I’m sort of surprised I hadn’t seen, or even heard of, Arabian Adventure until it popped up on Talking Pictures last week. It’s absolutely the sort of film I should have known about. I love a bit of mythic fantasy, and I love the British take on it. But I approached it with a bit of trepidation.
Mostly for three reasons:
Arabian Adventure has to be the least imaginitive film title ever - it’s like what they wrote on the boxes and cans during production and just never got around to giving it a proper name!
It arrived in the wake of Star Wars which set a high-bar for excitement and effects.
It was on Talking Pictures TV - which is no guarantee of quality (and often is the exact opposite!) - now I adore Talking Pictures TV because it’s showing so much obscure British cinema but it must be said that a lot of it is obscure for a good reason! According to my records I’ve watched 246 films on the channel - and the average rating is just over 5!
But Arabian Adventure bumped up the average… but only just! Here’s why.
The cast was (mostly) fine - although our male lead Oliver Tobias wasn’t really - he seemed to have none of the humour and sparkle that the film really needed. Christopher Lee can always be counted on and our young hero Puneet Sira managed cute and sassy pretty well.
The effects were sometimes great - I enjoyed the steampunk volcano monsters (and Mickey Rooney’s cameo controlling them) - and sometimes awful - but that’s how things rolled in the immediately post-Star Wars years.
The story was a basic rip of The Thief of Baghdad which is a good thing to be ripping off.
It wasn’t a great film but was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining romp if you weren’t expecting anything better than that.
Rating : 6/10