Arabian Nights (1942) Jon Hall, Maria Montez, Sabu, Leif Erickson, Billy Gilbert - movie review on The Movie Scene

Arabian Nights (1942)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Jon Hall and Maria Montez in Arabian Nights (1942)

Dashing Thieves of Baghdad

Kamar (Leif Erickson), the brother of Kalif Haroun (Jon Hall), stages a coup d'etat taking the throne which was his brothers. When the injured Haroun collapses in a tent belonging to a circus troop including dancer Sherazade (Maria Montez) and acrobat Ali (Sabu) they set about trying to help him regain his throne. But Kamar is a dangerous man who sells them off into slavery forcing them to escape and head off into the desert where they have to be wary of who they trust.

I grew up in an age where the adventures of Sinbad were not really part of a child's life and as such I have to be honest and say I have never been a huge fan of these Arabian adventure movies be it those from back in the 1930s and 40s or those which came later in the 70s. I think that is part of the reason that when it comes to their storylines they have never really captured my attention fully. And that is the case when it comes to "Arabian Nights" as whilst it has adventure, action, humour, deception, treachery and plenty more the actual story just doesn't grip in a way that makes me want to follow what is going on.

Sabu and Jon Hall in Arabian Nights (1942)

Yet "Arabian Nights" is still an entertaining movie because it is a lavish production, one of those big productions where you can appreciate the work which went in to it. As such the minute you enter one of the buildings you are more enchanted by the set and the wonderfully painted back drop which is a major part of delivering the visual magnificence. It is the same with the costumes as every single one looks like it was made for the actor in question rather than just being pulled out of a vast costume storeroom.

But what "Arabian Nights" also has is that shine, that glow which actors had during the 1930s and 40s. As such when John Hall delivers a look as Kamar you get a sense that he was a star, worshipped by millions and that is what he brings to the character. It is the same with all the actors in "Arabian Nights" and so everyone brings that touch of star power to their characters and for me that makes this movie have something, that touch of glamour which modern cinema lacks.

What this all boils down to is that "Arabian Nights" is one of those old movies which whilst doesn't really entertain me with a great storyline it does have that glamour and luscious production which makes it still an entertaining movie, just in a different way.


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