The UK production of The Thief of Bagdad (1940) is a bit like the US production of The Wizard of Oz from one year earlier. On the surface, it looks like a seamless blend of fantasy storytelling, special effects and stunning color, but underneath it was a patchwork collaboration of many hands, coming together in a combination of spit, duct tape and luck. These days, The Thief of Bagdad is usually catalogued alongside the movies of director Michael Powell (I Know Where I'm Going, The Red Shoes, etc.), but he was only one of three credited directors and at least two more uncredited directors. The saving grace is that The Thief of Bagdad had a driving force behind it: producer Alexander Korda. Korda was a Hungarian immigrant who, along with his brothers Zoltan and Vincent, took the British film industry by storm with his combination of business savvy and boyish glitz. No matter who filmed what footage, Korda would be the one to call final cut. And despite some sluggish spots, the result is still dazzling, enough to enchant entirely new generations of dreamy children.

categories Features, DVDs, Cinematical