The Thief of Bagdad
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(Jul 01, 2016)
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Newly restored from two 35mm negatives and incorporating the color tints and tones of the original release prints, this definitive edition of The Thief of Bagdad, features silent film score maestro Carl Davis conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, performing a magnificent score that intermingles Davis own music with the iconic Orientalia of Rimsky Korsakov.
Bonus Features: Audio commentary by Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance, Featurette including rare behind-the-scenes photographs.
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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.
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...
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.