Sunday, February 12, 2006

Thief of Bagdad, The (1924)

Yeah, that's right boys, Brokeback Mountain got nothin' on THIS real man

Genre: Silent Adventure Family Fantasy

Starring: Douglas Fairbanks (The Black Pirate; The Iron Mask), Julanne Johnson (The Big Parade)

Directed By: Raoul Walsh (White Heat; Objective, Burma!)

Overview: A thief falls in love with a princess. When the time for her marriage comes, he dresses up as a suitor in hopes to steal her away, but finds himself instead on a tremendous adventure for the rarest treasure there is.

Acting: The melodrama is insane in this one. The miming and overexpression... it's so out there that it ends up being... endearing. You know the classic image of the woman with her hand on her forehead as she slowly swoons? Yeah that sort of thing. So it's not great acting, but it's great mood. Hard to explain but you'll get what I mean.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The 6 and a half acres that was used as a set is the biggest in Hollywood history. That has to count for something, and let me tell you, you can really tell. The city is huge, with sets easily 15 stories tall. Sure the monsters are a little costumey-cheese with wires and stuff, but on the other hand, there's monsters! This is vast in look...Breathtaking actually.
Rating: 8

Script: The writing was all old -school lingo like thees and thines while still praising Allah and in my opinion did well in not being racist (the writing, not the themes). The silent films tend rarely to have good wordsmiths, but reading the lines did in fact light me up a little. Definitely helped all aspects of the story.
Rating: 8

Plot: The story, though pretty formulaic, is overall original, and think of the time! This is one of the first Action Adventure stories ever filmed and though the stereotypes are all there (flying carpets, magic treasures, outrageous costumes), think of all the magic, danger and romance!
Rating: 8

Mood: Tremendous effort went into making this just right. I'll even include all the pantomiming in the mood it was so classic. Honestly if you see this movie you'll know what silent film is about. Big, bold and exaggerated, but man can it ever be exciting!
Rating: 9

Magic is everywhere in this film, but don't be afraid of heights

Overall Rating: 82% (Steal Yourself Away With This One)

Aftertaste: I was a little predisposed at not liking this. What a pleasant surprise. You watch this and you laugh at how ridiculous it is, with the ever-flexed bare chest and Arabian pants, the magic rope and all that happy go lucky thieving, but then the suitors and the armies and the costumes and sets get so elaborate you can't help getting sucked in. I was impressed. Yes, sir.