The Thief Of Bagdad

Raoul Walsh

T. it.: Il ladro di Bagdad. S.: Elton Thomas [Douglas Fairbanks]. Scen.: Lotta Woods. F.: Arthur Edeson. Mo.: William Nolan. Scgf.: William Cameron Menzies. Mu.: Mortimer Wilson. Int.: Douglas Fairbanks (Ahmed, il ladro), Snitz Edwards (il complice), Charles Belcher (il santone), Julanne Johnston (la Principessa), Sojin (il principe mongolo), Anna May Wong (la schiava mongola), Winter Blossom (la schiava del liuto), Etta Lee (la schiava della sabbia), Brandon Hurst (il Califfo), Tote Du Crow (l’indovino), Noble Johnson (il principe indiano), Mathilde Comont (il principe persiano). Prod.: Douglas Fairbanks Pictures. Pri. pro.: 18 marzo 1924 35mm. D. 155’. Bn. 

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Raoul Walsh was the last major creative figure to join The Thief of Bagdad, a Doug­las Fairbanks production that had been in the works for over a year by the time Walsh came on board. Fairbanks had already writ­ten a massive screenplay (under his nom de plume Elton Thomas) and William Cam­eron Menzies had already designed and constructed the towering art nouveau sets. When Fairbanks, trying to convince a reluc­tant Walsh to take the assignment, took him on a tour of Menzies’ Bagdad, “I caught my breath,” Walsh recalled in his 1974 autobiography Each Man in His Time, “I changed my mind then and there. I would make The Thief of Bagdad and it would be the best picture I had ever directed. That is what one man’s genius can do to another man’s ego”. Though the final film remained very much an expression of Fairbanks’s un­flaggingly optimistic, go-getter personality, the fit with Walsh is quite close: Fairbanks already possesses the internal dynamism of the self-propelled Walsh protagonist (though without the dark side) and Walsh’s later use of great heights as a visual meta­phor for his characters’ (over)achievement, as in High Sierra and White Heat, may have originated with Fairbanks’s vertiginous stunts. (Walsh himself took the credit for engineering the film’s magic carpet – which took flight suspended by cables from a con­struction crane.) For Jacques Lourcelles, however, the film remained “a very minor work” for Walsh: “Walsh may have under­stood Fairbanks perfectly, but his comic strip character did not inspire him”. Tell­ingly, Walsh’s only other film with a strong fantasy element was his notorious 1945 flop The Horn Blows at Midnight.
(Dave Kehr)

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Per concessione di Cohen Film Collection