The sheer mystic fantasy of Baghdad and its royal pomp and splendor [from Edward Knoblock’s play] remain acceptable escapism. The fantasy under lavish Culver City and Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor) production auspices is beautifully investitured. Ronald Colman as the beggar-sometimes-prince, Marlene Dietrich as the dancing girl with the gold-painted gams, Edward Arnold as the double-dealing Grand Vizier, James Craig as the Caliph-sometimes-turned-gardener’s son, and Joy Ann Page as Colman’s sheltered daughter are a convincing casting.
Colman, the king of beggars, is impressive as the phoney prince. He lends conviction to his role, so dominating the proceedings that he makes Legs Dietrich more or less of a stooge. However, she comes through in the highlight opportunity accorded her when she does her stuff for the Vizier and Colman. Dietrich’s terp specialty and getup is out of the dream book, but boffo. Thereafter Kismet (fate) follows the beggar-prince’s hopes.
1944: Nominations: Best Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction, Sound, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture