Warning: Technicolor silliness ahead, as Universal's nutty series of turban-and-camel movies comes into view. Arabian Nights
was the first of these confections, and after it became a big wartime hit it spawned a series of follow-ups, most of them starring some combination of Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu, and Turhan Bey. The story is nonsense, with Hall as a deposed caliph battling his half-brother (Leif Erickson) while remaining incognito amongst a group of traveling players. Montez plays dancing vixen Scheherazade, and her crazy costumes and limited acting range give ample evidence for her later enshrinement as a camp icon. The film's level of seriousness is aptly demonstrated by the casting of Shemp Howard (of the Three Stooges--like there's another Shemp Howard?) as Sinbad; John Qualen plays Aladdin, and vaudeville pro Billy Gilbert plays the leader of the troupe. Coming off best is Sabu, the young star of The Thief of Baghdad
and The Jungle Book
, whose innate likability is infectious even in these inane circumstances. Arabian Nights
probably isn't the most fun of these movies; check out Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
and Robert Siodmak's crazed Cobra Woman
, too. They work on two fronts: family-movie fodder and high camp. --Robert Horton
Prepare for every wish to be answered in the dazzling film spectacular Arabian Nights! See the passionate romance, lavish riches and exotic splendor of this classic fable that was "beautifully mounted in Technicolor" (Leonard Maltin), nominated for four Academy Awards and is now magically brought to life with a digitally remastered picture. Jon Hall, Maria Montez and Sabu star in this lush epic story of two half brothers who battle each other for the power of the throne and the love of a sensual, gorgeous dancing girl, Scheherazade. It's a thrilling adventure you can't afford to miss!