Per amore… per magia… (1967)

aka For Love… For Magic
Article 3858 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-27-2012
Posting Date: 3-7-2012
Directed by Duccio Tessari
Featuring Gianni Morandi, Rosemary Dexter, Mischa Auer
Country: Italy
What it is: Arabian Nights musical comedy

A young thief named Aladino comes by a magic lamp with a genie, and it changes his fortunes so he can meet a beautiful princess.

If I had known ahead of time I was about to watch an undubbed, unsubtitled Italian musical comedy version of the story of Aladdin with a rating of 4.9 on IMDB, I would have braced myself for the worst. Yet, oddly enough, the various elements actually seemed to make it balance out for me; because the movie was based on a familiar story, I was able to more or less follow it, and because it was a musical, it emphasized energy, movement, choreography, and singing, all of which can be enjoyed whether you understand the language of the movie or not. However, the best thing about it for me was how often it managed to find creative and witty ways to stage the various scenes; it was really nice to see a version of this story that did something different with the various plot points in the story (my favorite moment has Aladdin discovering the power of the lamp by trying to use it to scratch an itch on his back). There’s also some very odd touches here; it’s probably the only Arabian Nights story that features a talking penguin as a central character. So, despite that very weak rating on IMDB, I really found myself charmed and intrigued by the movie. Besides, I like Mischa Auer as well.

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