The Singing Princess is a movie that was made in 1949. It was the first full length Italian animated movie. Its original name was La Rosa di Baghdad, The Rose of Baghdad. It was Julie Andrews’ first role. When I watch any movie, I try to keep a healthy level of open-mindness. I seldom go into a movie thinking I will hate it and even if I hate a movie, I can find something I like about it like the costumes or something.
That being said, I loathed The Singing Princess. I saw the English version but I somehow doubt it’s better in Italian.
Because I really dislike this movie I will keep the plot summery minimal. So Zelia is a princess who sings a lot. Her uncle, the ruler, wants her to get married and Jafar wants to marry her. He makes sure he is the only one in contention for her hand by having the emissary stopped.
The minsters tell him that he must make Zeila love him so Jafar’s evil minion gives him an enchanted ring that will make Zeila love him with powers of Satan. Zeila’s music teacher, or minstrel or something, Amin, overhears this plan and has his magpie, Calina, to steal the ring. Then Amin gets kidnaped by the minion. The minion takes him to a mountain hideout that can only be accessed by flying and he curses Amin so that no one can recognize him. Amin’s magpie tries to save him but is killed. In the fight the minion gets the evil love ring back. The ministers hear that Amin is missing and they go to find him but they get turned into babies by a fountain of youth.
Amin then escapes and sees Zeila wearing the ring and is in love with Jafar and is pretty bummed. Amin is then given a lamp with Genie in it and he defeats the minion, undoes his evil magic, kills Jafar, gets engaged to Zeila and his bird comes back to life. Monotone Yay.
Let me just start with two positives. There are a few backgrounds that are nice and Julie Andrews has a pretty voice. That’s is it, otherwise it’s awful.
The animation is terrible. Is it fair to call it bad because it old? No, it’s bad animation and lazy. They reverse Amin landing in the river to show him getting out. You don’t jump in reverse to climb out of a river, jerks. The colors are all flat and dull and the characters have soul-less dead eyes. The lip sync is awful too and the song are utterly forgettable.
The characters all suck too in both design and personality. Amin is nice but annoying because he is vapidly nice. The Ministers are useless twits. Zeila just sings, she is does nothing else except look pretty. Calina the magpie is fine but she does little really and her song is stupid. Jafar is like like the Jafar in the Thief of Baghad which is the same as Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin. Does Jafar mean creepy old guy who wants to marry young pretty girl for power in Arabic? Actually, according to Behind the Name it means stream.
So no character is compelling. And the minion named Vork according to the subtitles is just unabashed evil, he says satan 4 times. Though he is loyal to Jafar. Why? Fuck, if I know that would have given the story substance.
This movie has racial connotations as Amin is transformed into looking black as a I think as curse by the evil minion. Also the bad character just darker in color in general. I feel am not equip to discuss it and I don’t think I have the where-with-all to discuss it but it did make me feel very uncomfortable. But it’s worth mentioning.
I don’t recommend this movie at all. It’s not bad in a charming way and there is nothing redeemable about it.
There are two reasons to watch this, you like animation history or Julie Andrews. That is it. And just want to say This film is VILE and unpleasant. I feel terrible for having even watched it.
Really, I would rather want the 1939 version of Gulliver’s Travel or Hunchback Enchanted Tales over this. Can I go back to reviewing the Disney sequels please?Follow thehunchblog
Oddly, Netflix keeps recommending this movie for me. I’ve never watched it, mainly because of the title…I’m generally not a fan of old school princess movies.
But I guess Netflix equates this with Disney and musicals…