Saturday, 12 March 2011

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

An adventure movie based on the adventures of Sinbad with special effects by Ray Harryhausen is a combination that can’t really fail. And The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is indeed pure fun.

Prince Sinbad is about to marry a princess from a neighbouring kingdom, a marriage that should ensure the future happiness of the two young people (who are genuinely in love) and the peace and prosperity of both kingdoms. But a scheming magician named Sokurah has other ideas. He lost his magic lamp in an earlier expedition to the fabled island of Calossa, home of the dreaded cyclops, and he is determined to get it back.

No sane person would back another expedition to the island and no sane person would take part in it, but Sokurah intends that such an expedition will take place. He will leave Sinbad and his father with no choice. When Sinbad discovers that his bride-to-be has been shrunk to a height of around six inches he is willing to do anything to reverse what is clearly a powerful and malevolent spell. When Sokurah informs him that he can easily restore the princess to her normal dimensions if only he could get hold of a portion of the eggshell of the gigantic and fearsome bird known as the roc, a bird that just happens to be found only on the island of Calossa, Sinbad agrees to undertake the hazardous voyage.

To procure a crew Sinbad has to resort to recruiting condemned criminals, a step that adds even more dangers to an already perilous voyage.

Director Nathan Juran and Harryhausen keep the monsters coming at a relentless pace. There are no boring bits in this movie. The monsters will be a delight to all fans of Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation techniques.

The acting is reasonably good. Torin Thatcher as the evil magician has the juiciest role and steals most of the acting limelight. Kerwin Mathews is a perfectly acceptable Sinbad and Kathryn Grant is likeable as the princess. Richard Eyer works pretty well as the boy genie in the lamp, in a role that could so easily have become annoying.

The one minor disappointment I had with the movie was that Sinbad’s ship looks a bit too European but that’s an insignificant quibble really.

This was one of Harryhausen’s earlier attempts at a Technicolor fantasy epic and it was a resounding success. It remains hugely enjoyable.

1 comment:

venoms5 said...

Yes, wonderful movie this one, D. I first saw this on VHS tape not long after the video boom exploded. To rent at that time was terribly expensive. I remember this tape was $7 to rent. My dad rented a stack of them one night and 7TH VOYAGE was one of them. I like the next one the best as I think it perfectly captures that Arabian vibe more than the first and third movie.