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Customer Review

109 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thief of Bagdad (Deluxe Edition) from Kino, January 6, 2004
This review is from: The Thief of Bagdad (Deluxe Edition) (DVD)
Douglas Fairbanks' "The Thief of Bagdad" is in the public domain, so it's no surprise that there are many DVD and VHS versions of this film available, from bargain basement tapes with no music taken from battered source prints, to high-quality editions with fine music and extras. (Many of the reviews given here are for different editions, so if they complain about the video transfer, missing scenes, or the musical score, keep in mind that such comments don't apply to all editions.)
The Kino "Deluxe Edition" is digitally mastered from a 35mm archive negative, with 19 minutes of rare outtakes and special effects footage as extras. The film is tinted throughout -- a color effect that was used on its initial release, and which adds greatly to the fantastic nature of the story and its immense sets.
The new score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (a quintet that specializes in reviving music used during the silent film era) is based loosely on the original "cue sheet" for the film by James Bradford. This means that you'll be hearing some of the music recommended for the film on its first release (although the music would have been different in each theater--silent film music was left up to the music director at each movie house). The music features many "oriental" pieces written for the silent film theater by forgotten "photoplay music" composers such as Gaston Borch and Irenee Berge, as well as pieces by classical composers like Rimsky-Korsakov who explored oriental themes. A written commentary and cue list of the music used is on the DVD as an extra, and can also be found at Mont Alto's web site, [...]
A different high-quality edition from Image Entertainment features an organ score by Gaylord Carter, who was a talented theater organist, and that's also a good choice. Be wary of other editions -- it's an amazing film, and the extra money spent for a quality visual and audio treat is well worth it. The difference in run-time between the Kino and Image editions of the film is mostly explained by a different film transfer rate.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 28, 2008 8:57:32 AM PDT
Panko Morton says:
thanks for your information about not all of the reviews applying to this particular edition...that is clearly one of the more annoying and misleading "features" of amazon's commentary system, which I mostly like. I was concerned that some of the reviews referred to missing scenes, and was hesitant to buy this release as a result. It's one of the classics I saw as a kid that made me very interested in this period of film-making, and so am glad to have the opportunity to see it again. Now if they could only get around to some of King Vidor's classics (Big Parade, The Crowd, etc.)...

Posted on Oct 14, 2008 10:59:27 AM PDT
Bob L says:
Thanks for the informative review. I'm glad you mentioned the Image one because I might want to try the organist before the quintet. The greatest theater experience I ever had was seeing this with Tom Hazelton improvising on a Grand Wurlitzer. When that carpet took off the first time the hair on the back of my neck stood up and the applause by the audience was the most sincere show of affection I've ever seen at a movie, save 300 kids at the end of Forbidden Planet (see my review ). Thanks for the heads up on the transfer rate, that makes a difference that makes lean the other way. Thanks for a job well done.

Posted on Nov 8, 2011 12:23:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2011 1:02:57 AM PST
I am not sure it is a frame rate difference between the Image & Kino release.
From the silent era home video review of the Image release:
"Not bad, for an older edition of The Thief of Bagdad on a low bit-rate, first-generation DVD. But, beware, a portion of the pivotal rose bush scene is missing from this edition."

So it seems that the Kino version is the complete version and the way to go.
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