HTF REVIEW: "The Thief of Bagdad" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG]

    The Thief of Bagdad




    Studio: MGM
    Year: 1940
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 106 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish



    The Wonder Picture of All Time
    It's easy to see why Thief of Bagdad remains
    one of the most spectacular fantasy films of our time.
    Not only is it filled with wondrous effects and objects
    such as flying carpets, a genie and a monstrous spider,
    but it is also considered one of the greatest British
    Technicolor films. This Technicolor remake of Douglas
    Fairbanks’ 1924 Arabian adventure was quite an elaborate
    film, costing more than the previous year’s Gone
    With the Wind
    . When you consider this film was
    made over 60 years ago, you can truly appreciate
    the spectacular special effects. In fact, the film
    won three Academy Awards including Best (Color)
    Cinematography.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Once upon a time there was a king named Ahmad (John
    Justin). Though he was the most powerful man of
    all Bagdad, he was dissatisfied with his meaningless
    life of material wealth. He wished to break out in
    some way, to connect with his citizens. Jaffar
    (Conrad Veidt) his evil Vizier, concocts a nasty
    trick that disposes the king, making him the King
    of Bagdad himself.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Ahmad ends up in jail with a common street thief,
    Abu (Sabu), but together they escape to Basra.
    While there, Ahmad sets his eyes on the Sultan's
    daughter (June Duprez) and falls in love. The evil
    Jaffar wants the Princess for himself, and when
    Ahmad interferes, Jaffar blinds him and turns Abu
    into a dog. Eventually, Abu regains his rightful
    form, but Jaffar has taken the Princess captive
    aboard a sailing vessel. Abu and Ahmad give chase,
    encountering a powerful genie, a giant spider, an
    All-Seeing Eye and a flying carpet along the way
    to a mystical final showdown.
    This enchanting film seems so far ahead of its
    time and certainly had to be an inspiration for
    many of the fantasy films that followed it, including
    Disney's animated Aladdin
    How is the transfer?
    Throughout this movie the incredibly vivid colours
    of the Technicolor process never ceases to dazzle.
    If any magic was done on the part of MGM, it was
    providing a nearly pristine transfer that would make
    anyone hard pressed to believe that this film is
    60 years old. Image is mostly clean throughout,
    with hardly a blemish to be seen. It's just rarely
    that one sees noise within some of the lighter
    scenes, particularly those shot on the island beach.
    The DVD sports such amazing clarity that it's
    actually the effects work that suffers the most, not
    looking as seamless as it would on an inferior format.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The mono soundtrack is generally clear, but a
    little on the muffled side with a low detection
    of background hiss. I attribute this solely to
    the age of the film, and considering that, the
    DVD sounds fairly good.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    The only added feature here is the film's original
    theatrical trailer.
    Final Thoughts
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    With its wonderful magical story and beautiful
    Technicolor images, The Thief of Bagdad is
    still as impressive today as it was in 1940. This
    film deserves to sit beside other classics like
    7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and The Argonauts,
    Golden Voyage of Sinbad
    and Clash of the Titans.
    Fantasy film lovers -- don't pass this one up!
    Release Date: December 3, 2002
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Now, this is what I'm talkin about! I can't wait to get my copy.




    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    All I can say is "Wow." Those screenshots look fantastic.
    I have criticized MGM in the past for shoddy work on older catalogue titles, but this one looks like a winner.
    Can't wait to get my hands on it! [​IMG]
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I think the Samuel Goldwyn company did the restoration a few years ago. I saw this film on TV not too long ago and it looked fantastic...

    Technicolor HAS to be seen like this to be enjoyed. MGM has another sale.
     
  5. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Great film and I love the screenshots Ron [​IMG] looking at them puts me in the mood to watch this film again, I like the dvd cover too![​IMG]
     
  6. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley Second Unit

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    Wasn't there another version of this with Peter Ustinov, Pavla Ustinov, Terence Stamp and Frank Finlay? Is that one also available on DVD? In search of the Blue Rose had always haunted me for the longest time!

    G2
     
  7. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Looks like MGM has got itself another sale
    Thanks Ron
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Terrific. A timeless fantasy classic, and looks like MGM has done it right! A must have for me!
     
  9. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    WOW! Look at those screen shots.

    This movie has always been various shades of brown. I don't think it has looked like this since its heyday in the 40s.

    Very excited!
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    You've got us all drooling!!!!!!!!
    One of my childhood favorites done right by DVD!!!
    dave [​IMG]
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the review, Ron. Your selection of screenshots matches my memory of the movie—so they must be very well chosen.
     
  12. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    I'd be interested in a comparison between the new DVD and the laser disc. I have the LD but wonder if I should now replace it with the DVD. I remember when the LD came out there was a lot of concern over the shape the film -- supposedly newly restored -- was in. There were at least a couple of letters in Films in Review (anyone remember that magazine?) pointing out problems with the laser disc transfer and asking what shape the original elements were in, and if there was cause for alarm.
     
  13. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I have been anxiously awaiting this release and am glad to hear I will likely not be disappointed.

    Regards,
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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  15. GaryCo

    GaryCo Agent

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    Ron

    I picked this up today, along with Sunset Blvd. based on your reviews.

    Opening Thief of Bagdad, i noticed no insert.

    Did your copy have one , or was this normal ?

    Thanks
     
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Gary,

    No insert in mine either.
     
  17. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I have my copy on order! Can't wait to see it!

    Jan
     
  18. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I love this movie, and I'm very glad to see that MGM has done a good job with it.
     
  19. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Does anyone know if Thief of Bagdad is gonna' be available at Best Buy, or any of the other "Brick & Mortars?" I've yet to find Horror of Dracula (another title I'd like to pick up) at any Best Buy.
     
  20. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Jim,
    It's funny you asked that question. I couldn't find it at Best Buy or Circuit City, so I picked it up at Borders. The employee had to get the key to the storage room to get the box to open up and bring me one of the two copies they had in stock. The last title for which I had to go through that exact ritual was Horror of Dracula.

    Regards,
     

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