A Thousand and One Nights (1945)

92-93 mins | Comedy | 26 July 1945

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HISTORY

This picture was inspired by the novel A Thousand and One Nights , author unknown, circa 1450. The film opens with the following written prologue: "Many years ago in Baghdad a maiden postponed her execution for a thousand and one nights by telling a Sultan a different story each night. If the old girl were still telling them, the latest would be something like this--" Although a HR production chart places Kay Dowd in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The CBCS incorrectly lists Murray Leonard as "Ali the Tailor" and Frank Lackteen as "The camel driver." Leonard played the camel driver and John Abbott played Ali. Lackteen's role has not been identified. HR news items yield the following information about the film's production: For this production, Columbia erected the largest sets since their 1939 production Lost Horizon (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.2576). The set depicting the River of Vapors covered two sound stages. Location shooting was done at El Segundo and Vasquez Rocks in Chatsworth, CA. The picture was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Color Art Direction and Best Special Effects. Actor Rex Ingram also played a giant in the 1940 United Artists film The Thief of Baghdad (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films. 1931-40 ; F3.5486). For information on other films either based on or inspired by A Thousand and One Nights , see the above entry for Arabian Nights ... More Less

This picture was inspired by the novel A Thousand and One Nights , author unknown, circa 1450. The film opens with the following written prologue: "Many years ago in Baghdad a maiden postponed her execution for a thousand and one nights by telling a Sultan a different story each night. If the old girl were still telling them, the latest would be something like this--" Although a HR production chart places Kay Dowd in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The CBCS incorrectly lists Murray Leonard as "Ali the Tailor" and Frank Lackteen as "The camel driver." Leonard played the camel driver and John Abbott played Ali. Lackteen's role has not been identified. HR news items yield the following information about the film's production: For this production, Columbia erected the largest sets since their 1939 production Lost Horizon (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.2576). The set depicting the River of Vapors covered two sound stages. Location shooting was done at El Segundo and Vasquez Rocks in Chatsworth, CA. The picture was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Color Art Direction and Best Special Effects. Actor Rex Ingram also played a giant in the 1940 United Artists film The Thief of Baghdad (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films. 1931-40 ; F3.5486). For information on other films either based on or inspired by A Thousand and One Nights , see the above entry for Arabian Nights . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Jun 1945.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jun 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Jun 45
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 45
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 45
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 45
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Dec 44
p. 2242.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Jun 45
p. 2499.
New York Times
12 Jul 45
p. 8.
Variety
13 Jun 45
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Asst to the prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Research dir
Asst to research dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Can't Believe My Eyes" and "Beauty for Sale," words and music by Saul Chaplin and Eddie de Lange.
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 July 1945
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 11 July 1945
Production Date:
8 November 1944--27 January 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 June 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13385
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
92-93
Length(in feet):
8,428
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

One thousand years ago, a handsome vagabond named Aladdin croons in the town square while his jive-talking, wise-cracking friend Abdullah picks pockets. When the citizenry discover their valuables missing, they chase the two friends from the square and Aladdin seeks refuge in princess Armina's palanquin. After convincing the princess to drop her veil, Aladdin kisses her while the slaves carry the palanquin onto the palace grounds. As Armina surrenders to Aladdin's charms, her uncle, Prince Hadji, the evil twin of her father, Sultan Kamar Al-Kir, conspires to overthrow his brother with the help of the Grand Wazir, Abu-Hassan. Hadji, who intends to pose as the sultan, promises Hassan the princess' hand in marriage in return for his help in overthrowing and imprisoning his brother. That night, Aladdin sneaks into the palace courtyard to serenade the princess and is captured by the guards. In the dungeon, Aladdin is reunited with Abdullah, who has been apprehended for pickpocketing. When Hassan sentences Aladdin to hang, the princess turns to Novira, her lady-in-waiting, for help. Novira visits the dungeon, and while flattering the captain of the guards, who is pre-occupied playing gin, she steals his keys and slips them to Aladdin, who then escapes with Abdullah. Pursued by the guards, Aladdin and Abdullah seek refuge in a cave and there meet Kofir, the sorcerer, who consults his magic crystal and warns them of trouble surrounding the princess and her father. Advising Aladdin to seek the power of the magic lamp hidden in the mountain, Kofir directs him and a reluctant Abdullah through a crevice and into a tunnel inhabited by a menacing giant. After securing ... +


