Thursday, November 29, 2018

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Wonderfully Bizarre History of The Magic Voyage of Sinbad

So there's this Russian film called Sadko (1953) that won a bunch of awards in Russia. Roger Corman's film company in the States went and bought the rights (or something, the history isn't exactly clear) to the film and the company remade it. According to Wikipedia Francis Ford Coppola helped write the new script. 

They changed it from a Russian adventure film with nothing to do with the Nights into a 1001 Nights Sinbad film, changing the dialogue and dubbing it into English. It's not clear how much of the plot they changed but the company did cut some of the original. The resulting film is The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, which didn't do well at all in terms of reception. It's sort of tolerated in B-movie/camp fans and was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

"The film was re-released in the United States in 1962 in an English-dubbed and modified form by Roger Corman's Filmgroup under the title The Magic Voyage of Sinbad. It retains the plot structure of Sadko but includes several changes: the total running time is reduced from approximately 85 to 79 minutes (most of the deleted footage consists of scenes in which songs are performed, though one song is retained and sung in English), voice-over narration is added, the protagonist "Sadko" is renamed "Sinbad," and other characters and places are renamed to disguise the film's Russian origin and transform the film into a story about Sindbad the Sailor (perhaps most significantly, the city of Novgorod is renamed "Copasand"). The English dubbing in this version arguably gives the film a slightly "campier" tone than the original version, in which the dialogue has a more polished and "literate" tone. Cast and credits were also altered to made-up "American-sounding" names. The "Script Adaptor" for this version of the film, uncredited, was a young Francis Ford Coppola.

This version of the film was featured in Season 5, Episode #505 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993, despite the fact that Kevin Murphy, voice of Tom Servo, has professed a love for the "breathtaking" visual style of this and other films by Aleksandr Ptushko in multiple interviews.[1][2] Paul Chaplin, another writer of the show, has also expressed admiration elsewhere, but not regrets for the mockery."

If you like, you can watch it here: 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Long-Lost Watercolors Of '1001 Nights' Bring New Life To Age-Old Tales


Long-Lost Watercolors Of '1001 Nights' Bring New Life To Age-Old Tales

More on the story, the new book and reproductions of the artwork -

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Translation of Aladdin

W.W. Norton and Company are set to release a new, stand-alone English translation of Aladdin in November of 2018. It will be translated by Yasmine Seale and edited by Paulo Lemos Horta.

From their website –

A dynamic French-Syrian translator, lauded for her lively poetic voice, tackles the enchanted world of Aladdin in this sparkling new translation.

Long defined by popular film adaptations that have reductively portrayed Aladdin as a simplistic rags-to-riches story for children, this work of dazzling imagination—and occasionally dark themes—finally comes to vibrant new life. “In the capital of one of China’s vast and wealthy kingdoms,” begins Shahrazad— the tale’s imperiled-yet-ingenious storyteller—there lived Aladdin, a rebellious fifteen-year-old who falls prey to a double-crossing sorcerer and is ultimately saved by the ruse of a princess.

One of the best-loved folktales of all time, Aladdin has been capturing the imagination of readers, illustrators, and filmmakers since an eighteenth-century French publication first added the tale to The Arabian Nights. Yet, modern English translators have elided the story’s enchanting whimsy and mesmerizing rhythms. Now, translator Yasmine Seale and literary scholar Paulo Lemos Horta offer an elegant, eminently readable rendition of Aladdin in what is destined to be a classic for decades to come.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Walter Benjamin - On Hashish

The Journal of the 1001 Nights took a little break but is now back in full force. Promise. MJL.

Here is from Walter Benjamin's On Hashish - a little reflection of what he thought of while smoking hash.

Full text is here -

"December 18, 1927

13. Oven turns into cat. The word “ginger” is uttered and suddenly in place of the desk there is a fruit stand, in which I immediately recognize the desk. The Thousand and One Nights came to mind."