Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)

85-87 mins | Fantasy | 14 January 1944

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Raiders of the Desert . The story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is part of the famous Arabian Nights collection, also known as The Thousand and One Nights . According to modern historians, the city of Baghdad reached its zenith under the caliph Harun ar-Rashid, whose reign was the setting for the Arabian Nights fables. The decline of Baghdad began when Hulagu, the grandson of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, took the city in 1258, thus ending the rule of the Abbasid caliphate.
       Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was the fourth of six Universal adventure films to co-star Maria Montez and Jon Hall. It also featured the motion picture debut of actress Ramsey Ames, who had been discovered as a nineteen-year-old singer at The Stork Club in New York City. According to HR new items, Sabu was originally cast as "Jamiel" in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves , but after being drafted into military service, he was replaced by Turban Bey. HR news items include George Dolenz in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Some scenes in the film were shot on location in Red Rock Canyon National Park in California and Kanab, UT, according to HR news items.
       Modern sources report that the film was made at a cost of $792,714, including $7,300 for the original screenplay by Edmund L. Hartmann and $18,000 for the services of director Arthur Lubin. Modern sources add the following to the crew credits: Dance dir Lester ... More Less

The working title of this film was Raiders of the Desert . The story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is part of the famous Arabian Nights collection, also known as The Thousand and One Nights . According to modern historians, the city of Baghdad reached its zenith under the caliph Harun ar-Rashid, whose reign was the setting for the Arabian Nights fables. The decline of Baghdad began when Hulagu, the grandson of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, took the city in 1258, thus ending the rule of the Abbasid caliphate.
       Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was the fourth of six Universal adventure films to co-star Maria Montez and Jon Hall. It also featured the motion picture debut of actress Ramsey Ames, who had been discovered as a nineteen-year-old singer at The Stork Club in New York City. According to HR new items, Sabu was originally cast as "Jamiel" in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves , but after being drafted into military service, he was replaced by Turban Bey. HR news items include George Dolenz in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Some scenes in the film were shot on location in Red Rock Canyon National Park in California and Kanab, UT, according to HR news items.
       Modern sources report that the film was made at a cost of $792,714, including $7,300 for the original screenplay by Edmund L. Hartmann and $18,000 for the services of director Arthur Lubin. Modern sources add the following to the crew credits: Dance dir Lester Horton; Scr clerk Evelyn Bostock; 2d asst dir Judson Cox; 2d unit cine Harry Hallenberger; 2d unit dir Fred Frank and Ralph Slosser; and 2d unit scr clerk Joe Kenny . Modern sources include in the cast: Stewart East ( Prince of Cawpore ); Carl Sepulveda ( Palace guard ); Margaret Zane, Thelma Haven, Karen Knight and Geraldine Fisette ( Handmaidens ); Alma Pappas ( Princess Kanza Omar ); and Betty Lorraine ( Paulita Arvizu ) . In 1952, Universal produced a sequel to Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves ; entitled Son of Ali Baba , it starred Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie and was directed by Kurt Neumann. In 1965, Universal remade Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves as The Sword of Ali Baba , directed by Virgil W. Vogel, with Frank Puglia reprising his role as "Prince Cassim" and using footage from the 1942 original (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.4835). Among the numerous films inspired by the tale of Ali Baba are: the 1918 Fox production Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves , directed by S. A. and C. M. Franklin and starring George Stone and Gertrude Messinger (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0045); the 1934 British film Chu Chin Chow , directed by Walter Forde and starring Sir George Robey and Fritz Kortner (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.5305); the 1954 French production Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs , directed by Jacques Becker and starring Fernandel and Samia Gamal; and the 1961 Italian film Le sette fatiche di Ali Baba , directed by Emimmo Salvi and starring Rod Flash and Bella Cortez. For more information on the tales of the Arabian Nights , as well as films either based on or inspired by them, see the entries below for Arabian Nights and Sinbad the Sailor . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Jan 1944.
---
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1943.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jan 44
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Jan 44
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 43
p. 1, 3
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 43
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 44
p. 15.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Jan 44
p. 1713.
New York Times
16 Mar 44
p. 17.
Variety
12 Jan 44
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by, Wrt for the scr by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score and dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Horse expert
Fencing instructor
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short stories The Arabian Nights' Entertainment , translated by Antoine Galland (Paris, 1704).
SONGS
"40 Thieves and One for All," music by Edward Ward, lyrics by J. Keirn Brennan.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Raiders of the Desert
Release Date:
14 January 1944
Production Date:
28 June--late August 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12432
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
85-87
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9665
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Upon his successful invasion of Baghdad, Hulagu Khan, the Mongol ruler, orders that one hundred of the city's citizens be tortured to death until the Caliph, the deposed ruler of the city, is turned over to him. Outside the city, the Caliph attempts to organize his troops and retake Baghdad while his young son Ali hides in the home of Prince Cassim. Cassim, however, is a traitor to his people, and the Caliph falls into a Mongol trap and is killed. Ali manages to escape, however, and as he wanders the barren lands outside the city, he discovers a secret cave which is home to a band of thieves. Upon the thieves' return, the brave Ali is accepted into their ranks and adopted by Old Baba, their leader. Ten years later, the thieves are the only remaining resistance in Baghdad to the rule of Hulagu, who offers 10,000 pieces of gold for the capture of their young leader, Ali Baba, and the destruction of his men. Learning about a Mongol caravan carrying the fiancée of Hulagu, Ali and his protector Abdullah ride to investigate the matter, and Ali is captured as he talks to Amara, Cassim's daughter and Hulagu's intended. Upon her arrival in Baghdad, Amara tries to break her engagement to the Mongol leader, but the ambitious Cassim forbids it. Later, as he is being prepared for torture, Ali recognizes Cassim, and the young man vows to avenge his father's death. Upon the urgings of Jamiel, her slave, Amara attempts to tell Ali that she is not responsible for his imprisonment, only to be taken prisoner herself when the thieves rescue Ali. ... +


