Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

How Tits & Sand isn’t as Bad as You Think

Leave a comment

I said I’d do it and I did it – and Portent hit me with the title above.
That is workable.
It’s been a while since I last posted on Tits & Sand movies, in the wonderful definition of Maureen O’Hara. In case you missed those posts, we are talking about Technicolor extravaganzas with a generic “Arabian Nights” inspiration, and a fair amount of sand and nubile women in odalisque costume.
The genre ranges from fundamental films like the 1940 wonder The Thief of Baghdad (actually a British production) to backlot B-movies like the Universal Pictures 1965 feature The Sword of Ali Baba, that actually recycles scenes from a 1944 movie.

And there’s a lot of things we could complain about Tits & Sand movies – the trite plots, the general lack of political correctness, the often offensive attitude towards women, the glaringly miscast stars…
And we could take our cue from Maureen O’Hara herself, the fiery redhead often cast as a Persian beauty or an Oriental temptress.

But it’s not as bad as you think.
Indeed, Arabian Fantasies were one of the staples of fantasy cinema in a time when the alternatives were ancient Romans or Greek, or Bible stories.
And I don’t know if bundling Biblical movies with the rest of the fantasies I am committing a sin of some kind.
And what’s more, Arabian fantasy movies were essentially sword & sorcery movies – in the sense that they featured down-to-earth heroes, small-scale challenges, a world in which gods did not intervene in everyday life, and magic that was weird, unique and evil.
Also, as I’ve already said, some of those movies were really masterpieces – and once again I have to point you in the direction of The Thief of Baghdad.

And, of course, they were fun.
Now I’ve been told that being fun is not justification enough for movies (or books, or games) to exist, but I think this is just pretentious posturing.
Granted, there are movies that make us think and make us grow and challenge our convictions and this is absolutely wonderful – but sometimes a good laugh or 90 minutes of fun can save our life. And old Tits & Sand movies were simple, straightforward packets full of adventure and duels and magic and beauty and exoticism. For kids stranded in some dreary periphery, for people trapped in faceless jobs, they were a breath of fresh air.
So there – check out some good Arabian Fantasy or tits & sand movie and take a short vacation.
Sometimes we need to just sit back and have fun.

Advertisements

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s