Ali Baba And The Seven Saracens (1964)

AKA: Hawk of Bagdad, Sinbad Against the 7 Saracens
Director: Emimmo Salvi
Starring: Gordon Mitchell, Bella Cortez, Dan Harrison (Bruno Piergentili), Carla Calo, Tony Di Mitri

There seems to be a few versions of this EuroSword flick floating around and depending on which version you find, the hero is either Ali Baba (sans forty thieves), or Sinbad (sans sailing). The most common version available appears to be Ali Baba And The Seven Saracens. The film itself is a middling affair. Some of the sets are rather fake and the dubbing into English is quite wooden. All the actors shout at each other, vowing acts of vengeance and the like. The best thing about this movie is voluptuous actress Bella Cortez, who plays Fatima. She fills her costume in a way that very few of our modern actresses could do.

The film opens in an unnamed Kingdom in the Middle East. It appears that the Kingdom is without a king, and Omar (Gordon Mitchell) is filling in as care-taker. He is answerable to the unseen Magi (wise men, I guess), and the leaders of the Seven Saracens (or districts, if you will) that make up the Kingdom. But acting as care-taker is not enough for Omar. He is an evil tyrant-type who wants nothing but total control over the Kingdom, and to sit on the Golden Throne without interference.

The Magi decree, that to find the new King, a tournament will be held. Each of the Saracens will send their leader to fight in a battle to the death. Whoever is alive at the end will be the new King. Omar, with a massive strength advantage, is the odds on favourite to claim the crown.

One of the Saracens, the ‘Mahariti’ have been without a leader for some time. Ali Baba (who may be a Prince, but it is never really explained?) has been in exile. He returns to lead the Mahariti. Omar isn’t happy about this and sends some guards to capture Alia Baba. They fail, and Ali Baba escapes, only to be found by Fatima (Bella Cortez). In, what has possibly got to be the shortest romance of all time, Ali Baba and Fatima fall in love. No sooner than they have confessed their love for each other, than they are captured by Omar’s troops, and sent to the dungeon.

In the dungeon, Ali befriends a midget named Dookie (Tony Di Mitri). Dookie, who is small enough to crawl around the air vents and secret passages in the castle, has formulated a plan to free all the prisoners in the dungeon.

Ali Baba And The Seven Saracens is pretty silly in parts but it is fairly fast paced, which is a big plus. My main problem with the film is the character of Alia Baba. Nothing against Dan Harrison’s performance, he looks the part, but the character is simply not very convincing. He falls into nearly every trap set for him. SPOILER AHEAD: And even at the tournament at the end of the film, where he represents the Mahariti’s for the crown, his victory (yes, he wins, but you knew that, didn’t you?) is really hollow. He seems to win, more from good luck rather than outsmarting his physically stronger opponent. Personally I think he a bit of a loser, but he does get the girl in the end – so what more can I say?

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