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Showing 1-10 of 79 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 118 reviews
on March 13, 2013
This is one of the greatest spectacular silent films of all-time, up there with Metropolis, Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, and Intolerance. The restoration on this new Cohen Film Collection edition is stunning, rivaling anything put out by Criterion, and the music by Carl Davis is easily the best score ever created for this masterpiece.

Davis' music, which borrows heavily from Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, was originally commissioned for a 1980s British TV version (I don't remember if it was BBC or Thames) which was also shown on PBS in America, and later released on HBO/Image VHS and Laserdisc. My only complaint about the new DVD/BluRay release is that it omits the introduction by Douglas Fairbanks Jr that accompanied the earlier TV and video versions. Still, this version is far better than any of the numerous other public domain video releases of The Thief of Bagdad, which should be avoided.
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on November 23, 2013
...well, not quite. The way it was meant to be seen, of course, was up on a giant screen with a live orchestra performing full throttle. Then this larger than life fantasy would be transformed into a work of art. However this Cohen Group release of the Photoplay restoration is the next best thing. Just as with their recent release of D. W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE, the Cohen Group have used digital technology to come up with an astonishing looking print that is coupled with Carl Davis' classic score (arranged from various works of Rimsky-Korsakov) which has been newly recorded. The result is a marvel to behold and to listen to. As other reviewers have pointed out, this version is so captivating that after a while, you forget that you're watching a silent movie. Douglas Fairbanks is literally poetry in motion as he glides from frame to frame showing off his marvelous body with a remarkably revealing costume during the first hour of the film before becoming the action star we expect in the final hour and a half. Yes, it's a long movie (at 148 minutes it's longer than a MARVEL superhero blockbuster) but it's also jawdroppingly lavish as it was one of the most expensive films of its era and it still remains the ultimate ARABIAN NIGHTS fantasy.

Fairbanks combines several well known stories as he tells the tale of a lowly thief who falls in love with the Caliph's daughter and then undergoes a series of trials to prove his love. "Happiness Must Be Earned" say the stars in the sky at the film's opening and boy does Fairbanks' character earn it. First he is severely flogged for attempting to fool the Caliph and then he embarks on a series of impossible quests that he is somehow able to accomplish. Along the way he battles a giant spider, acquires a flying horse, a magic carpet and retrieves a key from the bottom of the sea. All of this done with what were then state-of-the-art special effects that still impress today. Add those effects to the exotic costumes, cast of thousands (well, hundreds) and William Cameron Menzies' magnificent sets which have to be seen to be believed, and you have a magical, unforgettable silent film experience. THIEF is the ideal film to introduce children to silent movies as it has a sense of naivete and wonder that is childlike in the best sense of the word. Make sure, however, that you use this Cohen Group restoration as it truly does present the film the way it was meant to be seen and it is easily the very best of the several DVDs (many of them unrestored) that are currently available.
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on August 24, 2014
One of Douglas Fairbanks' most popular movies, and famous until this day, "The Thief of Bagdad" literally lures us into a world of fairy tales from '1001 Nights' - it's ALL there, a dashing hero, the very PICTURE of a man, fighting for a lovely princess, the villain from faraway Mongolia, the magical tricks with ropes and flying carpets, and magnificent settings depicting old Bagdad...
And when "Kino" promises us a 'Deluxe Edition' of this marvelous masterpiece, once again we're certainly NOT disappointed: the original picture has been restored with the utmost care, and all the color effects shine in all their REAL brightness again: a shade of blue for the nightly outdoor scenes, a lovely pastel orange for the romantic moments - and a flaming red for that breathtaking sequence in the "Valley of Fire"! This movie will REALLY take you into another world...
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on January 5, 2016
This is for the new restored version on Amazon Prime - full runnng length, with original tint and beautiful musical score.

This is a truly entertaining film - taking the story from 1001 Arabian Nights (if you've seen disney's Aladdin you will recognize a number of similar plot elements) Douglas Fairbanks is a street thief who ends up falling in love with a princess and going through all sorts of trials to become a prince worthy of her. Anna may Wong also is gorgeous as a supporting actress playing a scheming handmaiden. watching this over 90 year old movie from the modern perspective of an era of computerized effects and CGI is a treat: one has to remind oneself that all the incredible stunts you see, the vast, towering sets, are really happening as you see them (and Douglas did his own stunts - with little to no safety equipment). the fast paced stunts, Fairbank's perfect charm and incredible athleticism, and a whimsical script keep one engaged for what is a relatively long movie (2 1/2 hours) for the day. if you are interested in fantasy, movie history, or the silent era, it is a must see. and it is not a bad movie to introduce folks who have never seen a silent move to one of the gems of the era.
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on January 21, 2014
As a film buff I had long heard about Douglas Fairbanks and I wondered if he really was that great an actor until I finally watched my first ever Fairbanks film and now I know what everyone was talking about. Before Gable there was Fairbanks and he is every bit the quintessential leading man here in this film. First of all in an era before anabolic steroids this guy has got a really ripped bod! I wonder how he managed it in those days aside from great genes! I mean this was before the days of Gold's Gym so whatever his exercise regime was it really worked!

