Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
|Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sam Wanamaker|
|Produced by||Charles H. Schneer
and Ray Harryhausen
|Written by||Beverley Cross (screenplay)
Beverley Cross and
Ray Harryhausen (story)
|Music by||Roy Budd|
|Cinematography||Ted Moore, B.S.C.|
|Editing by||Roy Watts|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||113 min.|
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is a 1977 British fantasy film, the third and final Sinbad film that Ray Harryhausen made for Columbia Pictures after The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. The film stars Patrick Wayne, Taryn Power, Margaret Whiting, Jane Seymour, and Patrick Troughton. It was directed by Sam Wanamaker.
Sinbad (Patrick Wayne), sailor and Prince of Baghdad, moors at Charak, intent on seeking permission from Prince Kassim to marry Kassim's sister, Princess Farah (Jane Seymour). He quickly gets used to the city and its people, but finds it under curfew. When he shelters in a nearby tent, he is attacked by a trio of ghouls, emerging from a fire. Fighting and disposing of the ghouls, Sinbad is yet unaware that a spell has been placed on Kassim by their evil stepmother, Zenobia (Margaret Whiting), which turns him into a baboon (one of Harryhausen's stop-motion creations) just as he was going to be crowned caliph (Zenobia wishes her son Rafi to be caliph).
Making direct contact with Zenobia herself, Sinbad does not yet know about the curse on Kassim and does not see her as evil at first. But when Farah shows much anger and hatred to Zenobia, and talks about a curse she believes was put on Kassim by Zenobia, Sinbad believes Farah and the two start thinking about what to do. Sinbad sets off with her to find an old Greek alchemist named Melanthius (Patrick Troughton), Hermit of Casgar, who is said to hold the knowledge to help if anyone can. However if Kassim is not crowned within seven moons he will forever lose his right to be Caliph.
They sail aboard their ship, heading in the direction of Casgar, to find Melanthius. It is also at this point that the baboon that is actually Kasim is revealed. During the voyage Farah calms the baboon that is Kassim down (even playing chess with him!) and lets Sinbad get to know him; most of the men on board believe Kassim is a real baboon. Farah tries to keep anyone out of his room so that he will always stay calm. Zenobia and Rafi (Kurt Christian), are at Zenobia's castle, making plans to pursue Sinbad and Farah on their way to Casgar.
Arriving at Casgar, Sinbad and Farah scour the land and eventually find Melanthius and his daughter Dione (Taryn Power), who agree to help them with their quest. Melanthius tells Sinbad that they must travel to the land of Hyperborea where the ancient civilization of the Arimaspi once existed. Meanwhile, Zenobia and Rafi are animating a bronze golem named Minaton (resembling a Minotaur, but made of bronze). With Minaton to power their boat, Zenobia and Rafi set off after Sinbad, Farah, Melanthius and Dione. On the way, Melanthius and Dione get to know the baboon that is Kassim. Melanthius also explains to Sinbad about how to restore Kassim to his human form and what will be needed to do so. Zenobia is meanwhile busy figuring out how to stop or delay Sinbad from reaching Hyperborea. Also three spies from Charak try to stop Zenobia and Rafi but are run over by Zenobia's much bigger boat. One of the men survives but Minaton kills him with a spear.
