Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Arabian Nights (1942, John Rawlins)

"Kalif Haroun is in danger and the only people who can save him are a group of actors and a dancer who was told by the stars that she would be the wife of the kalif"

This is one of those classic swashbucklers where the plot really doesn't matter all that much. What matters is how many great sword fights and action scenes the film can pack within in it's short runtime. It's also great to look at all the classic "epic sets" and sweeping shots of the locations where the film is set. In this one we are treated to some sweeping shots of the desert.

The other main thing that makes all these classic adventure films worth watching is the glorious 3 strip technicolor. Bright and dark colors play as much a part in the film as everyrthing else. If you are a film buff you can't help but get a kick out of how the colors are used in these films. Arabian Nights was the first Universal film to use 3 strip technicolor and you can tell that they were trying to get the most "oooohs" and "ahhhs" out of the audience. The impact of the colors has aged perfectly and still serves it's purpose to amaze the viewer.

Now, having said all that, Arabian Nights is not one of the best of this era. It plays out like a B film and doesn't have the extra punch to make it that memorable. The film lasts about 85 minutes and it feels like 15 mins. Normally that is a good thing but not in this case. This film moves beyond fast. How fast? Well, the final line is not even finished being said and the credits are already up on the screen. The film moves so fast that you might be lost at times as to what exactly is going on.

Arabian Nights might not be the best example of these classic adventure films. but it's a nice quick film that serves it's pupose to entertain. Plus, any of these classic technicolor films are a must for film buffs.

- **1/2

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