Chu Chin Chow (1934)

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Movie Info

The timeworn British stage musical Chu Chin Chow had already been made into a silent picture when this talkie version made its bow in 1934. Based on Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, the film stars corpulent music-hall comedian George Robey as Ali Baba, sinister Fritz Kortner as robber captain Abu Hahan, and exotic Anna May Wong as slave girl Zahrat, who saves Ali's life by properly applying oil to a collection of not-so-empty barrels. The obligatory romantic subplot is handled by John Garrick and Pearl Argyle, while comedy relief is supplied by a vaudevillian named Jetsam (that's right, of the team of "Flotsam and...") Director Walter Forde does little to "cinematize" the old property, which is just as well. Originally released at 93 minutes, Chu Chin Chow was shorn of about 5 minutes before its American release; presumably some of the sexier "nautch" dances were among the excised scenes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Chu Chin Chow

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

This lavish musical from the British studios is a colorful, extravagant costume film that makes its bid for attention purely on an extravaganza platform, and makes the grade.

Feb 2, 2011 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The sets, photography and costumes are quite admirable, particularly in the robbers' cave.

Jan 24, 2018 | Full Review…

Musical retelling of the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is well done, if a bit slow.

Feb 2, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

An old stinker.

May 4, 2006 | Rating: 2/5

This 1934 talkie gives Ms. Wong a couple of powerful scenes to play, looking both dangerous and sexy either dancing or brandishing a dagger.

Jul 28, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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