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The Wonders of Aladdin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Wonders of Aladdin
The Wonders of Aladdin.jpg
Directed byHenry Levin
Mario Bava
Screenplay byLuther Davis
Story byStefano Strucchi
Duccio Tessari
Silvano Reina
Franco Prosperi
Pierre Véry
Based onAladdin and the Magic Lamp from One Thousand and One Nights
Les mille et une nuits
by Antoine Galland
Produced byJoseph E. Levine
Massimo Patrizi
StarringDonald O'Connor
Noëlle Adam
Vittorio De Sica
Michèle Mercier
CinematographyTonino Delli Colli
Edited byItalian version:
Maurizio Lucidi
English version:
Gene Ruggiero[1]
Music byAngelo Lavagnino
Color processEastmancolor
Embassy International Pictures
Lux Film
Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France[1]
Distributed byLux Flm (Italy and France)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (International)[1]
Release dates
  • October 31, 1961 (1961-10-31)
  • December 13, 1961 (1961-12-13)
(United States)
  • February 21, 1962 (1962-02-21)
Running time
99 minutes (Italy)
93 minutes (US)[1]
United States
Box office£157,000,000 (Italy)

The Wonders of Aladdin (Italian: Le meraviglie di Aladino) is a 1961 Italian-French-American comedy fantasy film directed by Henry Levin (with second unit direction by Mario Bava—uncredited in U.S. prints but credited as sole director in Italy) and produced by Joseph E. Levine for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film stars Donald O'Connor as the title character.



O'Connor signed to make the film in October 1960.[3] O'Connor said "The story of Aladdin has been done by everyone but this is its first time around as a comedy."[4] The Wonders of Aladdin was produced in tandem with two Steve Reeves vehicles, Morgan, the Pirate and The Thief of Baghdad, with producer Joseph E. Levine, set designer Flavio Mogherini, cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli and special effects artist Mario Bava working on all three films; Levine packaged and sold their worldwide distribution rights to MGM.[5]


The film was shot in location in Tunisia with studio work in Rome. Filming started December 1960. The Tunisian government were keen to attract filmmakers to the region and provided much assistance, including the loan of their army as soldiers.[6]

According to camera operator Marcello Gatti, Henry Levin directed "80%" of The Wonders of Aladdin, while Bava's on-set contributions consisted of second unit direction and supervising the film's special effects. Because Bava was also in charge of the film's post-production process in Italy, such as its dubbing, Italian and French prints use the credit "A film by Henry Levin, directed by Mario Bava". English language prints only credit Levin with direction.[1] Tim Lucas notes in his 2020 audio commentary for the Kino Lorber DVD and Blu-Ray that the use of a mosque as a shooting location caused a violent revolt that led to the killing of five people, followed by the killing of a security guard at the American embassy that had cleared the location for the shoot. Lucas notes that Bava himself had numerous spears pointed at his head during the attack, which he considered the most frightening moment in his life.

While filming in Tunisia in December, Donald O'Connor suffered a blood hemorrhage on this throat and had to be rushed to hospital.[7]

Vittorio De Sica played a small role. It only took a week but the actor said it was "very tiring because of the tricks."[8]

In January, three Americans on the film - O'Connor, Levin and writer Henry Motofsky - accidentally crossed the Tunisian border into Algeria 20 miles south of Tozeur while scouting locations in the Sahara Desert and were arrested. They were held for three hours then returned to the film unit.[9] Filming finished in March 1961.[10]

"From now on I'll do nothing but drawing room comedies," said O'Connor, "and the only location I'm going on is in my backyard".[4]


Critical reception

AllMovie, while not particularly favorable toward the film, called it "a fun movie".[11]

Box office

According to MGM records, the film made a loss of $276,000.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lucas, Tim (2007). Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark. Video Watchdog. pp. 361–62. ISBN 978-0-9633756-1-2.
  2. ^ "'Production for Me' - Levine". Variety. 19 July 1961. p. 7.
  3. ^ "'Aladdin' O'Connor" The Washington Post, 16 Oct 1960: G2.
  4. ^ a b "This Hoofer's Home for Good" Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 11 June 1961: b11
  5. ^ "PRIVATE BACKING FOR FILMS URGED: Producer Here Plans System Similar to Broadway's -- 2 Movies Opening Today" By EUGENE ARCHER. New York Times 2 Nov 1960: 44.
  6. ^ By, H. M. (1961, Feb 12). "'ALADDIN' ON THE ROUGH ROAD TO OLD BAGHDAD" New York Times
  7. ^ "The Chase Became Real for Donald" Dorothy Kilgallen. The Washington Post and Times-Herald 24 Dec 1960: B5.
  8. ^ "De Sica Would Dig for 'Deepest Layer': Ace 'Two Women' Director Says Realism Still Dominant" Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 27 Nov 1961: C15.
  9. ^ "Algerian Rebels Ready for French Truce Talk: 'Provisional' Government in Tunis Wants to Be Official Spokesman for Moslem Groups" Drake, Waldo. Los Angeles Times 17 Jan 1961: A8.
  10. ^ "NEW FILM PROCESS BEING PERFECTED: Photographic Product Does Not Require Chemicals -- Developed by Light" By A.H. WEILER. New York Times 13 Mar 1961: 36.
  11. ^ Bruce Eder. "Le Meraviglie Di Aladino (1961)". AllMovie. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  12. ^ The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study

External links

This page was last edited on 24 February 2023, at 06:46
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