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The Thief of Bagdad (1940), Conrad Veidt, June Duprez

As we are celebrating today the birth anniversary of Conrad Veidt, I thought it appropriate to recommend perhaps his most famous film, “The Thief of Bagdad” (1940). This review was published on my Conrad Veidt website, http://conradveidtforever.wordpress.com/.

“The Thief of Bagdad” is one of the best-known motion pictures of all time. This fairy tale on the big screen is a precious creation of the seventh art, very much acclaimed over the time by filmgoers around the world. It is also one of the few films of its period that were entirely made in colour, and it received 3 Academy Awards, for special effects, color cinematography, and art direction. But no nomination for Conrad, despite the fact that he played so wonderfully well the evil Grand Vizier Jaffar. This production of Alexander Korda was released in December 1940, after an entire year of filming and changes of script and directors. But it was worth the effort, because “The Thief of Bagdad” became an instant success, and it was very much appreciated by the public (both children and adults), and by the critics. Even if the colourful sets and costumes, and the musical score of Miklos Rozsa impressed the audience, everybody agreed – and still agrees – that the film’s value stands again in Connie’s brilliant performance. This was the only colour film he made, and even if his Jaffar is rather a symbolic presence than a large role, he still has the power to convince the public that he is the star (after all, he was the one who received top billing). Filmgoers were and will continue to be spellbound under the everlasting magic of Conrad Veidt with his azure eyes and supernatural skills, that could hypnotise, dominate and turn everyone into something else by his own free will, until fate has him disappear into the thin air forever.

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