Secondly his acting was very good and without the spoken word you can only marvel at what he was able to accomplish in telling a story so well just like my favorite silent actor of all time Charlie Chaplin. While obviously not as good as modern day CGI special effects I thought the effects here were pretty decent and holds up well even when compared with what came decades later. My biggest bugbear when it comes to silents is the use of non-original music scores as we get to hear Rimsky-Korsakov all the time but Carl Davis does a good job of adapting the piece so that it's not just a rehash of the same themes over and over. Some of the other restored classic silents were fortunate enough to find the original scores and this would have made it perfect for me for this release.

Overall, the restored picture quality while not perfect is very good coming from an obviously well-protected master source and holds up well when compared with even newer restorations such as Kino's "Battleship Potemkin" and "Metropolis" and infinitely better when compared with the abysmal "Les Vampires". The most glaring imperfection comes with some flaring on the frames after Fairbanks first escapes out of the palace walls and spends some time reflecting while leaning against the walls. Otherwise the other imperfections are relatively minor and certainly not enough to spoil my viewing enjoyment. The flim's length was also a little longer than I would have liked it but this is a minor annoyance for me.

Great story, great picture quality considering the age and great acting makes this an easy review for film buffs.

Highly recommended!
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on January 16, 2016
Unfortunately the first copy of the blu-ray I ordered from amazon had both the sound and the picture cutting in and out and I am waiting for my replacement copy now. One confusing thing I am seeing is this copy lists a run time of 149 minutes as opposed to documented 155 minutes, anyone know anything about this besides the guys with 139 minute version comment? The reason I am giving 5 stars is based solely on the movie itself. I had not seen the movie in several years and caught the digitally remastered version on TCM recently which prompted me to get a copy. The sound and picture quality are fantastic compared to the old crackly copies they used to show on free tv many years ago. The best part about this movie is that it is timelessly entertaining and fantastical aided greatly by the amazing and beautiful set designs of William Cameron Menzies bringing everything to life while Fairbanks and the rest of the cast over-act just enough to keep the captions at a minimum ;)
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on March 8, 2016
I must keep remembering that this film is older than me...given that, I was really very impressed with cinematographic tricks used, and the marvelous set that was built to make this movie. They just don't do it like that anymore... keep also, in mind, that this is a silent movie, not what I grew up with, either... however, the movie is a marvelous experiment in human expression and in photographic engineering... it is long, took me some days to watch it all... however, in the end, I was impressed, really impressed... now the story line is known and a bit hokey, so no surprises there... but this is a terrific example of film making all those many years ago, and why folks went to those wonderful, elaborate theaters to spend the night to watch a movie... yep, it was worth doing...
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on March 23, 2013
Having seen the Cohen restoration on the big screen before the video was released I was pleased to see the DVD was also of excellent quality. The musical score was far too repetitive. Two and one-half hours of Scherezade, even scored by the great Carl Davis was way too much. {Try his 5 1/2 hours for Napoleon! Now that was great!} The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra's performance at the Castro Theatre was brilliant and ever changing.
I won't even bother mentioning the movie. It has enthralled me since I first saw it in the 70's with the Gaylord Carter score.
This is a great dvd release.
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on March 24, 2013
Not my favorite Fairbanks film (that would be THE MARK OF ZORRO), but this is the most eye-popping one, with some of the most gorgeous production design ever. For me, it is the Carl Davis score that makes this version-I have loved his adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov's SCHEHERAZADE for this film along with other snippets of classics along with his own original work (parts of this score can be heard on the Virgin Records CD "The Silents). A must-have for silent film lovers!
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on September 5, 2017
Great presentation of a great film. SuperCool silent fantasy. Anna Mae Wong is beautiful. Great early special effects. Check it out! But beware. It won't play in America unless you have an all region player.
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