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A beggar and his daughter find their way through danger and mistaken identities to wealth and love.

Howard Keel is in it, what else do you need to know?

Although Vic Damone as the Caliph is so icky, he’s almost enough to cancel ol’ Howard’s honey factor, you betcha.

This is one of those wierd ‘experimental’ musicals…the tunes and much of the incidental music came from Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances…now, this has given us such wonderful songs as Baubles, Bangles and Beads, and of course Stranger in Paradise…and Howard gets some showstopper patter songs…but many of the songs are kind of wierd, and certainly not something you’d leave the theatre humming.

And of course, the costumes. 1955. As in Brigadoon, made a year earlier, the costumes are wierdly colored fifties ideas of trendy period costumes, and some of them (like the Caliph’s turban) are so silly as to be laughable. Howard and Ann Blyth (his daughter Marsinah) both look pretty darn good most of the time, but some of the other costumes are simply ludicrous.

But the plot is intricate, fast paced and funny…the songs are good, if some are odd, the costumes and settings are really eye-catching, there are a lot of good people in this version, and if they would ever release it on DVD instead of the hideous pan-and-scan video that is the only format it’s available in right now, it would be very watchable indeed.

But this is a good musical, well worth the time spent watching it…even in the current sucky format.

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