Ali Baba Bujang Lapok is a 1960 Malaysia/Singapore comedy film directed by, written by and starring Malaysian silver-screen legend P. Ramlee and produced in Singapore by Malay Film Productions Ltd. Based loosely on the story of Ali Baba from 1001 Arabian Nights, the film is occasionally self-referential and contains elements of anarchic comedy, burlesque comedy and farce. The title includes the suffix Bujang Lapok because it is the third instalment in the Bujang Lapok series of comedy films that star the trio of P. Ramlee, S. Shamsuddin and Aziz Sattar. This film marked the feature film debut of Sarimah, who would go on to a long movie career, and is also notable as one of the few P. Ramlee films where he plays the villain.
In Baghdad lived Ali Baba the pauper and his brother the rich man Kassim Baba. Ali Baba earns his living by collecting firewoods but due to his working nature he is not able to earn much so he frequently asks the help of his brother for money and food once in a while. His wealthy brother always looks down on his younger brother saying that he doesn't have ambition to improve his life if he keeps on doing the work he is doing. One day while Ali baba was collecting firewood near a cliff as always, he spotted a group of thieves walking to a nearby cave.
Ali Baba (Aziz Sattar) is a poor man who cannot succeed in life. He constantly sends his wife to his brother Kassim Babas house to borrow flour so they can eat, but the stingy Kassim Baba (S. Shamsuddin) is frustrated at his brother and constantly reminds his wife, Aloyah, of Ali Babas uselessness. When Aloyah comes to ask for flour for the umpteenth time, Kassim Baba loses his temper and lashes out at her sending her home in tears. She blames Ali Baba for putting her in the situation and blames him for not making an effort to seek a job. Ali Baba finally relents and goes out into the woods to gather firewood where he chances upon a group of 40 thieves marching through the woods carrying loot and treasures. He hides in a tree and watches their leader (P. Ramlee) stand in front of a cave and sings a verse of seemingly nonsensical words (niat ingsun matek aji semar ngising, actually a Javanese language poem) which causes an entrance to the cave to open. Ali Baba waits until the thieves have all left the cave before coming out of the tree and using the magic words to open the cave. Inside, he discovers a variety of riches and wealth, but only takes a box of gold coins.
With the gold coins, Ali Baba is able to pay Kassim back everything he owes and live in better comfort. Kassim Baba is overcomed with curiosity and pesters Ali Baba to tell him how he suddenly came into wealth. Ali Baba eventually relents and tells Kassim about the cave and the magical verse to open it, but before he can tell him the verse to close the cave, or about the thieves who use it, Kassim Baba rushes off to find the cave.
Kassim, in his greed, tries to steal everything in the cave. The thieves return, find the cave door open and quickly close it. Kassim, who has forgotten the chant to reopen the door, is trapped and caught. Kassim tries to stall, but the thieves eventually kill him. When Kassim does not return home, Ali Baba sneaks out to the cave, where he finds his brothers remains. He collects Kassim and has him sewn together by bribing the town cobbler, Apek, to do it.
The thieves eventually hear of Apeks strange "job", and identify Kassim Baba as the man theyd killed. The thieves plan to rob his house, which is now under the protection of Ali Baba. This attempt fails twice thanks to the interference of Marjina, Ali Babas newest servant. The leader of the thieves, enraged by his mens incompetence, decides to look for the house himself. Once he has found it, he poses as an oil merchant visiting Ali Babas house, while his thieves hide in oil jars that are kept in the courtyard. Marjina discover the hidden thieves and, with the help of Ali Babas wife and widowed sister-in-law, pour boiling oil into all the individual jars. After all the thieves are defeated, Marjina attacks and kills the leader himself. Ali Baba, grateful for her loyalty, sets her free.
Although Ali Baba Bujang Lapok is filmed as a period piece set in an unidentified country with a Middle-Eastern look, it is filled with deliberate anachronisms which are used for humour. Among them are the appearances of bicycles, motorcycles, trucks, a Vespa scooter, telephones and guns. When on leave, the 40 thieves also dress as various anachronistic characters, among them a cowboy, wig-wearing judge and a World War 2-era Japanese soldier.
In addition, the 40 thieves seem to function as a proper business, offering members health benefits, performance-based bonuses and overtime pay. Like the above anachronistic items, these are played for humorous effect (e.g. the leader of the thieves turns down a job because Sunday is a public holiday, and when the irate requester threatens to find other thieves the leader warns that if he does so the Thieves Union will take action).
Besides, the movie is also notable for mocking the legal status of cannabis and opium in Malaysia for humorous effect. It is shown in a scene where Marjina is buying some belacan at the city market, where the seller claims that selling cannabis and opium is legal but belacan is illegal, as it is smuggled from Malaya, even though the actual legal status for those three items in Malaysia is the opposite.P. Ramlee as Ketua Penyamun (Leader of the Thieves)
Aziz Sattar as Ali Baba
S. Shamsuddin as Kassim Baba
Normadiah as Aloyah
Sarimah as Marjina
K. Fatimah as Norsiah
Ibrahim Pendek as Sarjan (Sergeant; Thief Second-in-Command)
Leng Hussain as Apek Tukang Kasut (Chinese Shoe Repairman)
Shariff Dol as Orang Kaya Muflis (The Bankrupt Rich Man)
M. Rafee as Penyamun Bin Rafee (Thief, son of Rafee)
Ali Fiji as Penyamun Bin Fiji (Thief, son of Fiji)
A. Rahim as Penyamun Bin Matarosan (Thief, son of Matarosan)
H.M. Busra as Penyamun Gemuk (Fat Thief)
Nyong Ismail as Tuan Tabib (Medicine Man)
Zaiton as Penghibur Gundik (Harem Dancer)
S. Kadarisman as Tukang cuci mayat (Corpse washer)
Mustarjo as Hamba kedi (Servant)
Alhamdulillah Syukur Nikmat (Praise the Lord)
Beginilah Nasib Diriku Yang Malang
Hoi Hoi Yahoi! Lagu Penyamun (Hoi Hoi Yahoi! The Thieves Song)
Aiya! Cik Siti (Oh My! Miss Siti)
Ya Habi Bi Ali Baba (Ali Baba, my dear)
Alangkah Indah di Waktu Pagi (A Beautiful Morning) originally tuned from Turkish ("Uskudara Gider Iken / Katibim") folk song