A fully restored print of the 1924 silent-film version of The Thief of Bagdad, starring Douglas Fairbanks, will be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Fairbanks celebration in a special “Monday Nights with Oscar” presentation on Monday, December 15, at 7 p.m. at the Academy Theater in New York City. The screening will feature live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin.
The Thief of Bagdad will be presented in conjunction with the publication of the Academy’s latest book, Douglas Fairbanks by Jeffrey Vance, with Tony Maietta and photographic editor Robert Cushman. Vance and Maietta will take part in a book signing following the screening.
Directed by Raoul Walsh — best remembered for his hard-hitting Warner Bros. actioners of the 1930s and 1940s, such as The Roaring Twenties (1939), High Sierra (1941), and White Heat (1949) — The Thief of Bagdad, by far the best of Fairbanks’ 1920s action-adventure vehicles, tells the story of a common but overly exuberant thief (Fairbanks) who falls in love with the beautiful daughter (Julanne Johnston, who didn’t have much of a film career) of the local caliph (Brandon Hurst). To win her hand, the thief must embark on a journey to recover the rarest of treasures while competing with the princess’ three other suitors.
The film’s elaborate sets and special effects — not including Douglas Fairbanks‘ acrobatics and his 3,654 shining teeth — were created by William Cameron Menzies, the production designer of Gone with the Wind. Cinematography by the masterful Arthur Edeson (The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca) and costumes by future Paramount director Mitchell Leisen (Easy Living, Midnight).
Silent-film historian Kevin Brownlow oversaw the restoration of The Thief of Bagdad, which reproduces the tinting hues of the film’s original release. The screening is made possible by arrangement with Photoplay Productions and Douris UK.
Tickets for The Thief of Bagdad are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased through the Academy’s online ticketing system at www.oscars.org. There are no transaction or processing fees. Tickets may also be purchased by mail or at the door on the night of the event (subject to availability). The box office opens at 5 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m.
The Academy Theater is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City. All seating is unreserved.