Out this week on DVD is the fabulous fantasy film The Thief of Bagdad. It's a two-disc special edition with a luminous print (with eye-popping color and dazzling visual effects). Lavishly produced by Alexander Korda and co-created with the talents of brilliant Michael Powell (The Red Shoes) and innovative production designer William Cameron Menzies, this to me is better than The Wizard of Oz in terms of magical qualities. The film follows the little beggar (Sabu) as he tries to rightfully place the prince (a strikingly handsome John Justin) back on the thrown usurped by the evil grand visier (a chilling Conrad Veidt). With flying carpets, killer dolls, giant genies, it's a thrilling adventure that only improves with repeated viewings. This disc has commentary by Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese and a great feature with master special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen talking about the film's influence on his work, particularly The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
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