The Thief of Bagdad

Screening on Film
Directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan.
With John Justin, Conrad Veidt, Sabu.
UK, 1940, 35mm, color, 106 min.

O is for Oracles

Based on the fables of The Arabian Nights, this Korda-produced epic remains a cult favorite of American directors such as Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, who adapted many of the film’s themes in their own respective spectacles. After Abu, a street urchin, is imprisoned for stealing, he meets Prince Ahmad, the recently deposed ruler who has been sent to the dungeon by his former right-hand man, Jaffar. The unlikely duo manages to escape and embark on a wild adventure that involves a genie (winningly portrayed by Rex Ingram), an "all-seeing eye," and a magic carpet. The scale of the production proved too great to complete in World War II–era Great Britain and passed through the hands of six directors before its spectacular completion.

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive