The Thief Of Bagdad
Pure genie- us
Release Date: OUT NOW!
1940 | U | Blu- ray Directors: Various Cast: Sabu, June Duprez, Conrad Veidt
Billed as “The
wonder picture of all time!”, The Thief Of Bagdad isn’t short on ambition.
This remake of 1924’ s Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler was mounted by British movie impressario Alexander Korda and burned through the talents of no less than six directors, including the brilliant Michael Powell ( The Red Shoes).
So it’s no surprise that it dreams in Technicolor, drunk on the possibilities of cinema, still such a young artform in 1940. It conjures a storybook world where Sultans’ palaces seem carved from nougat and ancient mythology melts into Art Deco splendor. There are minarets and elephants, flying
Release Date: OUT NOW!
2014 | 15 | Blu- ray/ DVD Director: John Erick Dowdle Cast: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert
academic leads a scary jaunt into the Catacombs beneath Paris on a hunt for real- life alchemist Nicholas Flamel and his immortality- granting philosopher’s stone. Obsessed archaeology professor Scarlett Marlowe ( Perdita Weeks) may have elements of Indiana Jones in her DNA, but As Above, So Below is a very different kind of movie, a creepy, low- budget horror that succeeds in unsettling without ever quite managing to give you the genuine willies.
The writing/ directing/ producing Dowdle brothers ( Quarantine, Devil) shot in the Catacombs for real, and they mine the dark and claustrophobia of Paris’s labyrinthine carpets and laughing genies, monstrous spiders in mountain temples and mechanical horses soaring over a Basra that only Scheherazade knew.
It’s an absolute cake of a film. And while the love story may be sugar- rich, Conrad Veidt’s icy sorcerer makes for a compelling antagonist, more thwarted romantic lead than generically hissable villain. Plucky boy daredevil Sabu has enough charisma to ignite the screen and the effects still crackle with a pioneering wow.
Be warned, though: the refrain of Sabu’s sea shanty (“I want to be a bandit/ Can’t you understand it?”) will stalk your head for days.
Trailer, image gallery, poster gallery. Nick Setchfield Vivien Leigh was the original choice to play the princess, but then won the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind. subterranean tunnel system for all it’s worth. They also give the found- footage subgenre a new lease of life, making the characters’ individual POVs and personal camera lights key to the storytelling.
Unfortunately the scares – a mix of psychological horror, ancient myths reheated, and weird figures lurking in the corner of your eye – have little real structure, and by the final act the movie feels more like a fairground haunted house ride than a story, throwing shocks at you with little rhyme or reason.
The Blu- ray release ( rated) comes with only “Inside As Above, So Below”, a sub- four- minute featurette that gives the briefest snapshot of the movie’s origins. The DVD has zero. Richard Edwards In the Harry Potter books, Nicholas Flamel is an old friend of Albus Dumbledore; he plays a big role in The Philosopher’s Stone.
“If only we had the ability to stand up!”
The art gallery had seen better days.