One thousand years ago, a handsome vagabond named Aladdin croons in the town square while his jive-talking, wise-cracking friend Abdullah picks pockets. When the citizenry discover their valuables missing, they chase the two friends from the square and Aladdin seeks refuge in princess Armina's palanquin. After convincing the princess to drop her veil, Aladdin kisses her while the slaves carry the palanquin onto the palace grounds. As Armina surrenders to Aladdin's charms, her uncle, Prince Hadji, the evil twin of her father, Sultan Kamar Al-Kir, conspires to overthrow his brother with the help of the Grand Wazir, Abu-Hassan. Hadji, who intends to pose as the sultan, promises Hassan the princess' hand in marriage in return for his help in overthrowing and imprisoning his brother. That night, Aladdin sneaks into the palace courtyard to serenade the princess and is captured by the guards. In the dungeon, Aladdin is reunited with Abdullah, who has been apprehended for pickpocketing. When Hassan sentences Aladdin to hang, the princess turns to Novira, her lady-in-waiting, for help. Novira visits the dungeon, and while flattering the captain of the guards, who is pre-occupied playing gin, she steals his keys and slips them to Aladdin, who then escapes with Abdullah. Pursued by the guards, Aladdin and Abdullah seek refuge in a cave and there meet Kofir, the sorcerer, who consults his magic crystal and warns them of trouble surrounding the princess and her father. Advising Aladdin to seek the power of the magic lamp hidden in the mountain, Kofir directs him and a reluctant Abdullah through a crevice and into a tunnel inhabited by a menacing giant. After securing the lamp, Aladdin runs back to the crevice, but it has been sealed by Kofir, who demands the lamp as the price of their release. As Aladdin ponders his options, a genie arises from the lamp and directs him to rub the lamp and free her. She then proclaims that as long as he possesses the lamp, she will be his eternal slave, although no one else will be able to see her. When Aladdin bids the genie to free them from the mountain, she willingly complies, but when he then wishes for the princess' hand in marriage, she becomes jealous. Deciding to return to the palace and propose, Aladdin orders the genie to transform him into a prince, and he and Abdullah are then magically clothed in sumptuous robes and provided with a royal retinue. At the palace, the princess, pining for Aladdin, is disinterested in the much-heralded prince. Hadji, now posing as the sultan, eagerly betroths Armina to the wealthy prince, but when Armina rejects Aladdin's overtures as the prince, he reveals his true identity, and she accepts his proposal. Vowing to prevent the marriage, the genie tricks Novira into exchanging the lamp with an elderly merchant, who is really Kofir in disguise. As Armina and Aladdin are about to exchange their vows, Kofir takes possession of the lamp, tranforming Aladdin back into a vagabond. After Hadji decrees that Aladdin is to be hanged, Hassan approaches Armina and offers to free Aladdin in exchange for her promise of marriage and public renunciation of Aladdin. As agreed upon, Armina rejects Aladdin and Hassan frees him. At the bazaar, Novira finds the embittered Aladdin and tells him about Armina's bargain with Hassan. When Novira recounts giving the lamp to an old peasant, Aladdin and Abdullah realize that they have been tricked by Kofir and hurry back to the cave. There, on the crystal monitor, they trace Kofir to a tavern, but by the time they arrive, they discover that Kofir has died from excitement. Upon learning that the tavern keeper gave the lamp to his son, who traded it to a camel driver, Aladdin and Abdullah hasten to find the driver, who tells them that he bartered the lamp to Ali the tailor. As Aladdin and Abdullah hurry to the market place to find the tailor, Ali rubs the lamp and the genie appears. When Ali wishes for the sultan's robes, the clothes disappear from Hadji, interrupting the wedding ceremony of Hassan and Armina. Noticing that the partially dressed sultan bears no scar on his arm, Armina realizes that Hadji is posing as her father and tells Hassan. When Hassan informs Hadji that the princess knows he is an impostor, Hadji stabs him and then goes to kill the princess. Meanwhile, at the tailor shop, Abdullah distracts Ali and steals the lamp. When Hadji enters Armina's quarters, he is met by a sword-wielding Aladdin. After vanquishing Hadji in a duel, Aladdin forces him to reveal where the sultan is imprisoned. Hadji then lunges at Aladdin and falls over the staircase to his death. For his heroism, Aladdin is appointed Grand Wazir and embraces Armina. To console the genie, Aladdin gives her the lamp and sets her free, after which she rubs the lamp and wishes for Aladdin's twin. To reward Abdullah for his loyalty, the now-contented genie turns him into a crooner with a voice just like that of Frank Sinatra. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.