Douglas Fairbanks stars in and produces this lavish Arabian Nights-derived fantasy that continues to rank very highly on lists of not only the best silent films ever made, but fantasy films as well. (No, that's not a typo in the title of this blog. In the 1920s, "Bagdad" was a legitimate spelling of Baghdad. However, I'll be using this older spelling only when using the title of the film.)
After the introduction of our framing device, an imam telling a young man that "Happiness must be earned," we transition to a day in the life of our unnamed thief (Douglas Fairbanks). He steals, he eludes the city guards with the aid of some impressive acrobatics, and insults imams and mosque-goers to their faces about how he just takes what he wants and lives for himself. Around this same time, a trio of suitors arrives at the caliph's palace seeking to wed his daughter (Julianne Johnston). One of these suitors is Cham Shang (Sojin Kamiyama), a Mongol prince and the only character to get an actual name in this movie. Cham Shang, however, seeks to conquer Baghdad, and is using the ruse of seeking The Princess's hand as a means of getting the lay of the land. Meanwhile, The Thief, after watching the parade, schemes to sneak into the palace and swipe some of the many valuables the suitors are bringing as gifts. During his break-in, however, he happens upon The Princess asleep in her bed and is instantly smitten. He returns to his lair empty-handed and utterly lovestruck.