Arabian Adventure – 1979 – Christopher Lee
If you have followed me for a while you know that I love Fantasy and adventure movies. Arabian Adventure is such a movie and it’s easy to compare it to a Sinbad Movie or the thief of Bagdad or äny of those classics. The premise is about the same. We have this hero, who is almost too down to earth despite being a prince. Someone who almost has an absurd sense of right and wrong and always stands up for the little man. If you add the fact that he wants the princess’ hand in marriage and will go on any quest to win her, you have more or less the whole story.
Of course, the story is important in these movies as well in any kind of movie really. There are some art-house exceptions of course but I also feel that the format and surroundings are as important as the story. You know that it’s more or less about good versus evil anyway. So, let’s look at the environment, the sets, and the acting for a moment. All in all, there’s not much to complain about regarding the acting. It’s nothing special either.
Christopher Lee, playing the evil ruler, does stand out. Not because of his understanding of the part he is playing but he has a presence that makes him kind of unique. It really doesn’t matter if he plays Kato in Mio in the Land of Faraway or The man with the Golden Gun in a bond movie. He really doesn’t need to act. Just standing in front of the camera delivering his lines does the trick.
There are small parts played by Mickey Rooney and Peter Cushing. That certainly cannot hurt. But the main part of Prince Hasan is played by Oliver Tobias and the beautiful princess is played by Emma Samms. Se is so beautiful in this part. Really stunning! I wouldn’t say that any of these actors make Arabian Adventures really believable but they sure fit in the universe of the film. They deliver the characters that are expected by them for sure.
The adventure itself is nothing less than an adventure that could have been taken from a Thousand and One Night. Maybe it is, I actually never read that book anyway. You get the picture right? There are classic elements like a genie in a bottle a talking all-seeing mirror but also some other stuff that might fit in a more modern steam-punk film. Way ahead of its time you could say. It all combined make an excellent adventure! Oh, and there’s a flying carpet of course.
I think you can figure out if it’s good or evil that wins the fight in this end. But that’s beside the point. The object here is to be entertained for an hour and a half. An Arabian Adventure Certainly delivers that! It feels a little dated, and maybe not dated to its actual production year. It seems to have been made a few years prior to that. There are photo montages and trick filming that bring my mind to a Ray Harryhausen production. It may not be as brilliantly made but it does the job and it’s really charming to see the genuine effects that sometimes miss the delivery. I actually much rather see that than computer-generated effects that never miss the spot once! This is craftsmanship and not a computer-animated movie.