Along their journey, Zenobia transforms herself into a seagull to spy on Sinbad and his men. She flies to their ship and once aboard, she turns back into a human and shrinks herself, but is found and captured. However, she manages to escape when a wasp grows to the size of a bird and attacks Melanthius (Sinbad later kills it with a knife). Back at Zenobia's ship, Zenobia restores herself to full size but is left with a deformed seagull foot. The long, tiring voyage continues, but eventually they reach the North Polar wastes. Sinbad and his men decide to trek across the ice but are attacked by a giant walrus which destroys most of their food supply and kills two of the men, but eventually Sinbad and the others fend it off with spears. Zenobia gets to Hyperborea a safer way by entering an ice tunnel which leads directly to the pyramid. Sinbad and his crew finally reach Hyperborea. There they meet a troglodyte (a 12-foot (3.7 m) tall creature somewhat like a fur-covered caveman with a single horn coming out of the top of its head), though it is not dangerous to them. This primitive humanoid-like creature Trog, shows Sinbad the way to the center of Hyperborea through a huge face-shaped stone gate. After a long and tiring trek to the pyramid they get through and once inside see a strange light. Meanwhile, Zenobia has already arrived and gets into the shrine by removing a huge block with Minaton's help. However, Minaton is destroyed in the process. Inside the shrine Zenobia and Rafi wait for Sinbad's crew. Outside Sinbad and the others see the dead Minaton and, knowing that Zenobia is already there, become very cautious in entering. They finally arrive at the shrine and while exploring it, they find the light source which will restore Kassim. Sure enough, Zenobia is waiting and Prince Rafi attacks baboon Kassim. Fortunately Kassim wins the following fight and Rafi is killed. After that, Kassim is hosted into the light source (magic of Hyperborea), and is restored. As a last resort, Zenobia transfers her spirit into a sabre-toothed cat which had been frozen. Breaking free of its icy prison, the tiger attacks Sinbad and his men, and fights and kills the troglodyte. Two of Sinbad's men are also killed as they try to save Trog. Sinbad orders Kassim and the others back to the ship while he fights the tiger himself. The tiger then makes the mistake of following Sinbad up the stairs and after a tense battle, Sinbad kills the tiger with a spear. Sinbad is reunited with Kassim, Farah, Melanthius and Dione, and they all return to Charak to rejoice as Kassim is crowned Caliph. As Kassim walks through the crowd, people bowing to him, Sinbad and Farah share a kiss on the lips. You then cut to black, and before the movie ends, the eyes of Zenobia revealed themselves within the black screen, followed with an evil laugh.
The strong box office success of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad led Columbia Pictures executives to begin work on another Sinbad motion picture with the second still in theatrical release. The plan was to move away from some of the mythological creatures which had been features of previous films and use more recognizable prehistoric animals. Legendarily tall (7 ft 3 in [2.21 m]) performer Peter Mayhew made an unbilled acting debut in the film in some live-action sequences as the Minoton, while Patrick Troughton (who had played the harpy-plagued blind Phineas in Harryhausen's 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts) played Melanthius. Kurt Christian (who had played one of Sinbad's men in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad switched sides this time and played Zenobia's evil son Rafi.
The film went into production under the working title Sinbad at the World's End. The live action was filmed in Almería, Spain; Malta; and Jordan. The treasury house of El Khasne at Petra makes an appearance in one scene. Several castles near Mdina, Malta, were used as backdrops for the film and inserted using triple-exposure, and scenes of ships at sea were filmed in a huge water tank there. Most interior sequences were shot on a soundstage of Verona Studios near Madrid (Spain). Principal filming took place between June and October 1975. Some sets were based on previous films in a wide variety of genres. The massive doors and deadbolt to the ancient shrine of the Arimaspi in the arctic were based on a similar set of doors in 1933's King Kong. The interior of the shrine was very similar to the shrine set in the 1935 motion picture She, complete with steep pyramidal steps, a vortex of light coming from above, and a saber-toothed cat encased in ice. The power source of the shrine of Arimaspi was actually made of dental floss. Ray and the crew mounted dozens of floss fiber strands around a cylinder-like construction made of gauze, and this was mounted on a revolving mechanism and put in front of black velvet. It was then pulled out of focus to create shimmering and an inky light was run up and down the system to give it reflections.
Harryhausen originally planned for an arsinoitherium to make an appearance in the film. The massive, two-horned prehistoric rhino-like creature was intended to fight the troglodyte in the ancient shrine of the Arimaspi in the arctic. Harryhausen did preproduction designs showing the beast defeating the troglodyte, then getting caught and dying in a pool of hot tar. Harryhausen also said he planned to have Sinbad and his crew fight a yeti in the arctic, but that this idea was rejected in favor of a giant walrus. Harryhausen's stop-motion animation work lasted from October 1975 up to March 1977.
Because they were shot in close up, many of Harryhausen's models used in the film were larger than normal. The model of the walrus was 20 inches long and 10 inches high. The troglodyte was about 16 inches high, while the saber-toothed cat was about 15 inches long and 9 inches high. Harryhausen made two baboon models: a highly detailed 24-inch long model for most of the animation sequences, and a much smaller 5-inch model for a few long shots.
