Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Thief of Bagdad

Until last night, The Thief of Bagdad had been on our list of classic movies to watch for well over a year. Since it was filmed before talkies I must admit, I kept putting off watching it. In the past I have wasted more than a few hours of my life on other must see classics that I was told we had to watch by film buffs. Don't get me wrong, I adore old movies. I probably geek out on them more than most people, but some classics are kind of a bore. That being said, this movie was definitely a pleasant surprise!

This swashbuckling Arabian Nights adventure was filmed in 1924 by Raoul Walsh and starred Douglas Fairbanks, Julanne Johnston and the stunning Anna May Wong. All of the sets and costumes were designed in dramatic art deco style. I may even watch it again just to take another look at some of the enormous stages! Considering that this was filmed nearly a hundred years ago is testament to how truly imaginative it was- even by today's standards. I am still amazed by the flying carpet, monsters, magical rope, an undersea world complete with mermaids, and many an acrobatic trick by Mr. Fairbanks himself.

In 2008, The Thief of Bagdad was ranked as the ninth best fantasy film of all time by the American Film Institute. If you are up for a silent film give this one a try for the inventive special effects, and Fairbanks' often comical hand gestures... especially when he wants to steal something!

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