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also known as Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed

The Adventures of Prince Achmed1926

  • 4.3
When THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED premiered in Germany on September 23, 1926 it was hailed as the first full-length animated film. More than seventy-five years later, Lotte Reiniger's enchanting film (made in collaboration with Carl Koch, Reiniger's husband) still stands as one of the great classics of animation: beautiful, mesmerizing and utterly seductive. Taken from "The Arabian Nights," the film tells the story of a wicked sorcerer who tricks Prince Achmed into mounting a magical flying horse and sends the rider off on a flight to his death. But the prince foils the magician's plan, and soars headlong into a series of wondrous adventures (joining forces with Aladdin and the Witch of the Fiery Mountains), doing battle with the sorcerer's army of monsters and demons, and falling in love with the beautiful Princess Peri Banu. This cinematic treasure has been beautifully restored with its spectacular color tinting and with a new orchestral recording of the magnificent 1926 score by Wolfgang Zeller. Thrilling, sensuous and dazzling, PRINCE ACHMED will enthrall children and film enthusiasts of all ages.

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1 member likes this review

¡Absolutely wonderful! Lotte Reineger's unflagging inventiveness matched by her technical skill and brilliantly morphing visual designs will thrill anyone with eyes. As you watch, single silhouettes combine with others and transform into full-screen designs that stabilize briefly, only to yield thrillingly to new figures, new designs, all the while narrating a classic tale. Any child will happily view this moving narrative and, at the same, come to appreciate a traditional paper craft conducted to formerly inconceivable effects. The child in you, as well as the critical adult, should pick up a pair of scissors and some black paper to see what you can do. Do try! You will further admire technical techne and lost or never-known pleasures.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

131499.small
top reviewer

¡Absolutely wonderful! Lotte Reineger's unflagging inventiveness matched by her technical skill and brilliantly morphing visual designs will thrill anyone with eyes. As you watch, single silhouettes combine with others and transform into full-screen designs that stabilize briefly, only to yield thrillingly to new figures, new designs, all the while narrating a classic tale. Any child will happily view this moving narrative and, at the same, come to appreciate a traditional paper craft conducted to formerly inconceivable effects. The child in you, as well as the critical adult, should pick up a pair of scissors and some black paper to see what you can do. Do try! You will further admire technical techne and lost or never-known pleasures.

1 member likes this review
81629.small
top reviewer

A true landmark in the field of animation, "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" is deceptively simple in its concept, yet mesmerizing in its aesthetic display and narrative. For anyone passionate about animation and film, this is a truly inspirational film that shows the wonder of a world created with cardboard and scissors. This is an epic of shadows and silhouettes.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

4 ½ The stop action animation silhouettes are beautiful and wildly creative, especially how textures, hair, fabrics and waves are realized and how scenes have perspective and depth. Still, it’s basically two-dimensional shadows, which gives some scenes an abstract, expressionist feel. Hard to believe how visually exciting and interesting this looks, given it is 90+ years old and was the first animated feature. The story isn’t too interesting, but the amazing animation makes this fascinating and compelling.

At first glance, Reiniger's shadow puppetry looks technically skilled, but is actually pretty basic and clumsy compared to the Javanese and Chinese shadow puppetry it was inspired by. She uses composition very well, but her cuttings lack the filigree and fluid nature of Chinese shadow puppetry, as well as the jagged, ornate grace of Javanese puppetry. The fact that it is animated, as well as light effects and other exposure effects more unique to cinema, redeem this film somewhat. Her artwork is quite good, but doesn't hold a candle to its inspirations.

I would not be complaining about her lack of artistic ability compared to ancient Asian traditions, if it were not for the complete Orientalism of both this work and other works. The story was very uninspired and boring, with no moral or theme. In this terribly plotted film, she manages to bite the hand that feeds her with stereotypical Fu Manchu emperors, half-rate imitations of arabesques and "Chinese" architecture, as well as hyper-exotic and vulnerable Middle Eastern women, and nefarious African witches. Luckily, in this film the Middle Eastern princes look normal, unlike about every other person of color in this film and in other Reiniger films. I wish an Indonesian director could have made a film with Javanese puppetry first.

I am pretty sure the Argentinian lost film that was supposed to be the first animated feature could potentially be better than this.

It has very interesting animations and it's pretty different from most of the stuff around today but it was boring story wise.

Quite creative and interesting early silent film, but it is too long and grew tired of film half way through...I can only endure so much silence when I am asleep.