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Chester M. Franklin,
Virginia Lee Corbin,
The common people have always liked old stories about fantastic places where the most bizarre events can happen, the weirder, the better. Such unfortunates especially enjoy those tales that involve incredible hidden treasures or the chance to be a millionaire instantly and without effort; such fantasies provide a little hope to their miserable lives.
Well, logically, aristocrats are not very fond of those stories overall because they have always enjoyed riches and privileges so they are not much impressed by classic literature such as "Aladdin And The Wonderful Lamp", an oeuvre that was adapted for the screen by the duo of Herr Chester und Sidney Franklin in the silent year of 1917.
The film captures and enhances the spirit of the literary text, showing wonderful and luxurious décors and customs besides careful and fascinating special effects, striking for an early silent film production. It illustrates the fascination that the East always had for Westerners and that means a lot of clichés, natürlich!.
The film has a curious aspect; having in mind that this is a classic story that can be enjoyed by elders and youngsters, the principal characters of the film were played by children, those dangerous people that fortunately soften their cruel attitudes once they grow up. This gives the film a special charm and originality.
Those small performers are supported by adult actors but the little over actors play their roles quite well, focusing their efforts on exaggerating attitudes, feelings and behaviours that suit the exotic, fantastic and typical Eastern atmosphere of the film. Of course the original literary text is abridged ( if the directors hadn't done that and, having in mind that the story of Aladdin is included in the literary masterpiece "Thousand And One Arabian Nights", well, the film would have had an excessive running time ) but the essence and the magic of the original story are there in this "mini" version of the tale.
In spite of the fact that aristocrats see the film with indifference due to already having luxury and excess in their Schloss ( in the aristocratic case, the genie of the lamp would be the one that would have to ask for wishes ) or because the slaves ( servants nowadays ) do whatever their masters ask without complaint, the film can still be enjoyed very much by people of any age, a beautiful film full of magical atmosphere and adventure in what is a naïve, skillful, concise and excellent adaptation of a classic text of the world literature.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must ask the genie of the lamp to do the Schloss housework.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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