Arabian Nights

1942

Action / Adventure

86
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 55%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 1013

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Leif Erickson as Kamar
John Qualen as Aladdin
Shemp Howard as Sinbad
Sabu as Ali Ben Ali
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
699.94 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 26 min
P/S 1 / 2
1.24 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 26 min
P/S 4 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bsmith5552 6 / 10

Pure WWII Escapism

With the U.S.A. having just entered WWII, the people were desperately searching for something to take their minds off of the horrors of war. "Arabian Nights" served that purpose. It was successful enough to spawn a number of similar films throughout the 1940s. Most were shot in the spectacular three-strip Technicolor process and had similar plots and casts..

Make no mistake about it, "Arabian Nights" is nothing more than a "B" adventure film dressed up in Technicolor with daring heroes, beautiful women and slap stick comedy. The film could have done with out the ridiculous prologue (and epilogue) where a comedic looking sheik or something reads the story to a bunch of giggling members of a harem.

The plot is simple. Caliph Haroun-Al Raschid (Jon Hall) has put down a revolt by his brother Kamar (Leif Ericson) and has him being tortured in the public square. Just as he is about to show his brother mercy, the brother's supporters attack and free him. Al-Raschid and his followers flee and he is wounded near a troupe of entertainers. He is found by Ali Ben Ali (Sabu) who protects his true identity. With Al-Raschid believed dead, Kamar assumes the throne.

Within the entertainment group is the beautiful dancer Sherazade (Maria Montez) whom Ahmad loves and with whom Al-Raschid also falls in love. Sherazade on the other hand seeks power by becoming the wife of the Caliph. Al-Raschid is forced to conceal his identity until he can overthrow his brother. That's basically it.

With Billy Gilbert (Ahmad), Shemp Howard (Sinbad) and John Qualen (Aladdin) around to provide the slapstick type humor, the story becomes a little more than a Three Stooges comedy.

The real villain of the piece is Edgar Barrier as Nadan the scheming "trusted" assistant to Kamar. He is ready to double cross anyone to achieve his goal of becoming Caliph himself. Turhan Bey plays a Captain of the guard who is equally treacherous. A thin Thomas Gomez stands out as the evil slave trader Hakim who tries to sell off the lovely Sherazade as a slave.

Sabu made a career out of this sort of role as the friend of the hero who manages to slip in and out of trouble in a likable manner. Hall, Montez and Bey would go on to make similar such sand and sandal adventure films in the future.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 5 / 10

Routine exoticism

ARABIAN NIGHTS is a rather routine Hollywood adaptation of the Middle Eastern source material, made with a juvenile audience in mind. I guess the film-makers were attempting to distract contemporary audiences from all of the bad stuff going on around the world at the time, hence them making this very 'safe' piece of entertainment.

Sadly, ARABIAN NIGHTS is simply too routine to be very entertaining. There's a silly, pantomime feel to the whole thing, a campiness that just wasn't there in other contemporary fare from the era. The film also seems to be a bit miscast in terms of the lead actors. Jon Hall is a dullish hero and Maria Montez, while acceptable, suffers from playing a one-dimensional Scheherazade. The romance stuff is sappy and boring.

To my disappointment, there isn't any of the magical/effects type stuff to enjoy here, and nor is there much in the way of action. What we do get are some fun supporting turns from the likes of genre mainstay Sabu (underutilised, unfortunately), Shemp Howard randomly playing a comedic Sinbad, Turhan Bey, Laurel & Hardy comedy actor Billy Gilbert, and Leif Erickson.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 5 / 10

Never before has live action seem so animated.

The breath-taking color photography wins massive acclaim here in the first of the Maria Montez/Jon Hall/Sabu pairings where mostly American actors (and certainly none of Arabic background) put on traditional Islam attire and play dress-up in this cartoonish adventure. Made with the mentality of teenaged boys, this silly but often entertaining adventure, is certainly outlandish, but if you go in expecting realism, you will be sorely disappointed. Not as well made as "The Thief of Bagdad", this still has enough spark to make for a 90 minute trip into the world of fantasy. It deals with two brothers who hate each other (Hall and Leif Erickson) fighting over the role of Caliph which Hall achieved through being the legitimate heir and Erickson has tried to claim through the assistance of loyal followers willing to resort to the most evil efforts in order to dethrone Hall. When first seen, Erickson is strapped, hanging in mid-air, having tried to overthrow his brother, with hungry vultures waiting for the moment of death to occur. Of course, this never comes, and when Hall visits his brother, he shows a kindness which Erickson literally spits back into his face.

Both Hall and Erickson are enamored of the beautiful dancer Montez who only wants to marry the true heir. When Erickson escapes, Hall is suddenly injured through a sudden thrust of an arrow, and Montez's acrobatic pal Sabu takes off his ring in an attempt to save his life. Not revealing his real identity, the recovering Hall must now reclaim his throne, and this leads to a battle between brothers to the death. In the meantime, there's a ton of juvenile style comedy, especially in the casting of Billy Gilbert as the head of Sabu's acrobatic troop. You know the only weapon Gilbert will most likely use is his big belly which as you guess gives an added sound effect every time he thrusts it out to "boink" somebody off of him. Then there's Shemp Howard as an aging Sinbad and John Qualen as an aging Aladdin, still searching for his lost lamp. One funny moment has Qualen rubbing a lamp he's found and the apparent emergence of a genie.

Still, the scene-stealer of this colorful caper is the always magnetic Sabu whose youthful personality and beautiful body are exposed while Hall seems to look on in envy. Sabu and Montez were created for movies like this, and even when they become too silly to believe, they retain a youthful innocence that makes them absolutely charming and a lot of fun to watch. It's always obvious how things are going to turn out, and there is about as much realism and historical fact as there is the believability of the casting, but ultimately, that does not matter at all. World War II audiences thrived on fantastic stories like this, and despicable villains that in the end we knew would be defeated and destroyed, much like the villains that the allies were determined to defeat all over the world.

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