THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961)
(a.k.a. LE MERAVIGLIE DI ALADINO)
Article #1431 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-13-2005
Posting Date: 7-13-2005
Directed by Henry Levin
Featuring Donold O’Connor, Noelle Adam, Vittorio De Sica
Aladdin is given a magic lamp by his mother, and uses it to save the prince from an assassination attempt.
I’ve seen several versions of the Aladdin story by now, and though I haven’t read the original Arabian Nights version of it, I think I have a basic idea of how it goes. This comic take on it makes several changes to the tale, none of them good. For one thing, Aladdin has been split into two different characters, as has the princess. As an adventure epic, it’s tepid, and the action scenes are pretty lame. As a comedy it’s only sporadically funny. What it really lacks is exactly what it promises in the title; it’s singularly short on the sense of wonder.
Actually, I find the credits a lot more interesting than the movie itself. Donald O’Connor plays the part of Aladdin. The Genie is played by noted Italian Neo-Realist director Vittorio De Sica. Omar is played by familiar character actor Milton Reid; if you’ve seen CAPTAIN CLEGG, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, or THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, you should recognize him. Much of the second unit direction was handled by Mario Bava. And the part of the prince was played by Mario Girotti, who would later on in life be billed as Terence Hill and appear in several spaghetti western comedies as Trinity.