dancing girls from the Folies Bergere.

Director:

Georges Méliès
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Cast

Credited cast:
Georges Méliès ... The Sorcerer Khalafar
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Storyline

Combining opulently designed scenery, lavish ensembles, and an abundance of theatrical props with a festival of spectacular visual effects, this astonishing oriental féerie of thirty impressive tableaux forms a burlesque concoction of Asian exoticism and the Folies Bergère. Although penniless, the noble and love-smitten Prince Sourire (Smile) of Arabia aspires to marry the alluring Princess Indigo, daughter of the powerful Sultan Rajah, unbeknownst to him that the love of his life is already promised to the unscrupulous usurer, Sakaram. However, the inconsolable youth is not alone. By a welcome twist of fate, the puissant genie of the lamp and mighty sorcerer, Khalafar, takes Smile under his wing, furnishing him with a formidable enchanted sword to confront the innumerable pitfalls strewn in his path. Up against murderous skeletons, malevolent djinns, and a furious dragon, the valiant prince will eventually find himself before the munificent Gold Fairy at the glorious Palace of the ... Written by Nick Riganas

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Plot Keywords:

1900s | 900s | anatolia | east | eastern | See All (75) »


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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

29 May 1905 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Palace of Arabian Knights See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Star-Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Color (hand-colored)| Black and White
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Connections

Referenced in Filmstunde: Filmstunde 4 (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Visually Impressive, Otherwise A Bit Below Méliès's Best
1 November 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This Georges Méliès fantasy feature is impressive visually, with all kinds of interesting detail in the settings, costumes, and the like, plus plenty of Méliès's renowned camera tricks. The story is interesting but often vague, and many of the details are now difficult or impossible to decipher. When Méliès made involved features like this, he used to write a verbal narrative designed to be read at the screening, to explain the action on the screen. Unfortunately, once that gets lost, it becomes very hard for future audiences to appreciate the movie as much as its original audiences did.

The story is the familiar one of a princess who is in love with a young man whom her father does not accept. So the young man has to go through all kinds of ordeals and trials in the hope of winning her hand after all. Many of the sequences are quite involved, and it is worth watching over again to piece together as much of the action as possible. Even then, it is probably not possible to catch all of the detail.

Yet regardless of the missing story details, like almost all of Méliès's movies it is worth seeing for the visual effects. His distinctive backgrounds are often stylized even for their time, but they are always interesting, and often quite elaborate. He throws in a generous supply of stop-action trick shots, pyrotechnics, offbeat choreography, and the like, all of which are good for their time.

This would not by any measure be among Méliès's best features, but then that is a very high standard. Those unfamiliar with his work would find many other Méliès movies more enjoyable than this, but like all of his movies, it still has enough to be worth watching.


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