Les 1001 Nuits is a French-Italian fantasy film loosely based on the ancient Persian legend One Thousand and One Nights. It is directed by Philippe de Broca and stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as Sheherazade who has married a King (Thierry Lhermitte) who desires to have many virgin wives but only one at a time. As soon as the King has sex with a new wife, he has her put to death at sunrise. Sheherazade delays this unfortunate ending by putting off the connubial event for a thousand and one nights, telling irresistible stories that are unfinished when the sun rises. In this version, Sheherazade finds a magical lamp that holds the genie Jimmy Genius (Gerard Jugnot) who is from the 20th century. Jimmy helps Sheherazade by providing her with 20th-century technology including a parachute that is used to drop a nude Sheherazade into a man's lap.
Actress Catherine Zeta Jones received her first film role in Les 1001 Nuits. The film was shot in 1989 and released in 1990 to little acclaim.
In Baghdad the caliph orders that every morning he should marry with beautiful girls, because every night he kills them. One day a beautiful girl named Scheherazade decides to rebel against the authority of the bloody caliph, legalinstruments telling fantastic stories every night to him; so that she will not be killed. Among the stories is that of Sinbad the sailor, who turns seven trips into seven different lands, knowing monsters, magical creatures, and finding priceless treasures. When Sheherazade ends her stories, invokes the help of the Genie of the Lamp, already protagonist of a story of the girl, which leads Sheherazade in the modern world.