Saturday, July 24, 2010
Mr Magoo in "1001 Arabian Nights"
Filmthreat.com has a new great review of the Mr. Magoo animated film 1001 Arabian Nights. It's a relatively difficult film to track down though I did manage to buy a VHS copy on ebay for not too much money. I'll just have to venture into the depths of the garage one day to look for the VCR and make a digital copy.
The film is Mr. Magoo-ish take on Aladdin. For those who don't know Mr. Magoo was a popular cartoon in the 1950s-70s. His whole character and his adventures are based on his lack of eyesight, he often confuses the world as other things and finds himself in irreverent adventures because of it.
Here's a link to the entire article, I've excerpted the plot review (and posted a youtube trailer for the film) below: http://www.filmthreat.com/features/23731/comment-page-1/
from the review: “1001 Arabian Nights” is a fun, entertaining riff that deftly integrates the Mr. Magoo character into the wild fantasies of magic lamps and flying carpets. Set in the mystical Arabian kingdom of Egomania (!), the film presents “Abdul Aziz Magoo” as the myopic lamp retailer who mistakes barnyard animals for truant schoolchildren and the contents of a broom closet as front door visitors. Magoo is the uncle of the handsome young Aladdin, who doesn’t appear to do anything but lie around all day.
Within the kingdom, there is tumult at the palace – the sultan realizes he is near bankrupt, and he reluctantly agrees to replenish his treasury by giving the hand of his daughter, the beautiful Princess Yasminda, to the Wicked Wazir. UPA struck gold with the character of the Wicked Wazir: a pointy-nose, razor-toothed baddie who dwells in a deep cellar with a collection of icky creatures (spiders, rats, bats, snakes, and an alligator) that he treats like his children. There is one scene that offers a devastating parody of “Cinderella,” with the Wazir’s monstrous animals lovingly preparing his clothing and accessories for the wedding day.
The Wazir is voiced by Hans Conried, who is part of a stellar cast of voice actors that include Alan Reed as the sultan, Daws Butler as the harried weaver who creates a flying carpet, Herschel Bernardi as the sly genie of the lamp, and Kathryn Grant and Dwayne Hickman as Yasminda and Aladdin. And, of course, Jim Backus’ boisterous Magoo leads the pack with his unique brand of chaos.
For its time, “1001 Arabian Nights” offered a jolting alternative to the standard Disney fare. The film is fast, jazzy (both in its visual style and musical score), unapologetically slapstick, and rude without being unpleasant (Magoo’s crotchety personality is ratcheted down a few points, making him more eccentric than cantankerous). Even the Yasminda-Aladdin love story manages to avoid being syrupy – Aladdin’s initial bout of passionate love finds him walking absentmindedly over the turbaned heads of pedestrians, while the couple’s initial romantic tryst is depicted in an unexpected burst of proto-psychedelic abstract colors."