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Ali Baba Goes to Town
Lobby card
Directed byDavid Butler
Written byC. Graham Baker
Gene Fowler
Gene Towne
Harry Tugend
Jack Yellen
Produced by
StarringEddie Cantor
Tony Martin
Roland Young
CinematographyErnest Palmer
Edited byIrene Morra
Music byRobert Russell Bennett
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • October 29, 1937 (1937-10-29)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States

Ali Baba Goes to Town is a 1937 musical film directed by David Butler and starring Eddie Cantor, Tony Martin, and Roland Young. Cantor plays a hobo named Aloysius "Al" Babson, who walks into the camp of a movie company that is making the Arabian Nights. He falls asleep and dreams he is in Baghdad as an advisor to the Sultan (Young). He organizes work programs, taxes the rich, and abolishes the army, in a spoof of Roosevelt's New Deal.

The cast also includes Gypsy Rose Lee, using the stage name of Louise Hovick, as the Sultana. The Raymond Scott Quintette also appears, performing "Twilight In Turkey."

Two men were killed and two injured on August 27, 1937, when the flying carpet rig collapsed in the studio. The "carpet" was a 1,500-pound (680 kg) platform suspended high above the floor by piano wires attached to the four corners. The platform fell while it was being tested; none of the actors were on set. Three workmen had been riding on the carpet, with one, camera grip Harry Harsha, dying from his injuries the next day, and 48-year-old actor and prop man Philo Goodfriend was crushed to death underneath. Goodfriend had also been the commodore of Santa Monica Yacht Club.[1]


Uncredited Guests At Premiere:

Cultural references

A clip from Ali Baba Goes to Town is shown in the film The Day of the Locust (1975), in which Karen Black plays an aspiring actress in 1930s Hollywood. A brief shot of Black is edited into the Ali Baba footage to create the impression that her character played a bit role in that film.

Some scenes from Ali Baba Goes to Town are described in detail in Swing Time by Zadie Smith. The character Tracey resembles the dancer Jeni LeGon, who performs in the film.

See also


  1. ^ "2 Killed in Crash of 'Magic Carpet' at Movie Studio". Greenville Daily Advocate. United Press International. August 28, 1937. p. 8 – via