Upon his successful invasion of Baghdad, Hulagu Khan, the Mongol ruler, orders that one hundred of the city's citizens be tortured to death until the Caliph, the deposed ruler of the city, is turned over to him. Outside the city, the Caliph attempts to organize his troops and retake Baghdad while his young son Ali hides in the home of Prince Cassim. Cassim, however, is a traitor to his people, and the Caliph falls into a Mongol trap and is killed. Ali manages to escape, however, and as he wanders the barren lands outside the city, he discovers a secret cave which is home to a band of thieves. Upon the thieves' return, the brave Ali is accepted into their ranks and adopted by Old Baba, their leader. Ten years later, the thieves are the only remaining resistance in Baghdad to the rule of Hulagu, who offers 10,000 pieces of gold for the capture of their young leader, Ali Baba, and the destruction of his men. Learning about a Mongol caravan carrying the fiancée of Hulagu, Ali and his protector Abdullah ride to investigate the matter, and Ali is captured as he talks to Amara, Cassim's daughter and Hulagu's intended. Upon her arrival in Baghdad, Amara tries to break her engagement to the Mongol leader, but the ambitious Cassim forbids it. Later, as he is being prepared for torture, Ali recognizes Cassim, and the young man vows to avenge his father's death. Upon the urgings of Jamiel, her slave, Amara attempts to tell Ali that she is not responsible for his imprisonment, only to be taken prisoner herself when the thieves rescue Ali. Old Baba is mortally wounded in the rescue, and his dying wish is that his adopted son reclaim his rightful place as the ruler of Baghdad. Unaware of Amara's heritage, Ali arranges to trade her for Cassim, but upon their arrival at the traitor's estate, Ali realizes that she is his old childhood friend. Meanwhile, Hulagu receives Ali's offer and tells Cassim that the choice is his. When the cowardly traitor does not appear at his home the next morning, the thieves call for Amara's death to avenge that of Old Baba, but Ali refuses and orders her safe return to Baghdad. When Amara arrives at Hulagu's palace, Cassim confesses that Ali is the Caliph's son, after which Amara proclaims her love for the bandit leader. Amara is then tricked into agreeing to marry Hulagu when Cassim pretends he is being tortured. The wedding, however, is merely another Mongol trap for Ali and his men. Despite Cassim's preparations, Ali and his men manage to overwhelm the Mongol troops and gain entrance into the city. Failing to uncover the thieves, Cassim is executed by Hulagu. Soon thereafter, the thieves attack, and with the help of the people of Baghdad, the Mongols are defeated. Ali then takes his rightful place as the new Caliph, with Amara at his side. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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