DVD Spotlight: Thief of Bagdad

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Criterion's Thief of Bagdad.

Cross-posted from GreenCine Daily. 

The Thief of Bagdad "[F]or all of its implication in its historical moment, The Thief of Bagdad plays - in the newly remastered DVD from the Criterion Collection - like a timeless fantasy, a pure and naïve expression of, as Sabu puts it in his famous curtain line, the search for 'some fun and adventure, at last!'" writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times.

"Re-watching The Thief of Bagdad... is not unlike rereading Treasure Island," suggests Gary Giddins in the New York Sun. "Conceived to enchant children, they both requite the adult longing for formative influences that withstand disillusionment and fashion. Unlike Treasure Island, an exemplary display of English prose and plotting, with one of the finest first sentences in fiction, The Thief of Bagdad (1940) occasionally sputters, losing tempo and continuity; yet it, too, survives as a model of its kind, reveling in cinematic craftsmanship - not least the then-novel techniques of color and trick photography - and boasts one of the most magisterial opening shots in cinema."

At MSN, Sean Axmaker notes that the disc features two commentary tracks, "one by film directors/fans Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, the other by film historian Bruce Eder."

"I gained an immense amount of appreciation for the film through this Criterion package and the purity of the transfer presentation added to the fantasy element and amusement of the film," writes DVD Beaver Gary W Tooze. "Really, like Martin Scorsese says, 'a child-like - not childish - film' of adventures and grandiose events. I predict this package will get some much deserved votes in our year-end poll."

"This new, restored transfer still has a few problems, but is head and shoulders above anything we've seen and will hopefully introduce the film to a whole new generation aching for some real magic, as opposed to the pre-fab, CGI variety that so dots our current filmic landscape," writes Jeffrey Kaufman at DVD Talk.

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