Monday, July 18, 2011

#346. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Directed By: Nathan Juran

Starring: Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer

Tag line: "8th Wonder of the Screen!"

Trivia:  This was the first feature using stop-motion animation effects to be completely shot in color.

The legend of Sinbad, a sailor who, in his tireless search for treasure and glory, relied on his courage and quick wit to carry him around the world, is one of the most popular folk tales to spring from the Middle East. If it weren't for the fact they were written hundreds of years ago, I'd have sworn this mythical hero's exploits were penned with stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen in mind. 

Per the terms of a peace treaty, Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews), the noblest man in all Baghdad, is to be married to the beautiful Parisa (Kathryn Grant), princess of the nearby kingdom of Chandra. Sinbad, who has taken personal responsibility for the princess's safety, is sailing back to Baghdad with his bride-to-be when his ship makes an unexpected detour to the small island of Colossa, where it is attacked by a humongous cyclops. 

Fortunately for Sinbad and his crew, the mysterious magician Sokurah (Torin Thatcher), who lives on this island, comes to their rescue, fending off the creature with his impressive powers. The cyclops flees, but while battling the creature, Sokurah loses his magical lamp. 

This lamp, which houses a genie (Richard Eyer) able to grant your every wish, is eventually recovered by the cyclops, and Sokurah begs first Sinbad, then the Caliph of Baghdad (Alec Mango) to help him retrieve it. But when both men refuse to risk any further loss of life on such folly, Sokurah resorts to drastic measures to secure the help he so desperately needs. 

Many of Harryhausen’s finest creations have sprung from the sea, stretching all the way back to his early work on films like It Came From Beneath the Sea, right through to the deadly Kraken, which ascended from the ocean floor to wreak havoc in 1981’s Clash of the Titans. With the legend of Sinbad, Harryhausen was handed the perfect vehicle with which to show off his animation skills, creating a string of unique monsters both in and out of the water. 

The most amazing of the creatures in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is the Cyclops, a one-eyed terror standing several stories high that, by plundering ships which sail too close to his cove, has amassed a great deal of treasure. Along with the cyclops, Sinbad faces off against other monsters in 7th Voyage, including a dragon, a skeleton soldier, and an enormous 2-headed bird. These and many other hazardous perils would both challenge Sinbad's courage while, at the same time, giving Ray Harryhausen a chance to let his imagination run wild. 

Harryhausen would tackle the legend of Sinbad twice more, in 1973’s The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and 1977’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, furthering the exploits of the Persian sailor in spectacular fashion. This merging of a legendary character with an animator of impeccable skills proved a match made in heaven, and together, Sinbad and Harryhausen would produce three of the finest fantasy films in motion picture history.


Klaus said...

One of my all time favorite "television" movies as a kid!

DVD Infatuation said...

Klaus: This was one of my TV movies as a kid as well, along with SINGAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER.