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  1. #1
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    It is very hard to choose a favorite British film. I grew up in the forties/ fifties when there were so many fabulous films exploding out after the war. I loved all the Archers films and have recently purchased them on D.V.D. They stand up pretty well, particularly Colonal Blimp, I Know Where I'm Going, and The Red Shoes. Roger Livesey was a great chap.

    But The Thief of Baghdad came out when I was ten years old. It has had a lating impression and still is worth watching today in spite of the advances in film magic. There is an elegance about it which so many later films on a similar theme are sadly lacking. Conrad Veidt has got to be the screen villain par excellance.

    I was fascinated to learn recently that Michael Powell worked on it. Maybe that's why it has that same magic that have all his films.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    I didn't see it until I was in my thirties, so I reacted differently to it.....but a year or so ago I was on a train to London, sat opposite a middle-aged gentleman, writing. His mobile goes off, and he speaks fluent russian in a fantastic bass-baritone....straight out of central casting. I didn't check his boots for snow. Anyway, you get talking; he's a translater, came to Britain in the 70's. I say I'm off to the NFT to see The Thief of Bagdad.....he gets very excited....he remembers the film well, though he hasn't seen it since he was a small boy....peering through the canvas walls of a large tent, a mobile cinema show for the people of his small village in Turkmenistan, in the middle of nowhere basically. I suggest he comes along to the screening, but he grins and says 'No, no, I have such wonderful memories of it, I should hate to be disappointed now'....

    I wish I'd seen it as a kid......

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I didn't see it until I was in my thirties, so I reacted differently to it.....but a year or so ago I was on a train to London, sat opposite a middle-aged gentleman, writing. His mobile goes off, and he speaks fluent russian in a fantastic bass-baritone....straight out of central casting. I didn't check his boots for snow. Anyway, you get talking; he's a translater, came to Britain in the 70's. I say I'm off to the NFT to see The Thief of Bagdad.....he gets very excited....he remembers the film well, though he hasn't seen it since he was a small boy....peering through the canvas walls of a large tent, a mobile cinema show for the people of his small village in Turkmenistan, in the middle of nowhere basically. I suggest he comes along to the screening, but he grins and says 'No, no, I have such wonderful memories of it, I should hate to be disappointed now'....

    I wish I'd seen it as a kid......
    When Michael Powell went to Moscow to do the Pavlova film that he was peripherally involved in, he was feted for his involvement in ToB. It was apparently very well remembered and well loved



    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: England Tom Bancroft's Avatar
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    I know it features elsewhere in these forums, but I have just watched this fabulous movie yet again, this time on Channel 4.



    The film is the same age as me and I first saw it at the Odeon, Whalley Range, Manchester with my mum and my gran in 1946. Dad was still yet to return from from WW2.



    That was it! - the images were planted in my memory forever. Some of the special effects may have been bettered since, but this was 62 years ago and to a six year old they were REAL.



    It is one of the few movies that I can watch over and over again and never tire of. The version that Channel 4 show is in excellent condition and the colours seem as fresh they were all those years ago.



    As soon as I hear the background music over the opening credits based on Sabu's "I Want To Be Sailor Song", I get a lump in my throat as nostalgia for those far off days of my childhood and my admiration for this timeless classic overtake me.



    Sorry if all this sounds a bit mushy, but I can't help it!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    You're quite right, Tom, it is a wonderful film - the special effects are still respectable, after all this time..



    rgds

    Rob

  6. #6
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I know it features elsewhere in these forums, but I have just watched this fabulous movie yet again, this time on Channel 4.



    The film is the same age as me and I first saw it at the Odeon, Whalley Range, Manchester with my mum and my gran in 1946. Dad was still yet to return from from WW2.



    That was it! - the images were planted in my memory forever. Some of the special effects may have been bettered since, but this was 62 years ago and to a six year old they were REAL.



    It is one of the few movies that I can watch over and over again and never tire of. The version that Channel 4 show is in excellent condition and the colours seem as fresh they were all those years ago.



    As soon as I hear the background music over the opening credits based on Sabu's "I Want To Be Sailor Song", I get a lump in my throat as nostalgia for those far off days of my childhood and my admiration for this timeless classic overtake me.



    Sorry if all this sounds a bit mushy, but I can't help it!
    Nothing wrong with being a bit mushy. It's a great film and there are a lot of people that like it just as much. you're in very good company.



    Have you seen the Criterion DVD and have you heard the Scorsese / Coppolla commentary? Marty likes it and admires it but Francis really loves it



    "I want to be a bandit,

    Can't you understand it."



    Not many films have the lyrics of their songs written by a Baron, the head of the British diplomatic service



    Steve

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    It was a landmark film for the British Film Industry!

