The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
- Audrey Hepburn

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

User avatar
Alan K.
Posts: 96
Joined: December 15th, 2007, 9:08 pm
Location: Tinseltown
Contact:

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

Postby Alan K. » December 20th, 2007, 10:34 pm

This film is one of my seminal cinematic memories from watching WOR-TV's "Million Dollar Movie" while growing up in New Jersey. Although filmed in color, I watched it repeatedly in B&W and didn't see it in color until the days of VHS.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is terrific diversionary nonsense, beautifully filmed on the Universal backlot with some location work in Utah and the California desert.

Although Jon Hall and Maria Montez have been dismissed as serious actors, they looked terrific in this picture and managed to make the frequently absurd dialogue more than palatable. Montez, jawdroppingly gorgeous, was a better actress than given credit for. Her knowledge of English was lacking and she frequently emphasized the wrong word in a line of dialogue; at least this is what Turhan Bey told me back in 2000.

I love the character actors in this picture: Andy Devine, utterly absurd but loveable,the underrated Frank Puglia, Fortunio Bonanova, Moroni Olson, (off duty as a film noir police officer or doctor) gorgeous Ramsay Ames (I dreamed of Ramsay) and the wonderful Kurt Katch as Hulagu Khan.

Katch was a Yiddish theatre actor who fled Eastern Europe ahead of the Nazis. He was a unique performer who adds menacing heft in all of his films including The Mask of Dimitrios, and Background to Danger. In Ali Baba, he sports a shaved head ( an obviously fake skin cover), and exudes great menace while spitting out lines such as: "By the thousand one-eyed kings, I'll have their heads... or yours!"

"Ali Baba" is the best of Universal's WWII sword and sandal epics. The music in this picture will remain with me always. I still love it although I can't take it seriously. After all, how can one cast a sober glance at a film with Andy Devine playing a character named "Abdullah"?
"First is First and second is nobody"

User avatar
cinemalover
Posts: 1603
Joined: April 17th, 2007, 10:57 am
Location: Seattle, Washington

Postby cinemalover » December 21st, 2007, 12:13 pm

Hi moxie,
It is a wonderful dip into the realm of fantasy. Hall fits the bill just fine from a physical standpoint (which would become the standard of measure for all future Sinbad-type actors) and while not the most versatile actor on the scene, is credible enough not to distract from the spirit of the film. I'm curious, did your perception of the film change at all the first time you saw it in all its glorious color?
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.

User avatar
Alan K.
Posts: 96
Joined: December 15th, 2007, 9:08 pm
Location: Tinseltown
Contact:

"TECHNICOLOR, OHSESAME!

Postby Alan K. » December 21st, 2007, 4:02 pm

I'm curious, did your perception of the film change at all the first time you saw it in all its glorious color?


The color and the quality of the Technicolor print made the Ali Baba experience even richer. A curious reaction, because I am a rigid B&W purist. However, Technicolor was how the film was originally made and it allowed me an honest transition from the 1964 memories of the grainy family Zenith tube set into a brave new world of colored veils, tunics, Ramsey Ames' lipstick and to quote Kurt Katch,"...rubies, blood red for the people who stood in my way..."
"First is First and second is nobody"

feaito

Postby feaito » December 21st, 2007, 7:26 pm

I think this film was one of my favorite escapist-fantasy film during my childhood. I always enjoyed watching it, even in a B&W TV set :wink:

User avatar
Garbomaniac
Posts: 349
Joined: May 11th, 2007, 10:00 pm

Postby Garbomaniac » January 4th, 2009, 11:43 pm

Oh, this is one of my favorites, too! The Arabian Nights has always been a favorite topic for me in film. Ali Baba Goes to Town with Eddie Cantor and Gypsy Rose Lee, A Thousand and One Nights with Cornel Wilde, Evelyn Keyes, and Adele Jergens, and of course, Maureen O’Hara and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in Sinbad the Sailor.

But, Jon Hall and Maria Montez were something special. They did six pictures together, all of them fun, but my two favorites are Arabian Nights and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. She was often called the Queen of Technicolor (as was Maureen O’Hara and Betty Grable), and few women ever enjoyed being a star more! She is quoted as saying, “When I look at myself in the mirror, I am so beautiful I scream with joy!”


Image

User avatar
Ray Faiola
Posts: 21
Joined: May 31st, 2007, 9:39 am
Location: Ellenville, NY
Contact:

Re: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

Postby Ray Faiola » August 10th, 2010, 7:17 am

Universal was very fond of this picture, too. In fact, they recycled a lot of footage and had Frank Puglia repeat his performance in the remake SWORD OF ALI BABA. But Gavin MacLeod was certainly no Kurt Katch!!
Classic Film Scores on CD
http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com


Return to “Action and Adventure”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest