Our friend Jeanine Basinger calls it “a film for all ages and all decades."
And now The Thief of Baghad, Douglas Fairbanks’ 1924 silent stunner, is back . . .. and looking and sounding better than ever, now that has arrived on high-definition Blu-ray and DVD. It is the inaugural release of Cohen Media Group's Cohen Film Collection.
The Thief of Bagdad, one of biggest blockbusters of the silent era, is a dazzling Arabian Nights adventure fantasy and one of the most imaginative of all movies. The elaborate and lush backgrounds and the massive sets by William Cameron Menzies have an expressionistic quality unique for American films of the time. The amazingly acrobatic and energetic Fairbanks is at his impudent best as the dashing Ahmed, the thief who wins a princess.
Following Fairbanks' hits The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers and Robin Hood, The Thief of Baghad---directed by Raoul Walsh---marked a new pinnacle of heroic action cinema. As Jeanne as written: "No film of Fairbanks' presented a greater spectacle."
Generations of film lovers have marveled at Fairbanks' feats of derring-do. Alistair Cooke, in a 1940 summation Fairbanks' career, said the star's genius derived from his seemingly effortless command of his body and his environment, "a virtuoso use of the landscape as a natural gymnasium whose equipment is invisible to the ordinary man."
In 1996, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. In the American Film Institute's 2008 poll of the creative community, the classic ranked in the Top Ten Fantasy Films of all time.
The Cohen Film Collection's Blu-ray and DVD release does full justice to this landmark production. Newly restored from two 35mm negatives and incorporating the color tints and tones of the original release prints, this definitive edition of The Thief of Baghad features silent film score maestro Carl Davis conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, performing a magnificent score that intermingles Davis' own music with the famous Orientalia of Rimsky-Korsakov. The soundtrack is in 5.1 Dolby Digital for DVD and state-of-the-art DTS-HD Master Audio for Blu-ray.
Blu-ray and DVD extras include running audio commentary by Douglas Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance and a featurette about the making of the film and its impact, including rare behind-the-scenes photographs.
We can’t wait to see what other goodies Cohen Media Group's Cohen Film Collection brings us!
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