ALI BABA ET LES QUARANTE VOLEURS (1902)
aka Ali Baba
Article 4022 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Ferdinand Zecca (?)
What it is: Arabian nights story
Ali Baba discovers a magic cave which contains the loot of a band of forty thieves.
Though in some ways this Arabian Nights epic uses the techniques of Georges Melies, it doesn’t quite throw out the special effects with the wild abandon of its model; except for the repeated effect of the cave opening and a beheading sequence, it saves most of its effects for a flashy final tableau. The hand tinting adds a lot of appeal to the short, but it seems to be one of those shorts where the makers assume you know the story already. Though I’ve encountered the story before, it’s not fresh in my memory, and outside of the cave sequence, I have trouble sorting out what’s going on in the rest of the scenes. The question mark after the director’s name has to do with the fact that there appears to be a little controversy as to who actually directed it; I’ve heard that Romeo Bosetti may have actually been the real director. All in all, this one is interesting enough to look at, but if you want to experience the story, you may want to look elsewhere.