A Thousand and One Nights (found English dub of anime film; 1969)

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This article has been tagged as NSFW due to its pornographic subject matter/visuals.


A promo for the film.

Status: Found

Date found: 03 May 2020

Found by: Discotek Media

A Thousand and One Nights is a 1969 anime feature film directed by Eiichi Yamamoto, collaborating with Osamu Tezuka, and the first entry in Mushi Production's Animerama trilogy, a series of anime films aimed at adult audiences.

The film was also given an American release at some point in 1969, complete with an English dub, predating the first American X-rated animated film, Ralph Bakshi's Fritz the Cat, by three years. However, while the film was a hit in Japan, it did poorly in the United States, where it only received a limited release. Additionally, the English version had 28 minutes of footage cut from the film for unknown reasons.[1]

Plot[edit | edit source]

Aldin, a poor, traveling water seller, falls in love with Miriam, a beautiful slave woman on auction in Baghdad, but Havasalakum, the son of the chief of police, buys her. Before he can take her home, a sand storm interrupts the auction. Aldin uses the opportunity to steal away the slave woman, rescuing her from slavery. They hide from pursuing guards in a seemingly empty mansion. They have sex there, and are secretly watched by the master of the mansion, Sulaiman, who locks them in and commands them to continue. Havasalakum and his guards invade the mansion, where he finds them and capture Miriam. Badli, the right-hand man of the chief of police, murders Sulaiman. Aldin is tortured and sent to prison by mistake for the murder of Sulaiman. Meanwhile, a heartbroken Miriam dies in childbirth.

One year later, Aldin is set free and meets Badli in the desert. Aldin threatens to kill him, but shows him mercy and lets him leave. Aldin finds the magic cave where Kamahakim and the forty thieves hides their treasure. Aldin follows a thief inside, and as the thieves are asleep, he begins stealing the treasure. Madia, a young female thief, awakens and threatens to kill Aldin, who convinces her to see the world with him. The two fly away on a magic wooden horse. While they are crossing the ocean, living hair pulls them down.

Aldin and Madia eventually find themselves in the Lotus Island, which is home to beautiful Sirens. Their queen, Lamia, invites them to stay, but Madia becomes jealous and does not trust them. She leaves on the magic horse while Aldin stays and has sex with the sirens. Lamia forbids Aldin from following her into her house in the woods at night, but he still does so, and he is shocked as Lamia and the sirens transform into serpents. The serpents chase him, but Aldin flees from the island and is rescued by sailors. He travels with the sailors to a mysterious island, which is inhabited by a man-eating giant who eats most of the crew while Aldin survives. Aldin then finds a magical, sentient ship that will take him anywhere and fulfill almost any of his wishes.

15 years later, two genies on a carpet come across a shepherd named Aslan, whom the female genie falls for. The male genie, in hopes of keeping the other genie from risking death by being seen by the shepherd, brings a beautiful princess named Jalis, who is from Baghdad, but teleports her away when things start going wrong. The male genie, in a huff, leaves the female genie, as she transforms into a horse to help Aslan go to Baghdad. When Aslan and Princess Jalis cross paths in the desert, the genie disappears from sight.

Meanwhile, Aldin, now a rich man, enters a competition in Baghdad, the winner of which will become king. He wins the competition by tricking his opponent onto his magical ship, and by commanding the ship to take him to the end of the world. Aldin tries to use his power as the king to make Princess Jalis – who is Miriam's daughter – marry him, but she is in love with Aslan. Aldin commands the people to build a tower to heaven. The people hate him and revolt, led by Muhammand bin Sabaik, Aldin's second-in-command. Not prepared for the pressures of kingship, Aldin gives up the throne to travel the world as a poor man again, now seeing the value of freedom and peace.

Reception[edit | edit source]

A Thousand and One Nights was a critical success in Japan, performing well with a distribution box-office revenue of ¥290 million. However, outside the country the film was largely ignored with the English dub release in the US being so limited it wasn't rated and audience reception being generally negative at the time of release, according to Cartoon Research.[1]

Ethan Halker from ZekeFilm criticized the film citing issues with its failure at achieving “superbly sensual eroticism”, at times slightly disjointed and meandering narrative, problematic stereotyping and sexism, and myriad of technical errors. At the same time, he praised the film's creative experimentation with its various successful attempts at stylization and the compelling animation and soundtrack, calling A Thousand and One Nights "a bold, experimental, wonderful, messy, frustrating film".[2]

Two commonly addressed issues with the film regard its depiction women and the Middle East. Halker notes how the women of A Thousand and One Nights are largely illustrated as "helpless dolls, bitter victims, or literal snakes and man-eaters" and points out how they are mostly defined by their relationships with men.[2] Cartoon Research and the Tezuka Osamu official website both cite scenes of the main character feasting on pork and drinking wine despite being a Muslim as problematic and detrimental to the film's appeal to Muslim audiences.[1]

Rediscovery[edit | edit source]

On May 3rd, 2020, anime distributor Discotek Media announced that they have discovered the English dub from an old print of the film. They have restored the dub and will be releasing it on Blu-ray alongside the original Japanese version. [3]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

A Thousand and One Nights English dub trailer.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Reference[edit | edit source]