The Singing Princess

Welcome Back! The Singing Princess, also known as La Rosa di Bagdad is an Italian animated movie. It was released on December 22, 1949 in Venice and in 1952 in the United Kingdom. “It is often cited as one of the first animated movies from Europe and in Technicolor.” (Wikipedia) The English version includes Julie Andrews. This is her first film.

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History:

The Singing Princess was directed and produced by Anton Gino Domenighini. It was written by Lucio De Caro (Execution Squad, The Knock Out Cop, Speed Cross), Nina Maguire (King in Shadow), and Tony Maguire.

The Singing Princess was narrated by Stefano Sibaldi in Italian (Mission Stardust, The Sinner, Adam’s Tree) and Howard Marion-Crawford in English (Lawrence of Arabia, Sherlock Holmes, The Hasty Heart).

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Music:

The music is by Riccardo Pick-Mangiagalli (T’amerò sempre, Scandalo per bene).

Cast:

English Version:

  • Patricia Hayes as Amin; Little Dorrit, Willow, The Neverending Story
  • Stephen Jack as Jafar; Treasure Island, Farmer Charley, Wings of Death
  • Arthur Young as Oman; An Inspector Calls, The Olive Jar, So Much to Do
  • Humphrey Kent as Tonko; Black in the Face, A Good Pull-up, Keep it Clean
  • Paul Hansard as Zirko; The Buccaneers, Gold, The One that Got Away
  • Julie Andrews as Princess Zeila; Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Enchanted, Shrek 2, The Princess Diaries, Despicable Me, Tooth Fairy

Italian Version:

  • Germana Calderini as Princess Zeila
  • Beatrice Preziosa as Princess Zeila
  • Giulio Panicali as Jafar; Two Orphans, We the Living, Mambo
  • Carlo Romano as Burk; Ten Commandments, West and Soda, Riviera
  • Olinto Cristina as Oman; The Overcoat, The Children Are Watching Us
  • Mario Besesti as Zizibe; Four Ways Out, For a Few Dollars More, Graziella
  • Giovanna Scotto as Fatima; Two Anonymous Letters, Torna, Carmela
  • Renata Marini as Amin’s Mother; The Attorney for the Defense, Desire, 8½
  • Lauro Gazzolo as The Grand Kadi; Pinocchio, Goha, Ring Around the Clock
  • Maria Saccenti as Black Woman at the Fountain; The Facts of Murder
  • Sakella Rio as Black Woman at the Fountain
  • Luisa Malagrida as Calina
  • Delle Fornaci as Choir of the Three Ministers
  • Giulio Fioravanti as Choir of the Three Ministers; Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Piero Passarotti as Choir of the Three Ministers

Image result for Patricia Hayes the singing PrincessImage result for stephen jack treasure islandImage result for arthur young an inspector callsImage result for humphrey kent the singing princessImage result for paul hansard the buccaneersImage result for Julie andrews 1949Image result for La Rosa di Bagdad Germana CalderiniImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Giulio PanicaliImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Carlo RomanoImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Olinto CristinaImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Mario BesestiImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Giovanna ScottoImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Renata MariniImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Lauro GazzoloImage result for La Rosa di Bagdad Maria Saccenti

Original Story:

I’m not 100% positive, but I believe The Singing Princess is based off one of the stories from the 1001 Arabian Nights.

Image result for 1001 arabian nights book

Awards/Accomplishments:

The original version received favorable reviews by critics.

Controversies/Complaints:

The 1967 reissue (first American showing) was received poorly from critics in North America. It received an AMG rating of 2 stars. Critics cited that the animation was out of date.

Setting:

Castle

Characters:

  • Narrator: He narrators the story and is not seen.
  • Amin: Little boy who plays the guitar for the princess and is a snake-charmer.
  • Jafar: The villain of the story. He is the Sultan’s advisor.
  • Oman: I think he is the henchman that does magic. He helps Jafar.
  • Tonko: Short guy that wears red.
  • Zirko: Tall guy with long beard and red hair.
  • Princess Zeila: The protagonist of the story. A beautiful princess with a beautiful voice.
  • Burk: I think he is one of the henchmen. He helps Jafar.
  • Zizibe: Short guy who wears green and has a long mustache.
  • Calina: Amin’s bird; He helps Amin with whatever he needs.
  • Minor Characters: Old Lady, Genie, Choir of the Three Ministers, Black Woman of the Fountain, The Grand Kadi, Amin’s Mother, and Fatima

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Songs:

Again, like last time, I don’t know the official names of the songs. So, I just gave them nicknames.

  • Introduction: The song Princess Zeila sings in the beginning of the movie.
  • Crowding Birds: Princess Zeila sings to the crowds and birds appear all around her.
  • Picking the Flowers: Princess Zeila sings as she picks flowers.

Before the Movie:

I haven’t seen the movie before. The English version has Julie Andrews who is one of my favorite actresses. So, I tried really hard to find the English version, but I couldn’t. I did find it on amazon for $5, but I didn’t want to buy it. Especially, since the Italian one is on YouTube for free. If I really like it, I may buy it. I guess we’ll find out.

