THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924)
1924, Warner Bros., 155 min, USA, Dir: Raoul Walsh

Raoul Walsh performs a high-wire act as director and comes out the winner in this magical melange of fantasy and fun. Working with his good friend, actor-producer Douglas Fairbanks, proved a match made in Hollywood heaven. Walsh's fine, realistic tone keeps Fairbanks in check as the actor tries again and again to go for physical hijinks and enough balletic action to take the audience's breath away. There are special effects galore, some of them straight from Walsh's imagination. Production design by the great William Cameron Menzies adds just the right zing to Fairbanks' and Walsh's vision in this tale about a clever thief named Ahmed who steals the heart of a princess and must win her love in the end. It's an Arabian Nights fantasy that Walsh infuses with gusto and bravado. The sets are sumptuous and the characters deliciously entertaining in this landmark silent film, one of the highlights of Walsh's earlier career. Also featuring the seductive Anna May Wong and a beautiful Julanne Johnston. Originally premiered at the Egyptian Theatre!


THE ABSENTMINDED PROFESSOR
1961, Walt Disney Co., 97 min, USA, Dir: Robert Stevenson

Nominated for three Oscars, this classic spawned a sequel, has been remade twice, re-released to theaters in three different decades, colorized, copied and imitated but never replicated. A true original, shown here in its glorious Oscar-nominated lush black-and-white photography. Fred MacMurray stars as the absent minded professor, a loveable small time chemistry teacher who stumbles on a bouncing substance that defies gravity. Madcap hijinks ensue, climaxing with the greatest basketball game of all time. Smart, charming and hysterical, the film still delights youngsters of all ages. Great supporting work by an uproarious Keenan Wynn (look for his dad Ed Wynn as the Fireman), the beautiful Nancy Olson and Disney mainstay, Tommy Kirk.


MARY POPPINS
1964, Walt Disney Co., 140 min, USA, Dir: Robert Stevenson

When nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) comes to work for the Banks family in their turn-of-the-20th-century London household, she uplifts everyone’s spirits and brings magic to their lives. Dick Van Dyke is Bert, the good-natured chimney sweep, while the great Jane Darwell, in her last screen appearance, plays the bird lady. Features the classic musical numbers "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Feed the Birds" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."


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