The Thief of Baghdad

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


A London critic wrote of The Thief of Baghdad at the film's revival in 1988 that it is one of the finest achievements of fantasy cinema, a film which soars into the realm of the imagination on wings of magic . .." The marvelous blend of the Powell trademarks of visual magic and epic narrative style makes this one of the few films to really capture the atmosphere of the fairy tale from the Arabian Nights. Although the film's leads are actually John Justin and June Duprez as the boys, with Rex Ingram as the grim genie and Sabu as the impish thief, The Thief of Baghdad is dominated by Conrad Veidt, whose black-clad necromancer is truly demonic. Whether summoning up storms, inflicting blindness, courting his captive princess or pouring words of honeyed poison into trusting ears, his is a mesmerizing performance. This film is a cinematic treat for anyone who has "never ceased to believe in the beauty of the fairy tale."

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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