Plot:

The narrator introduces the characters. Princess Zeila sings a beautiful song and everyone watches her. A man rows a boat and we see two “evil” men talking. Then one man goes flying and turns the man into stone. Then, a little boy comes along and he plays the pungi (snake charmer instrument) and the snakes dance, as everyone watches along. Eventually, we see Princess Zeila again who is singing another song to the crowd. Amin plays the “guitar” for her. Then Princess Zeila’s dad and “Jafar” are debating about something, but I’m not sure what. Jafar goes and talks to his henchman as Amin follows him and hides. He sends his bird to grab a ring. Princess Zeila is singing while picking flowers. One of the henchmen is spying on her when Amin tries to go to the Princess, the henchman kidnaps him. The henchman starts casting a spell and turning Amin into a black kid. Then the henchman kills Amin’s bird and Amin cries. The henchman transforms Zizibe, Zirko, and and Tonko into babies. Amin cuts off a piece of his cloth and escapes. As, Amin is talking to an old woman, a genie appears. Amin’s bird (Calina) comes back to life and Amin turns back brown. The princess is in trouble and Amin goes to save her. He plays his pungi and makes the guy dance. They dance all the way into the river where they dance to their deaths. The princess and Amin end up together. Everyone lives happily ever after. The End

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Positive:

The backgrounds are absolutely beautiful. You can tell they put a lot of hard work into it. The singing is absolutely beautiful. Princess Zeila’s singing voice reminds me of a mix between Snow White and Cinderella’s singing with a little bit of Aurora. Most of the animation is really good and the character designs are good. The story is good. Although, the movie is in Italian, you can understand still most of the movie which is a plus. There are a few parts where you will be confused, but that most likely has to deal with the language barrier and not the story.

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Negative:

There is a part when Amin is flying and he ends up falling into the water. While, he is falling, the animators get lazy. They sort of just take the camera and turn it around (I don’t know how to explain it) instead of animating it. I thought that was pretty lazy.

Most of the characters are bland. They are pretty one-dimensional. They are designed good, but their personalities not so much.

I wouldn’t say this is bad, but it was kind of weird. The Princess looks like an adult while Amin looks like a child. Now, they might be both adults, or they might be both children. I’m not sure. In the end of the movie, they end up together. I just thought it was weird, because she looks like an adult.

The last thing that bothered me was when Amin got captured. The henchmen plans to punish Amin, and the worst thing he can think of is turning Amin black. Like what? Maybe, it wasn’t their intention and it’s just pure coincidence. They did have a black female character, and she was good. So, I guess it could be nothing. I’m not sure to be honest.

Image result for La Rosa Di Bagdad 1949 aminImage result for La Rosa Di Bagdad 1949 amin

Overall Opinion:

If you like Disney’s Snow White and Aladdin combined with its own uniqueness, than I think you will like this movie. The Singing Princess is definitely Disney inspired. The singing is fantastic. The songs all sound the same though. The backgrounds are absolutely stunning. They look like they came from a Disney movie. The character designs are great, especially the Princess. The characters themselves aren’t that good. They are very one-dimensional and most lack personality. There may or may not be possible racism. Also, the animation is good for the most part, besides a few scenes where you can tell the animators started getting lazy. The story is pretty good, and even though it is in Italian, you can still understand the story for the most part. I really want to watch it in English now. So, I might buy it. I do recommend it to both adults and children. I enjoyed it. Overall, I rate it an A-.

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Favorite Character:

My favorite character is Calina. Calina is Amin’s bird. The only character that has some personality and I think she is hilarious.

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Favorite Song:

Honestly, all the songs sound the same and aren’t very memorable. The singer has a beautiful voice, but the songs aren’t that great and I honestly can’t tell the difference. So, it doesn’t matter which song.

Favorite Scene:

My favorite scene is the ending. Amin kills Jafar by having them dance to their deaths. It is an interesting way to die and pretty funny. They did the tango and some ballet.

Image result for The Singing Princess 1949 Jafar

What did you think of the movie? Who was your favorite character?

Next, up would’ve been Tobias Knopp – Abenteuer eines Junggesellen, but I can’t find it. It was directed by Gerhard Fieber and produced in Germany. It was traditional animation.

The last movie of the 1940s is The Singing Princess or La Rosa di Baghdad. It is an Italian film directed by Anton Gino Domenighini. It is traditional animation. I was hoping to find the English version, because the English version has Julie Andrews in it, but I can’t find any except on Amazon. It only costs $5, but I don’t want to pay for it lol. So, I will just have to watch the Italian one with no subtitles. I don’t know anything about this film.

After, that we will be done with the 1940s and begin the 1950s. We would start off with Disney classic Cinderella and end with Disney Classic Sleeping Beauty. Also, Cinderella is going to take me longer to do than usual. Thank you for reading and see you next time.

(I do not own pictures, videos, etc. My information came from Wikipedia and IMDB).

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