THE SWORD OF ALI BABA (1965)
Article 2704 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-28-2008
Posting Date: 1-7-2009
Directed by Virgil W. Vogel
Featuring Peter Mann, Jocelyn Lane, Frank McGrath
When Mongols invade Bagdad, the evil Cassim betrays the Caliph to the Hulagu Khan, leader of the Mongols. However, the caliph’s son escapes and joins up with a band of thieves. They plot to defeat the Mongols.
About five minutes into this movie, I saw a scene of two young children, a boy and a girl, mixing their blood in a vow. This scene set off sirens in my head, and I popped into IMDB to check the movie connections. Sure enough, the movie took the footage from the 1944 Arabian Nights epic, ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES. Then I noticed something else; this movie is in fact a remake of that one, and that scene is far from the only one that was borrowed from the earlier movie. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a good forty to fifty percent of this movie is made up of footage from the earlier movie, and it looks like this movie was made exclusively to take advantage of this footage. Characters are cast by their resemblance to the characters in the earlier movie, though the acting is much weaker here. Instead of Jon Hall and Maria Montez, we have Peter Mann and Jocelyn Lane, and instead of the unforgettable Andy Devine, we have the forgettable Peter Whitney. There are a couple of interesting touches; Frank Puglia is cast in the same role he played in the earlier movie, which certainly made it easier to pillage the footage, and it is interesting to see Gavin MacLeod playing the villainous Hulagu Khan, since I’ve never seen him in a villainous role before. Still, one has to wonder what the point is in making a scene-for-scene remake of an earlier movie in which much of the footage is from that movie; I’m certain that any reason for this movie’s existence has much to do with the fact that to many film executives, movies are considered product (as in opposition to being considered works of art). Whichever way you look at it, this seems to be one of the most unnecessary movies ever made.