THE THIEF OF BAGDAD premiered march 1924. it was the first major film for director RAOUL WALSH. DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, superstar at that time, is the film’s main actor in the role as the thief, he co-wrote the script as well. in 2008 the AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE voted for the 155 min running time THIEF as one of the best FANTASY-films of all time. what stands out in this movie is the most superb fairytale world created by art director WILLIAM CAMERON MENZIES. menzie’s personal vision of this world can be followed from his first sketches right onto the screen. fairbanks gave menzies the job after he had seen a set of extraordinary detailed set drawings. menzies created the 1940 version of the THIEF as well, but is probably better known for his art direction for GONE WITH THE WIND. the built sets for ‘the thief of bagdad’ were huge and were extended even more by miniature sets using the SCHUFTAN-process, where the full scale set and the miniature is combined by using mirrors. the costume designs were created by MITCHELL LEISEN, who had to dress up to 3.000 extras a day. the following captured scenes give you an idea in case you haven’t seen this film yet.
© douglas fairbanks/united artists