24 January 2010 | Bunuel1976
SON OF ALI BABA (Kurt Neumann, 1952) **1/2
Yet another colorful Arabian Nights romp, a follow-up to the same studio (Universal) and stars' (Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie) THE PRINCE WHO WAS A THIEF (1951); though I also own the latter, I decided to check this one out on the strength of Columbia's Cornel Wilde vehicle THE BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1946) which dealt with the offspring of another legendary figure, Robin Hood. Anyway, the film turned out to be nowhere near as good as the latter (not that I expected it to be: read my comments about that one elsewhere) and, from what I can recollect of THIEF, the earlier title – or, for that matter, the similar Universal/Laurie effort with Rock Hudson i.e. THE GOLDEN BLADE (1953) which I watched around this same time last year – was more readily enjoyable. Incidentally, Curtis' famous mispronounced line "Yonda lies the castle of my fodda" (Bronx accent intact) – attributed to THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH (1954), perhaps his best outing in this juvenile vein – actually derives from the film under review! The result is too often silly (with Laurie a royal disguised as a waif, while Curtis has every female pining for him) and rather tedious for this type of undemanding fare. The supporting cast, at least, is decent: Victor Jory as the evil Caliph, Hugh O'Brian as his equally despicable son, Morris Ankrum as the now elderly Ali Baba and Gerald Mohr as an official of Bagdad's military academy (in which Curtis and O'Brian are rival cadets!) and even a youthful Harry Guardino as a fellow trainee. Likewise, the elaborate sets, costumes and occasional action bout do a lot in belying the minuscule budget probably afforded this strictly assembly-line product (which runs a mere 72 minutes).