Thief of Damascus (1952)

Article #1730 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-9-2005
Posting Date: 5-8-2006
Directed by Will Jason
Featuring Paul Henreid, John Sutton, Jeff Donnell

A general tries to rid Damascus of the tyrannical rule of the evil Khalid. He enlists the help of Sinbad, Ali Baba, Aladdin and Sheherazade to do so.

One source from which I took this entry claims there is no fantastic content in the movie, and certainly there’s none from Aladdin, who merely talks about his lamp and pals around with Sinbad (who does no sailing). Still, there is the magic cave of Ali Baba which opens with the phrase “Open Sesame” that makes the film qualify, and I don’t see how it could have been missed; everyone makes such a fuss about how magic it is that it becomes annoying after a while. But then, that kind of fuss permeates the movie, which is mostly played for lame comedy; certainly, the plot (which is muddled) and the action scenes (which, when not lifted from JOAN OF ARC, are quite bad) but then, what do you expect of an Arabian Nights movie produced by Sam Katzman? For me, the high point of this movie is watching Lon Chaney Jr. having a grand time as Sinbad, even if the script gives him little to do than trade quips with Robert Clary as Aladdin. Other than that, there is little to recommend here. Remember this – when making your choice of thieves, you’re better off taking any of three good ones from Bagdad rather than settling for the one from Damascus.

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