Ali Baba and the Sacred Crown (1962)

Ali Baba and the Sacred Crown German PosterWho is the real Ali Baba? Is he just a simple woodcutter who stumbled onto the greatest find in all of ancient Arabia? Perhaps he’s just a common thief, sneaking around securing his ill-gotten gains by eavesdropping on other thieves? Or maybe he’s the guy who has to constantly be saved from the murderous thieves by the guile of his brother’s slave girl?

If you were any kind of reader, all the foregoing would certainly be possible based on the tale commonly recounted in One Thousand and One Nights. My Ali Baba though is too cool for trillion year old stories that don’t make a lick of sense. (What sort of lesson does this story teach – make sure your slave girl is some kind of Navy SEAL?)

The only wood cutting I want my Ali Baba to be doing is on some hot desert flower whose name he can’t even remember! And the only thing I want him stealing is the heart of the curvy princess who he freaking lays right in the middle of the desert night when they’re supposed to be on the run on from the bad guys and scheming some way to reclaim her father’s kingdom from the evil Mustafa! And this Ali Baba, who open sesames the harem panties of more Bedouin babes than secret cave entrances, loves one thing almost as much as Arabian ass – freedom!

Ali’s people have been enslaved by the conquering Mustafa and Mustafa has demanded treasure from King Hassam, specifically the Sacred Crown. The Sacred Crown is one of those awesome doodads that allegedly wields some type of kick ass powers (“allegedly” because it never gets unleashed) and only the most awesomest freedom-loving monarchs are good enough to wear it! And Ali is tasked with retrieving it from the Open Sesame cave where the old wizard hangs out with it.

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It’s real simple, Ali. Transport the crown to the capital, deliver it to Mustafa, and ensure the safety of your people. Don’t get sand in everyone’s crack by fudging it up with some idea of changing the plan and trying to overthrow Mustafa. Total milk run.

You know why I love this Ali Baba and have made him an honorary American? Because like every great patriot, Ali knows that loving freedom is never a damn milk run!

And if you let tyrants start parading around with your sacred bling on their scummy heads, the next thing you know, they’ll be demanding all your sacred poontang as well! (And it happens here when Mustafa starts pressuring Hassam to deliver his teenage daughter Lota to him! Ali’s no dummy! No way is he not going to fight for the right to keep using his scimitar on as many sexy gals as he can fit into his tent!)

When Ali rolls into town undercover as a woman and accompanied by his dwarf sidekick dressed as his baby (Yes- this movie is better than 72 virgins!), they get caught and are forced to give up the treasure chest with the Sacred Crown to Mustafa. (I kind of thought that was the plan all along, but there was a midget in baby clothes, so who cares!)

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Ali advises that due to some small print on the shipping invoice, the chest can’t be opened until the day after the full moon or else a really crabby desert curse will take a dusty dump on everyone! Mustafa agrees, which I thought was pretty reasonable for a bad guy. Until he suddenly doesn’t agree and orders that the chest be opened right then!

Game over! Mustafa has his damn Burger King crown! Ali Baba – nothing but a gigolo gym rat chump, right? Now either Mustafa becomes the king of everything or the curse will destroy them all!

Or Ali actually just brought in a chest full of sand and a whole lot of “in your face, Mustafa!” Of course, this means Ali is now subjected to a couple of inventive tests of strength, with the fate of his dwarf sidekick and his other sidekick (a dullard) at stake!

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The remainder of the film plays out as these sorts usually do (escapes, battles, girls used as bait, final showdown, cameo by the spirit of Sinbad, etc.) but director Emimmo Salvi (see also the equally entertaining The Giant of Metropolis and Ali Baba and the Seven Saracens) makes the most out of the Arabian setting, his muscle hunk star Rod Flash (aka Iloosh Khoshabe), and delivers a movie that’s got a harder edge to it than you might expect from such fare. (Public executions take place with a large pointy swing pushing people into a flaming pit, Ali spits on Mustafa, Ali defiles Lota before they’re married and then dumps her the next morning, Lota contemplates and almost stabs a mortally wounded Ali to death!)

The action isn’t always shot in a convincing fashion and there is decided lack of intensity in some of the fights, but Ali does battle Mustafa with a giant club and chucks his body into one of the fiery pits which is really how you want your freedom fighting hero to handle his business.

Both Rod Flash (The Invincible Gladiators) and Bella Cortez (Lota) are jacked up in all the right places with Rod’s massive chest a welcome oasis in a what is otherwise a desert suffering a drought of shredded studs. Bella (Taur the Mighty) also gives Rod a run for his money for best chest with a dance number that features her in a little outfit that has jeweled nipples! (The less said though about the dudes in ballet pants that danced with her, the better.)

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