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Thief of Bagdad (1940)


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DVD 1-Disc Version
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Product Details

  • Actors: Conrad Veidt, Sabu, June Duprez, John Justin, Rex Ingram
  • Directors: Alexander Korda, Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, William Cameron Menzies
  • Writers: Lajos Biró, Miklós Rózsa
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: December 3, 2002
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006L931
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,255 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Thief of Bagdad (1940)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Often hailed as the greatest fantasy film ever made, The Thief of Bagdad (1940) was producer Alexander Korda's crowning achievement. Deservedly winning Academy Awards for art direction, color cinematography, and special effects, this Arabian Nights adventure appeals to all ages with its fantastical tale of Abu (Sabu), the little thief who befriends the prince of Bagdad (John Justin) and foils the nefarious plans of the evil grand vizier (Conrad Veidt), who seizes control of Bagdad and covets the princess of Basra (Joan Duprez). From its gorgeous, epic-scale sets to flying horses, magic carpets, and, best of all, Rex Ingram's towering jinni of the bottle, this Thief has all the magic of the tales that inspired it, and vibrant Technicolor brings it all to life in dazzling style. Six esteemed directors worked on this infamously troubled production, but the final result exceeded all expectations, becoming an instant classic that endures to this day. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

The acting is very good and the special effects (no computers then) are a wonder.
Norma S. Hass
In terms of fantasy films, very few can match the level of magic and whimsy of The Thief of Bagdad, although many have tried.
cookieman108
The Thief of Baghdad is one of the great fantasy films of all time and one of the greatest British films.
Lynn Ellingwood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

153 of 164 people found the following review helpful By stryper on May 29, 2008
Format: DVD
Yep that's right, I own both the MGM and now the Criterion versions of, The Thief Of Bagdad, and after comparing the opening sequence (with the boats and the cityscape), the scene where the blind man is telling his story so far, to the harem girls (where there's slight blurring in the long shots as well as a slight over enhancement shimmer on the blind man's face) and the registration problem area (where Sabu meets the spider in the temple) the print used is exactly the same one, as both versions have the exact same problems in exactly the same areas.

As for the purported colour saturation differences between the two discs, from my close scrutiny of the movies, I'd have to say that there isn't any difference at all.

The reds look over saturated to the point where the Grand Vizier's turban bleeds slightly, the blues are sky blue bright, and the skin tones are coppery, which is true to the skin tones of the people populating this movie.

The real question now should be, why Criterion chose to release this film as is, without attempting to do any restoration?

I had thought that the reason for the exuberant prices of Criterion DVDs was because we where suppose to be getting the best possible prints of films, but in this case, we're giving the same print with some extras, and expected to pay 3 times the price of the MGM disc.

Also of note, the chapter selection is better on the MGM disc as there are pictures with the captions, where as the Criterion chapter select, is text only (something Anchor Bay did away with years ago, because it was too confusing, i.e. the Evil Dead DVD, "Evil dead attack", um, which evil dead attack, there are several, so the description is useless).
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2002
Format: DVD
Few classic films demands or can benefit more from transfer to DVD than Alexander Korda's magnificent THE THIEF OF BAGDAD. At a time when British cinema lagged desperately behind Hollywood in technical proficiency, Korda was nothing short of a miracle worker. Although lacking the resources that Hollywood had to offer, Korda was able to produce a movie that stood up to the best of Hollywood in beauty, creativity, color, and fantasy. Two of the greatest fantasy films ever made appeared in 1939 and 1940: THE WIZARD OF OZ and THE THIEF OF BAGDAD.
There are two reasons that THE THIEF OF BAGDAD is a great film and has stood the test of time. The first is the tremendous art direction. The movie is a function of Korda's vision. French auteur criticism holds that the "author" of a film is the director, but this is clearly an exception to that. Korda, the producer, was the creative force behind this film, and, in fact, employed as many as a half dozen directors during the course of making the film. One of the uncredited directors and one of the credited art directors was the great William Cameron Menzies, regarded as one of the giants in art design in film history. Even today, this is a gorgeous film to look at, and in an age when computers can create absolutely anything on the screen, it is delightful to watch a film in which others managed to achieve magic working with considerably less than we possess.
The second reason that this film succeeds so marvelously is the cast. Ironically, the ostensible lead in the film is remarkably forgettable. But several of the other performances are quite unforgettable.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on February 9, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What's that old saying? Too many cooks spoil the broth? In figurative terms it means if there are too many people working on a project, the result will be inferior...given the fact The Thief of Bagdad (1940) sports six directors, three credited, three uncredited, you'd think the film would be a mess, but it's actually the very opposite. The credited directors include Ludwig Berger (The Vagabond King), Michael Powell (Black Narcissus), and Tim Whelan (The Mad Doctor), while on the uncredited side there's three individuals, all whom share producing credits for the film in Alexander Korda (Storm Over the Nile), his brother Zoltan Korda (Jungle Book), and William Cameron Menzies (The Whip Hand). Starring in the film is Conrad Veidt (Casablanca), Sabu (Elephant Boy, Jungle Book), and John Justin (King of the Khyber Rifles). Also appearing is June Duprez (Little Tokyo, U.S.A.) and Rex Ingram (God's Little Acre) as the Genie, or Djinn,

As the film begins, we're introduced to a blind beggar named Ahmad (Justin), and his very intelligent dog, both of whom are more than they appear. Ahmad soon relates a tale, and we learn of a man who was once king, and how he became friends with a clever young thief from the streets named Abu, played by Sabu (see what they did? The just removed the `S' from Sabu to get Abu...pretty smart, huh?). We also learn of the king's downfall at the hands of Jaffar (Veidt), a greedy, dastardly fellow with a penchant for magics and trickery.
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