Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 19, 2013
Price: DVD $19.98, Blu-ray $24.98
Studio: Cohen Media/Entertainment One

The Thief of Bagdad

Fantasy takes flight in 1924's The Thief of Bagdad.

Raoul Walsh’s 1924 film The Thief of Bagdad, a dazzling Arabian Nights adventure fantasy starring Douglas Fairbanks and set in the city of Bagdad, remains one of the most imaginative of all silent movies.

The classic film’s fantastical family-friendly story finds Fairbanks portraying the titular recalcitrant thief Ahmed who vies with a duplicitous Mongol ruler (Sôjin) for the hand of a beautiful princess (Julanne Johnston).

Filled with Fairbanks’ acrobatic and energetic stuntwork, elaborate and lush settings, and backgrounds and massive sets by William Cameron Menzies (who would later design Gone with the Wind), The Thief of Bagdad was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Further, the American Film Institute’s 2008 poll of the creative community ranked the movie among the Top Ten Fantasy Films of all time.

The inaugural release of the Cohen Media Groups’ “Cohen Film Collection,” the film was newly restored from two 35mm negatives and incorporates the color tints and tones of the original release prints. It also features music by Carl Davis conducting London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, performing a score that intermingles Davis’ own compositions with the famed “Orientalia” of Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Thief of Bagdad has been available in early incarnations, most notably on DVD from Kino. The Kino edition was issued in 2004 and is currently still available. The well-known 1940 remake of the film starring Sabu (Jungle Book) and Conrad Veidt (The Last Performance) is also available on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD include the following:

-Audio commentary by Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance
-Featurette including behind-the-scenes photographs
Check out this awesome trailer Cohen Media put together for to promote the restored film’s 2012 theatrical engagements:

Buy or Rent The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Amazon graphic
DVD | Blu-ray
DVD Empire graphicDVD | Blu-ray Movies Unlimited graphicDVD | Blu-ray Netflix graphic

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.