The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

Article #134 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 7-28-2001
Posting date: 12-11-2001

A thief sneaks into the castle of the caliph and falls in love with her daughter, which causes him to lose his thieving spirit. In order to win her hand, he has to engage in a heroic quest.

This epic Arabian Nights fantasy is a bit long, but it is enormous fun, and one of my favorite movies in this genre. A lot of the credit has to go to Douglas Fairbanks, who gives one of the most gleefully energetic performances I’ve ever seen; you can tell he loved doing this sort of thing (he also cowrote and produced the movie). Raoul Walsh directs with great flare, and the sets by William Cameron Menzies are wonderful. Anna May Wong, Noble Johnson, and Brandon Hurst are all along for the ride. I have to admit I much prefer this to the 1940 Korda version, though I’m sure I can expect disagreement on this point.

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