- Patrick Wayne as Sinbad
- Taryn Power as Dione
- Margaret Whiting as Zenobia
- Jane Seymour as Farah
- Patrick Troughton as Melanthius
- Kurt Christian as Rafi
- Nadim Sawalha as Hassan
- Damien Thomas as Kassim
- Bruno Barnabe as Balsora
- Bernard Kay as Zabid
- Salami Coker as Maroof
- David Sterne as Aboo-Seer
Reviewer Lawrence Van Gelder, writing for New York Times, called the acting "rudimentary", but found the movie enjoyable: "...this latest Sinbad adventure maintains the innocent and atavistic juvenile charm of the others in the series." Reviewer Lorna Sutton said the film was "pure escapist entertainment which doesn't require serious analysis or criticism." She found the film enjoyable, despite its flaws. "The plot is familiar, the characters are predictable and dialogue is trite. But the action and the special effects provide for a fast-paced two hours of entertainment."
Five years after its release, an anonymous reviewer for the Ottawa Citizen described the movie as a "bad umpteenth entry" in the series, and slowly paced. But Linda Gross in the Los Angeles Times was kinder, declaring it "a fantasy laced with nostalgia and corn".
Some modern reviewers find the stop-motion work lackluster compared to previous Harryhausen films. Harryhausen biographer Roy P. Webber found the ghouls highly derivative of the skeleton warriors from Jason and the Argonauts, with the heads strongly reminiscent of the Selenites from Harryhausen's 1964 effort, First Men in the Moon. He also found the Minoton and the giant wasp to be lacking in character and so ancillary to the plot as to be dismissed. Harryhausen later admitted that the picture was too rushed, which led to many characterization problems in the animation.
Other cinematic effects in the film have also been criticized. Webber, for example, notes that the traveling mattes used in the film to include various filmed elements are very poorly done, and the special effects used to show Zenobia transforming into a seagull are "so bad that it is truly laughable."
However, some aspects of the film have received enduring praise. Webber notes that the baboon animation was so good that many people were fooled into believing a real animal had been used. The battle between the troglodyte and the sabre-tooth cat is much better choreographed than the battle between the centaur and the griffin in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and much more dramatic (with the cat actually raking with its claws and biting with its teeth, leaving deep wounds on its opponent).
- Spencer, Kristopher. Film and Television Scores, 1950-1979: A Critical Survey By Genre. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2008, p. 177.
- Mitchell, Steve. "Ray Harryhausen: 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger'." Filmmakers. 10:20, p. 5.
- Webber, Roy P. The Dinosaur Films of Ray Harryhausen: Features, Early 16mm Experiments and Unrealized Projects. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2004, p. 193.
- "Where Are They Now? 'Wars' Supporting Cast." Sacramento Bee. January 31, 1997.
- A casting director had seen a newspaper story about men with big feet, which featured Mayhew. He tracked him down, and offered him the part of the robotic creature. See: Jenkins, Garry. Empire Building: The Remarkable Real-Life Story of 'Star Wars'. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Publishing Group, 1999, p. 88.
- "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) - Full cast and crew - IMDb". IMDb.
- Young, R.G. The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film: Ali Baba to Zombies. New York: Applause, 1997, p. 570.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Kids Will Like Third 'Sinbad'." New York Times. August 13, 1977.
- Miller, Thomas Kent. Allan Quatermain at the Crucible of Life. Rockville, Md.: Wildside Press, 2011, p. 272.
- Mitchell, p. 24.
- Knapp, Laurence F. Ridley Scott: Interviews. Jackson, Ms.: University Press of Mississippi, 2005, p. 124.
- Gil, Miguel 1st Asst. Director of the film
- Elley, Derek, ed. The 'Variety' Movie Guide. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991, p. 549.
- Hell, Richard. The World of Fantasy Films. South Brunswick, N.J.: Barnes, 1980, p. 67.
- Webber, p. 196.
- Dalton, Tony. Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life. London: Aurum, 2003, pgs. 250-252.
- Dalton, Tony. The Art of Ray Harryhausen. London: Aurum, 2005, p. 162.
- Kinnard, Roy. Beasts and Behemoths: Prehistoric Creatures in the Movies. Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1988, p. 150.
- Sutton, Lorna. "Film Review: Sinbad's Voyage Adventure In Fun." Spokane Spokesman-Review. August 29, 1977.
- "Movies in Review." Ottawa Citizen. August 21, 1982.
- Gross, Linda. "Movies of the Week.' Los Angeles Times. September 6, 1981.
- Webber, p. 197-198.
- Webber, p. 198.
- Dalton, p. 184.
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger at the Internet Movie Database
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger at Moviephone
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger at allmovie
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger at Rotten Tomatoes
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger at the TCM Movie Database