Sunday, October 4, 2009

20. The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

Running Time: 140 minutes
Directed By: Raoul Walsh
Written By: Douglas Fairbanks, Lotta Woods
Main Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Snitz Edwards, Charles Belcher, Julanne Johnston, Sojin


When I popped in the DVD of The Thief of Bagdad and realized that it was a fantasy story set in the Arabian city of Bagdad, I was none too thrilled. Boy, was I in for a shocker!

Ahmed (played brilliantly by Fairbanks) is a common street thief, who will grab just about anything he can get his hands on. When he learns that the Caliph is organizing for all eligible suitors to come to the royal city, so that he may marry off his daughter, the Princess, Ahmed sees a dollar signs and plans to break into the palace and make off with anything of value.

On the eve of the day the Princess is to choose her new mate, Ahmed does just what he was planning and breaks into the palace with the use of a magic rope, that he, of course, stole. He manages to catch the guards while they're not paying attention and sneak into the Princess' sleeping quarters. While attempting to steal her jewels, he becomes enchanted with her and instead only makes off with her slipper, proclaiming that he's in love with her. Seeing as how Ahmed takes anything he wants, he plans to steal the Princess.

Meanwhile, the next day, the Princess decides to seek a fortune teller to help her make her choice for her new suitor. The fortune teller, using the Sands of Mecca, tells her that her suitor will be the first man to touch the rose bush that grows outside the palace. When the suitors arrive (the Prince of Persia, the Prince of India and the Prince of Mongol) she sees nothing in any of them. But when the last of the suitors arrive, Ahmed, dressed in princely gear and claiming to be a Prince himself, she immediately has eyes for him, and when his horse is spooked by a bumble bee and he's thrown into the rose bush, her initial ideas are confirmed...Ahmed will be her husband.

However, Ahmed is soon found out to be nothing more than a thief, and before being captured by the royalty of Bagdad, he confesses to the Princess that all the evil flew out of his body when he met her, that he has changed his ways for good. After a good flogging, Ahmed is thrown out of the palace and the Princess is then urged to make another choice. Instead of picking between the three remaining suitors, she proposes that they all three go out in search of treasure, and when they return, whomever brings back the rarest treasure, shall be her new mate. Ahmed, on the other hand, seeks guidance from a man of religion, who tells him that if he truly wants to be happy, he must earn that happiness and so Ahmed is sent on a mission of his own, in which many men have dared to take, but all have died in the process. If he succeeds he'll become a Prince and will be granted whatever he desires.

The Thief of Bagdad was surprisingly, a lot of fun. Douglas Fairbanks, who I'd heard a lot about, really delivered and turned in a fantastic performance as the thief Ahmed. The sets and costumes were absolutely immaculate and quite pleasing to the eye. I read a bit of trivia saying that the sets for this movie are still the largest ever built in Hollywood, and I believe it, as they are quite grand. The story is really solid, however there are still a few bits of down time in it, where it gets a tad slow and dull, but the good far outshines the bad and this one gets a quick recommendation.

RATING: 7/10 Dropped it a few notches for the slow parts, but definitely check this one out, if only to watch Fairbanks and feast your eyes on the grand set and costume design.

NEXT UP: STRIKE!...or Stachka to the Russians. Sergei M. Eisenstein directs it and the review should be up later tonight...much later.

October 3, 2009 9:22pm

1 comment:

  1. You are doing you a great job, very informative. Stick with it I am really proud of you!


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