Thief of Baghdad (Criterion)
Producer Alexander Korda’s ultimate fantasy is, by modern standards, lacking in the visual effects department—but that’s only because moviegoers today are inundated with CGI. At Thief of Baghdad’s 1940 release, it was state of the art, and its influence on other filmmakers and special-effects wizards has been incalculable. There’s been some argument over Criterion’s colors on this new disc—some prefer the original MGM disc—but that’s really nitpicking: the brilliantly eye-popping Technicolor photography still astonishes nearly 70 years later.
EXTRAS: Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese commentary; historian Bruce Eder commentary; a documentary about the film’s special effects; producer Korda’s 1940 propaganda film The Lion Has Wings; excerpts from co-director Michael Powell’s audio dictations for his autobiography.