The Thief of Baghdad (1924)

The most striking thing I found about this film is how astonishingly handsome is Douglas Fairbanks Junior! I think this may have been the only film of his that I have seen from the silent era. Otherwise, he is known to me only through interviews on Parkinson. But never mind that...

With a simple storyline and some hilarious trick effects, now looking very dated, sets on a grand scale, Anna May Wong as a gorgeous villain (you can keep your wicked Grand Vizier), and Fairbanks buckling his swash for all he is worth, what's not to like? This is very entertaining, but unnecessarily long for a mere fairy-tale at 150+ minutes. Audiences were so much more tolerant of long running times than we are now, baulking as we sometimes do at anything that prevents our checking our smartphone.

If the production design looks familiar, it's because William Cameron Menzies is also renowned for Things To Come (1936) (though he was director, not designer. Also for Gone with the Wind, though unsurprisingly, there's not much in common visually between a Technicolor Atlanta and a Futurist Baghdad!)

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