Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Universal Backlot Series)
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Interestingly, the film does away with the traditional magical trappings (excepting one enchanted phrase) and instead places this story in actual historical context, sometime in the 13th century. Driven back by the conquering Hugalu Khan's swarming Mongol hordes, the Caliph of Baghdad and his child Ali suffer the foulest of betrayals. The Caliph loses his life in an ambush, but the boy Ali slips away and goes into hiding. Stumbling in the desert, Ali meets and comes under the protection of forty far-ranging thieves. In the thieves' cavernous hideaway den, Ali Baba grows to young adulthood, at which time he sets out to overthrow Hugalu Khan and regain freedom for his people and also, in his spare moments, maybe win the heart of a beautiful princess (who, by the way, is bethrothed to the Khan).
There's a warm place in my heart for these spirited old-fashioned adventures on the big screen, stuff that I used to thrill to as a hyper kid on those lazy Sunday afternoons. In watching Hall and Montez's films the audience came to nurse a certain threshhold of expectation.Read more ›
The evil leader of the Mongol Horde, the Haluga Khan (Kurt Katch) overruns Baghdad with the aid of Prince Cassim (Frank Puglia). The good Caliph (Moroni Olsen) is killed but his son Ali (protrayed later in adulthood by Jon Hall) escapes to find the secret cave of the 40 theives. He is immediately taken in by Al Baba, the older, who adopts Ali, hence the name Ali Baba. 10 years later, enter the Lady Amara (the beautiful Maria Montez). Ali falls in love with her thinking her only a slave girl. Meanwhile, Amara'a father, Prince Cassim, has offered Khan the lovely lady's hand in a political marriage. Ali Baba, now leader of the 40 thieves is determined to free the Lady Amara and drive the evil Khan from Baghdad.
We see some incredible horsemanship from the 40 thieves as they ride through the streets of Baghdad at breakneck speed. We also see that these are singing thieves as their song proclaims they steal from the rich and give to the poor. We get dancing mongols waving sabers and a great sword fight between the thieves and the mongols. Humor is supplied by Andy Devine as Abdullah, 1 of the thieves.
There is some mild violence, no gore or graphic violence so a little parental guidance is probably needed for kids under 7 but kids 7 to 13 should enjoy this film very much. Parents too!
High recommendation for: families with kids, grownup kids, movie fans, Maria Montez and Jon Hall fans, and anyone looking for a little good old escapism. This is really good Universal classic film.
DIRECTOR: Arthur Lubin
CAST: Scotty Beckett, Turhan Bey, Andy Devine, Jon Hall, Frank Puglia, Kurt Katch, Maria Montez (As: Amara)
COMMENTS: This Arabian Nights fantasy follows the exploits of the Caliph of Baghdad's son, who runs off into the desert after his father is killed by raiding Mongols.
There he encounters the legendary 40 thieves and watches in amazement as their command, "Open Sesame," magically parts a solid rock wall, revealing a cavernous hiding place filled with treasures.
He is adopted by the thieves, dubbed "Ali Baba," and grows up to be their leader. As an adult, Ali sets out to avenge his father's death and to free his land from the reigning Mongols.
The film is set in the ancient Middle East. Maria Montez stars as Amara, a Baghdad beauty, who is one of the main reasons of the fight between the Mongol Khan Hulagu and Ali Baba.
In this time, Maria demonstrated that she will never accept to do scenes or scene parts against her will. For instance, the director Arthur Lubin tried to convince her of appearing naked inside of a pool, the problem was solved when Lubin accepted to put her in a bubble bath.
Before beginning working in the most popular and commercial movie of its time, Maria said to the media: "According to my horoscope, the name I will have in this movie will not augur me success."
The producers thought Montez wanted to change the name they assigned her and they allowed her to do so.
The actress Miriam Colón, from Puerto Rico, appeared in this film, but she was not credited in the cast.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jon Hall and Maria Montez made a great couple, which is why they made several movies together. This is a very fun film with plenty of action.Published 2 months ago by jadesun33
Loved these Arabian Nights stories as a kid...solid cast but only fair writing / plot...Hall and Montez save the movie...Published 3 months ago by paul donahue
Again, my dad doubled Jon Hall...did all of his riding, fighting..also knew Turhan Bey's double , name of Carroll Henry.Published 3 months ago by gary royse
Good old memories of my childhood. I wish Hollywood would make more of these movies. I learned more about Islam from this movie than I would today.Published 4 months ago by Robert Treiling
Excellent!!!, I loved it. Great movie to watch with the kids.Published 4 months ago by Lucia Lutski
Pure fantasy at its best.color is beautiful and lots of action with of course a love story. Good film for kids, no bad language or nudity. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Shirley A. Frank
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