The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
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1940's The Thief of Bagdad, though a remake of a 1924 silent film, stands out as the main source material for Disney's Aladdin, if only on account of the villain being a sorcerer called Jaffar. The movie nevertheless splits the Aladdin role in two, with John Justin playing the fallen prince who must save the kingdom and the princess, and Sabu as the thief who finds a genie in a bottle (a genie more green than blue, but same difference). As special effects spectaculars go, The Thief of Bagdad surprises with its cutting-edge use of chromakey, a technique that wouldn't be put into wide use for decades (and is far from perfected here), and provides a lot of neat fantastical images, at least eventually. The magic doesn't really kick in until the second act. Evoking later movies like the Sinbad film Harryhausen worked on, it stands as a fun enough fantasy family film, a storybook come to life in vivid Technicolor. The plot is all over the place, but in the best fairy tale way.
Really, best cinematography this studio movie?? I've preferred the silent version.
That genie's toenails and fingernails really creeped me out! Otherwise, wonderful clarity, color, and detail.
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In 13 official lists
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This movie ranks #18 in Academy Award Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #98 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Narrative Films (2012)
This movie ranks #142 in The British Film Institute: 360 Classics
This movie ranks #147 in Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen
This movie ranks #203 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
This movie ranks #226 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #242 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
This movie ranks #348 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #455 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #711 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #886 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #892 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #918 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life