THE SINGING PRINCESS (1949)
aka La rosa di Bagdad
Article 3175 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-22-2010
Posting Date: 4-24-2010
Directed by Anton Gino Domenighini
Featuring the voices of Julie Andrews, Patricia Hayes, Stephen Jack
What it is: Animated Arabian Nights story
The beautiful princess Zeila becomes the amorous target of the corrupt Sheikh Jafar, who uses a magician named Burk to cast a spell over her. Only her childhood friend Amin can save her.
If you do a chronological sort on the movies of Julie Andrews on IMDB, you may be startled to find that her first movie was this animated fantasy from Italy made in the late forties; she would have been 14 years old when this one was made. However, if you pay attention to the opening credits, you will see the copyright for the English version is much later – 1967; this was obviously not her first film. I can’t help but notice that several of the user comments on IMDB fail to take this into account. The movie makes a lot of fuss about her involvement here; it stars “the magical voice of Julie Andrews”, but, truth to tell, the semi-operatic tunes she warbles here just aren’t very memorable. The animation is obviously modeled off of the work of Disney, and even if it doesn’t flow as well, it does seem to have a rhythm all its own. The story itself is a variation of Aladdin, with the genie from that story making an appearance late in the movie. The English version isn’t done with a lot of care; the syncing is off, and there are moments where characters speak with no voices coming out at all. This makes for a very uneven viewing experience, but there are some neat moments in the story; I love a creatively staged dance with three snakes, and Amin’s final confrontation with the evil magician is a definite highlight.