Copyright 31 December 1961 by Lux Film/C.C.F. Lux. A French/Italian co-production, filmed on locations in Tunisia and studios in Rome, English version released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. New York opening simultaneously at the Forum and the Baronet: 22 December 1961. U.S. release: December 1961. U.K. release: 16 December 1962 (sic). Australian release: 23 August 1962. 8,292 feet. 92 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: In the ancient city of Baghdad, a poor boy named Aladdin day-dreams of great wealth and royal processions. One day his mother buys him a little lamp which the lad accidentally discovers contains a genie who can grant him three magic wishes. Aladdin uses his first wish to escape from some merchants he has robbed and then sets out by caravan to attend the royal wedding of Princess Zaina and Prince Moluk. Accompanying him is his devoted but unrequited girl friend, Djalma, and his loyal bodyguard, Omar. When Aladdin and Omar are captured by man-killing Amazon huntresses, the genie is once more summoned and he transports the pair to an Arab camp near the royal city of Basora. Meanwhile, the wicked Grand Vizier has taken Prince Moluk prisoner and is planning to marry the Princess himself. But Aladdin and his friends...
NOTES: Both the French — Les Mille et Une Nuits — and Italian — Le meraviglie di Aladino — versions run 100 minutes.
VIEWERS' GUIDE: The 93 minute version contains material highly unsuitable for children.
COMMENT: "Wonders of Aladdin" is going to disappoint many potential customers because it's virtually a straight Arabian Nights adventure in the style of those Universal Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie, Rock Hudson, Jeff Chandler pictures and very little use is made of the genie of the lamp and the consequent special effects. In fact, it's a pity that the genie has such a small role to play in the proceedings because his first appearance and the special effects arising therefrom are rather well done and we look forward to more of the same, and even better outcomes. Alas, we have to wait rather a long time for more and when they come they are inferior both in quantity and in quality (a wire is even visible in one scene).
Although he receives such large billing, De Sica has a very small and unrewarding part (the final indignity — his voice is even dubbed in the English version). In fact, O'Connor is the only member of the cast to use his own voice (incidentally, if you are not a fan of his, you would be well advised to avoid this one, he is on screen almost continuously and even doubles up in an uncredited bit part in which he plays the acrobat/artist who draws a picture of Princess Zaina for the Grand Vizier).
The rest of the cast is interesting — Adam, Fabrizi, Mercier — but cannot compare to the talent assembled behind the camera. The only dud is director Henry Levin. No writers are credited on the screen (or Filmfacts) but whoever they were, they certainly came up with a lightweight pastiche that many would say wasted a lot of talent.
On the other hand, the film is always very colorful to look at, and O'Connor is as acrobatic as Fairbanks, Senior. There are some really bright moments in the script, especially the scenes with the robot dolls and the aged wizard.
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A poor young man finds a magic lamp that possesses a genie, who will grant the boy three wishes if he sets him free from the lamp.
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1 hr 33 min