The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Question: When Baron Munchausen and his cohorts clean out the Sultan's vault, the Sultan's horrified Treasurer crosses himself in the Catholic fashion. But, in this film, the Sultan is head of the Ottoman Empire (a Muslim empire), and the closest members of his court (such as his Treasurer) would surely be Muslim. So the treasurer's Christian gesture stands out as unlikely, at best. This seems to be a character error, but was it intended as a deliberate joke? If so, what was the joke?

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: The Baron is a teller of tall tales and massively exaggerated stories, so it is all from his limited point of view. The Ottomans did have Christian members of staff, especially doctors and such but the treasurer would never be a non-Muslim.

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Trivia: Early in the film, as the Salt and Son theatrical troupe performs their stage version of Munchausen's adventures, the Baron is eaten by a giant fish; two mermaids immediately enter stage-left and sing a mournful ditty modestly accompanied by the pit orchestra: "What will become of the Baron? Surely this time there is no escape!" To those with sharp ears, this ditty is the same tune as the soaring, symphonic Baron Munchausen theme music featured throughout the movie.

Charles Austin Miller

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