HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  Wizard of Baghdad, The Eenie-meanie Genie
Year: 1960
Director: George Sherman
Stars: Dick Shawn, Diane Baker, Barry Coe, John Van Dreelen, Robert F. Simon, Vaughn Taylor, Michael David, Stanley Adams, William Edmonson, Don Beddoe
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Assigned to protect the city of Baghdad, wayward genie Ali Mahmoud (Dick Shawn) wastes so much time drinking and romancing ladies at a local bar the evil Jullnar (John Van Dreelen) is able to seize the throne. As punishment Ali Mahmoud’s superior Asmodeus (William Edmonson) turns him into a mere mortal, bereft of his magic powers. Years later rightful heir to the throne Prince Husan (Barry Coe) roams the desert as a righteous brigand while his betrothed, Princess Yasmin (Diane Baker) lies captive at Jullnar’s palace. It falls to Ali Mahmoud to get his act together, reunite the estranged lovers and ensure good triumphs over evil.

For some reason genies were all the rage throughout the Sixties. You had amiable Burl Ives in The Brass Bottle (1964). Plus genies of a sexier variety (no shade on Burl) with Luciana Paluzzi in the Spanish-Italian-American co-production 1001 Nights (1968) and of course Barbara Eden in TV’s I Dream of Jeannie - which somehow missed out on the Nineties-to-early-00s craze to remake old TV shows as movies. Predating them all was The Wizard of Baghdad, a cheap and cheerful Sam Katzman production distinguished, if that is the right word, by its chintzy sets, kitschy costumes and corny dialogue. Much of which aims for a cod-Omar Khayyam level of poetic profundity and even shoehorns a gag cameo from the fable poet.

Just as the Walt Disney studio would later tailor Aladdin (1992) around the comic talents of Robin Williams here Katzman’s cut-price Arabian Nights romp does much the same with comedian Dick Shawn. Shawn, a talented and versatile performer, was a hard actor to pigeonhole. Only rarely did he land roles worthy of his quirky skill-set, as was the case with Mel BrooksThe Producers (1968) or earlier with Stanley Kramer’s scattershot all-star satire It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). He later drew some acclaim as a wisecracking transvestite in infamous exploitation thriller Angel (1984), but for most of his career remained a notable presence in ensemble comedies. Here Shawn gives it his all, belting out frankly forgettable songs and investing a silly slapstick character with a certain sincerity that is rather endearing.

Unfortunately the film makes the curious decision to confine Shawn’s genie to a subplot separate from the charmless antics of its romantic leads. It is essentially a film of two halves that dawdle interminably before they belatedly coalesce. Diane Baker, a very capable actress who years later shared a memorable confrontation with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), is established initially as a pleasingly gutsy, outspoken and moral heroine. Yet once brought into contact with Barry Coe (destined to endure one of the more ludicrous demises in Jaws 2) as the stiff, charmless Prince Husan, she inexplicably regresses into a petulant brat. Far too much screen-time is spent on Yasmin going out of her way to tease and annoy Husan until they eventually, somehow, fall in love.

While the romantic side of the plot is a non-starter, comic half does not fair much better. Director George Sherman, far more comfortable with westerns (e.g. Comanche Territory (1950), Tomahawk (1951), Hell Bent for Leather (1960), Big Jake (1971)), barely manages to stitch together a slew of near-disconnected scenes with TV-style whip-pan transitions straight out of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It ambles along good-naturedly but aimlessly, a little too enamoured of its own sub-vaudevillian hijinks.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 348 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
Date:
17 Jul 2020
  Apparently to appreciate Dick Shawn you really had to see his stage act live, he was one of those "the screen can't contain him" performers. When he died performing, the audience thought it was one of his wacky jokes (!).
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: