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ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979)
Article 3765 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-23-2011
Posting Date: 12-5-2011
Directed by Kevin Connor
Featuring Christopher Lee, Milo O'Shea, Oliver Tobias
Country: UK
What it is: Reheated Arabian nights

A prince, wishing to marry a beautiful princess, is sent out on a quest by an evil sorcerer to bring back a magic rose; the sorcerer believes it will give him ultimate power.  However, the only one who can reach the rose is a little beggar boy...

Given the reviews I've read of this one, I was expecting the worst; however, though it is pretty weak, it's not as bad as all that.  In its own threadbare way, it's trying to be the STAR WARS of Arabian nights movies, but it's badly crippled by a criminally underdeveloped script.  Most of the characters are not developed past their role in the story; the hero is a hero, the female love interest is female love interest, the evil villain is an evil villain, the toady is a toady (and a toad as well before all is through); in short, the script gives them no character past these functions.  It's really noticeable in the comic characters; both Milo O'Shea's toady and Mickey Rooney's inventor are supposed to be comic roles, but neither one is given anything funny to say or do; Rooney in particular is left with little to do with his role other than cackle maniacally.  The story itself is just another variation on THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, but I think the movie works best when it comes up with sequences that I haven't really seen in other Arabian Nights movies; the scene where the evil sorcerer summons up a wind storm to defeat some revolutionaries, and the scene involving the inventor's workshop inside the volcano are real visual highlights in the movie.  Other special effects sequences fall flat; in particular, the battle on the flying carpets near the end of the movie is muddled and unexciting.  There's a number of name actors in the movie, but they're mostly wasted in unmemorable roles.  If it weren't for the aforementioned visual highlights, this movie would be a total waste of time.

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