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Arabian Nights (Universal Cinema Classics)

4.2 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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!

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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

Special Features

  • Exclusive Introduction by Turner Classic Movies Host and Film Historian Robert Osborne
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu
    • Directors: John Rawlins
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Subtitled
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: French
    • 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: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: February 6, 2007
    • Run Time: 87 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000KGGJ18
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,975 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Arabian Nights (Universal Cinema Classics)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    At last, Universal is releasing the first Maria Montez & Jon Hall adventure classic in glorious Technicolor. I was surprised to see that this was not part of a Collection of 6 Montez films, but happy to get these 1940s classics any way Universal wants to release them. ARABIAN NIGHTS (1942) is great Saturday-matinee fun, but some of the others are even better: COBRA WOMAN (1944) is by far the best, with Montez playing dual roles. ALI BABA AND THE 40 THIEVES (1944) is also a wonderful action adventure, as are WHITE SAVAGE (1943), SUDAN (1945) & GYPSY WILDCAT (1944). I hope Universal will soon release all of these long-neglected classics. I have been waiting a long time.
    If you are looking for exotic, colorful, action adventure in beautiful Technicolor, you are in for a great treat.
    note: since this review was written in 2006, both Cobra Woman and
    Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves have been released on dvd.
    6 Comments 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
    (Action/Adventure, 1 hr 26 min, Technicolor) Universal - U.S.A.
    DIRECTOR: John Rawlins
    CAST: Edgar Barrier, Leif Erickson, Billy Gilbert, Thomas Gomez, Jon Hall, John Qualen, Sabu, Shemp Howard, Maria Montez (As: Sherezade)
    COMMENTS: The legal heir to the throne of the Caliph, played by Jon Hall, is attacked and almost murdered by his evil brother, played by Leif Erickson, who seizes the throne.
    A dancing girl (Maria Montez) finds the wounded heir and nurses him back to health. They fall in love, and he sets off on a series of adventures accompanied by a trusted friend (Sabu), an aging Aladdin in search of his mislaid lamp (John Qualen), and a bragging, shiftless Sinbad in his declining years (Shemp Howard).
    It's all adolescent adventure but great fun and the production is lavish in all areas, particularly the costumes, sets, and wonderful, lush color which the public was impressed with. The film earned Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Interior Decoration, Best Sound, and Best Score.
    To Maria, it was her first important role, as the beautiful dancer Scherezade, considering that she had to deal with an absurd dialogue. And this was the movie that gave her the nickname of "The Queen of Technicolor".
    Comment 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: VHS Tape
    From the foolish acts of her father, Sheherazade is cast under a spell by evil caliph. But, true love (Shemp) is artfully working to save her. The forty-thieves come to ride. Sabu (from the Jungle Book) helps until he finds a curiosity in an old Genie's lamp. This is the first teaming of Montez, Hall, and Sabu. Thankful the successful trio went on to make more. If some reviewers find this tale trite, perhaps it is because it lacks the gore and step-by-step sex of other flicks. This is for the whole family and to me, a fun tale. Enjoy
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    By A Customer on March 13, 2003
    Format: VHS Tape
    One of the most beloved escapisms from 40's Warner Bros., that features Maria Montez, Sabu and Jon Hall as the most energetic trio in this sexy camp classic, that it's a sure, colorful entertainment; a rollercoasting Hollywood carnival.
    The real show on this is the presence of that genius named Maria Montez, an incredibly bad actress, that finds her way in this type of nonsensical "It is Written" adventures, that makes the desert of Arizona the ideal faking for Arab-themed stories. She's ideal with cheap jewelry and exaggerated make-up, and dancing with an inneffable style (her dancing shows in these films are astonishing, specially in Cobra woman).
    1 Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Universal's first movie in complete three-strip Technicolor was ARABIAN NIGHTS, produced by Walter Wanger and starring the gorgeous South American spitfire, Maria Montez.

    While it's not entirely faithful to the original stories and legends on which it bases itself, ARABIAN NIGHTS comes alive with lots of colour and pageantry. Jon Hall and Maria Montez (in the first pairing of a long screen partnership) are wonderful to watch. The cast also boasts Sabu and Turhan Bey.

    The new DVD from Universal's Cinema Classics line boasts a newly-restored Technicolor transfer, plus a fun introduction from Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne. (Single-sided, single-layer disc).
    3 Comments 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    I've always been a sucker for, "Old Hollywood" movies, with all their grandeur, great costumes, and pomp. Arabian Nights was a wonderful trip down memory lane to a movie I last saw on Bill Kennedy at the Movies, many, many years ago.

    This is a 1942 gloriously technicolor movie that was just what America needed to take it's mind off our boys fighting in WWII. It starts off in a harem, where an older gentleman is sleeping/ snoring when he is supposed to be teaching the ladies in a harem a story. When he finally awakens, the story that is unvieled is about a beautiful dancer named, "Sherazda" who sends a spurned lover off on what she thinks is an unattainable quest...to become the Caliph. Little does she know he is the brother of the Caliph and does exactly that.

    Sherazada is breath-takingly played by Maria Montez, who can chill or warm a man with one look from her eyes. The girl has got it goin' on. She is a member of a traveling circus and it was foretold to her that she would marry into royalty and reign. Joining her in the circus is a wonderful diverse cast of characters, including, I was excited to see, the man who played, "Shemp" in the three stooges, and a gifted young actor named, "Sabu".

    While doing what we would now call a, "pyramid", with Sabu on the very top, Sabu ( Ali ) sees the good Caliph shot with an arrow ( his brother had taken Sherazada's words to heart and started to take over the kingdom ). Jon Hall plays Haroun-Al-Roschid, the good Caliph, and he and his would be assassin tumble a couple of stories to the ground. Sabu sees this while performing and comes to Jon's rescue. Sabu hides the true Caliph's identity, knowing that the Caliph's brother would continue to hunt him down.
    Read more ›
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