    Ta Ta

    MArky B

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: Europe
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    I know it features elsewhere in these forums, but I have just watched this fabulous movie yet again, this time on Channel 4.



    The film is the same age as me and I first saw it at the Odeon, Whalley Range, Manchester with my mum and my gran in 1946. Dad was still yet to return from from WW2.



    That was it! - the images were planted in my memory forever. Some of the special effects may have been bettered since, but this was 62 years ago and to a six year old they were REAL.



    It is one of the few movies that I can watch over and over again and never tire of. The version that Channel 4 show is in excellent condition and the colours seem as fresh they were all those years ago.



    As soon as I hear the background music over the opening credits based on Sabu's "I Want To Be Sailor Song", I get a lump in my throat as nostalgia for those far off days of my childhood and my admiration for this timeless classic overtake me.



    Sorry if all this sounds a bit mushy, but I can't help it!
    As Steve says, there is no reason at all why you shouldn't feel mushy about a film that means so much to you.



    Everyone here should feel the same way about a small number of films that have a really significant meaning to them - if they don't, they should really be here [IMO!]

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    What a magical film this is. It is one of the only films that capture what it is like to read a children's book - wonderfully imaginative and intelligent. The color on the DVD is brilliantly clear and vivid.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    I wish I'd seen it as a kid......
    Conversely, the only time I ever saw it was as a kid and I didn't like it at all.



    Just didn't measure up to anything by Ray Harryhausen, but I'll probably have different thoughts on a (belated) second viewing...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Conversely, the only time I ever saw it was as a kid and I didn't like it at all.

    Just didn't measure up to anything by Ray Harryhausen, but I'll probably have different thoughts on a (belated) second viewing...
    Would it persuade you to try again if I told you that Leslie Phillips and Cleo Laine are both extras?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    Would it persuade you to try again if I told you that Leslie Phillips and Cleo Laine are both extras?
    Leslie yes, Cleo no

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    I'm hoping to take the family Monday night to a one off screening in NYC, But tickets do not go on sale until two hours before the show !

  14. #14
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Conversely, the only time I ever saw it was as a kid and I didn't like it at all.

    Just didn't measure up to anything by Ray Harryhausen, but I'll probably have different thoughts on a (belated) second viewing...
    Ray Harryhausen talks about how much he admires it and how much it inspired him in an interview on the Criterion DVD. The same piece also interviews Dennis Muren, and Craig Barron



    Steve

  15. #15
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Leslie yes, Cleo no
    She doesn't sing in it if that's what is putting you off. She was only 13 and played an urchin in the market scene, along with her sister and brother. Leslie Philips was just 15 or 16.



    Glynis Johns is in there as well



    Steve

  16. #16
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    But The Thief of Baghdad came out when I was ten years old. It has had a lating impression and still is worth watching today in spite of the advances in film magic. There is an elegance about it which so many later films on a similar theme are sadly lacking. Conrad Veidt has got to be the screen villain par excellance.



    I* * *

    .
    I second this, but I thought all the Korda London Films were elegant, more so than most Hollywood-produced films. It's been a while, but I think Alexander Korda had to wait until after the war to finish this film.



    Conrad Veidt might have been most people's idea of Nazihood personified, but he wasn't, and whenever he played a Nazi--and he always did a superb jou--his characterization was never to show any possible good side to the Nazis.

  17. #17
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    "Thief of Bagdad" is the first film with M.Powell involved in that I saw, I just love it.....the genius appearing on the beach, the automats, the magnificents settings for the palace, streets of Bagdad.....and Sabu at his best ( better than in "The Jungle Book" which I recently saw...)



    Moon.

  18. #18
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    "Thief of Bagdad" is the first film with M.Powell involved in that I saw, I just love it.....the genius appearing on the beach, the automats, the magnificents settings for the palace, streets of Bagdad.....and Sabu at his best ( better than in "The Jungle Book" which I recently saw...)



    Moon.
    Was the Genie a genius?

    Or do you mean that Abu was a genius to trick him back into the bottle?



    They use the spelling "Djinn" in the cast list. But they also spell Bagdad in the old way, without the 'h'. It's now usually called Baghdad



    Steve

  19. #19
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    Was the Genie a genius?

    Or do you mean that Abu was a genius to trick him back into the bottle?



    They use the spelling "Djinn" in the cast list. But they also spell Bagdad in the old way, without the 'h'. It's now usually called Baghdad



    Steve
    Ah, Steve, what shall I do without you !!



    Of course, it's a Genie ( and he is not a genius, as the wise boy made him going back to the bottle !!)



    Moon.

  20. #20
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    "THE THIEF OF BAGDAD" This is one film that I realy enjoyed, Sabu with the Genie and then with the spiders web, a wonderful film, one of my favourites.

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