16 August 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
The Thief of Baghdad
Am a huge fan of classic film and 'Son of Ali Baba' interested me. Mainly to see a very young Piper Laurie and Tony Curtis in another early role after the superior (though that wasn't perfect either) 'The Prince Who Was a Thief', and how they would fare individually and as a partnership. Also because the story on paper seemed intriguing if silly.
Saw 'Son of Ali Baba' with the mind-set of not expecting a masterpiece and some escapist entertainment without expecting too much or everything to be of superb quality. 'Son of Ali Baba' is variable in achieving this goal. It may not blow the mind and it may not be one of Curtis's best films or contain one of his best performances. Enough is done right however and it entertains throughout its slightly too brief length.
The story sure is pure nonsense and the silliness occasionally goes overboard, complete with some over-familiarity. The costumes are somewhat unlikely and don't look as appealing, in colour and style, as the rest of the production values.
Curtis is athletic and can be likeable enough if a bit stiff, while the script can fall into overly-camp and awkwardness, the pace sometimes has lapses in momentum and the film generally lacks magic.
Lovely Piper Laurie is hammy at times but has charm factor and is equally spirited. Some of their chemistry is warm and playful. Victor Jory sinks his teeth to the hilt as the villain. The direction has an efficiency that suits the adventurous element of the story perfectly.
It is very difficult to dislike the story completely. For all its ridiculousness and predictability, it can go at a breezy pace, with a clear idea at what it was trying to be and appeal to without trying to do more. The characters are archetypes but reasonably likeable ones. The action-oriented parts, especially towards the end, excite and the music is rousing. 'Son of Ali Baba', costumes aside, is shot with vibrant colour and the setting exotic-looking if perhaps not evocative.
In conclusion, not bad but not much special even when taking it for what it is. Likeable enough cast and fun and colourful in spots, but can be too much on the camp side and lacks magic. 5/10 Bethany Cox