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#126- The Thief of Bagdad

Quick recap: A thief-who lives in Bagdad- has a lot of fun stealing stuff until he falls in love with the princess. Basically it’s like Aladdin but without the monkey and the altruistic reasons. And without Genie (RIP Robin Williams).

Instead of getting a Middle Eastern guy to play the Thief of Bagdad, they got Douglas Fairbanks-the whitest name ever.

Instead of getting a Middle Eastern guy to play the Thief of Bagdad, they got Douglas Fairbanks-the whitest name ever.

Fun (?) fact: The special effects for this movie are amazing, considering it was made in 1924. During one scene, as Fairbanks is jumping in and out of the large pots, he actually installed trampolines in each one to make it easier to hop.

I suspect this was also done with special effects. Can't be sure, though.

I suspect this was also done with special effects. Can’t be sure, though.

My thoughts: A bonus fun fact: I started this blog chronologically, but after sitting through 9 silent films I couldn’t take it anymore and gave up. It wasn’t even that they were bad, but that they were so EPIC.  It was hard to continually sit through something so heavy and long (that’s what she said) and know that the next movie would give me no reprieve. But then I saw A Clockwork Orange at the Alamo Drafthouse several months later and it renewed my passion. All that to say I made the right choice to watch randomly so that when the time came for another silent movie, I’d be ready.

The Thief of Bagdad comes from the 1001 Arabian Nights collection of stories  so it’s basically your quintessential adventure movie. Fairbanks, who plays Ahmed the Thief, was the go to actor for all things adventure, starring in movies such as Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers and The Black Pirate. He spends the entire movie flexing his muscles and practically winking at the camera, to show the audience how awesome he is. It was difficult to root for him at times because he was a thief just for the sport of it instead of helping others.Not that I was expecting much, but Aladdin is the only story I know from Arabian Nights and that guy stole bread to give to children. Kind of a lot to live up to, though.  Fairbanks was enjoyable to look at, although the thin lips bothered me. Was that a fashionable thing to have or did all people in the 20s just have naturally thin lips? This bothers me more than it should.

Not a complaint, but it seems like he should've been able to steal a shirt at some point.

Not a complaint, but it seems like he should’ve been able to steal a shirt at some point.

If there is any reason to watch The Thief of Bagdad, it’s the setting. Director Raul Walsh had the set built on 6 1/2 acres of land and spared no expense. Every detail is beautiful and ornate. The fact that it was made in 1924 makes it all the more inspiring to think of the work that went into making this movie.

Final review: 4/5. When you take into account that the story came from an ancient book, the racism is not as bad as I expected.

Up next: Singin’ in the Rain

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One response to “#126- The Thief of Bagdad

  1. Pingback: #168- The Adventures of Robin Hood | 1001 Movie Nights

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