Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

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Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Sinbad tiger 1977.jpg
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)
Starring Patrick Wayne
Taryn Power
Margaret Whiting
Jane Seymour
Patrick Troughton
Music by Roy Budd[1]
Cinematography Ted Moore, B.S.C.
Edited by Roy Watts
Production
  company
Andor Films
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • 12 August 1977 (1977-08-12)
Running time 113 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $3.5 million[2]

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.

Plot[edit]

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, a witch (whom the audience later learns is Zenobia) summons a trio of ghouls, which emerge from a fire. Sinbad disposes of the ghouls. Meanwhile, Farah and Kassim's evil stepmother, Zenobia (Margaret Whiting), turn Kassim into a baboon (one of Harryhausen's stop-motion creations) just as he was going to be crowned caliph. If Kassim cannot regain his human form within seven moons, then Zenobia's son Rafi will be caliph instead.

Sinbad meets with Farah, who believes Kassim's curse is one of Zenobia's spells. Sinbad, Farah, and the baboon Kassim set off to find the old Greek alchemist named Melanthius (Patrick Troughton), a hermit of on the island of Casgar, who is said to know how to break the spell. Zenobia and her son, Rafi (Kurt Christian), follow in a boat propelled by the robotic bronze Minaton, a magical creature created by the sorceress which looks like a Minotaur. During the voyage, Farah proves to be the only person capable of calming the baboon. Sinbad is convinced that the baboon is Kassim aftr he witnesses it playing chess with Farah.

Sinbad and Farah land at Casgar and find Melanthius and his daughter Dione (Taryn Power), who agree to help them. Melanthius says they must travel to the land of Hyperborea where the ancient civilization of the Arimaspi once existed. On the way to Hyperborea, Melanthius and Dione also become convinced that the baboon is Kassim.

Zenobia uses a potion to transform herself into a seagull to spy on Sinbad. Once aboard his ship, she turns into a miniature human and listens in as Melanthius tells Sinbad how to cure Kassim. Alerted by Kassim, Melanthius and Sinbad capture Zenobia. Unfortunately, her potion spills and a wasp ingests some of it. The wasp grows to enormous size and attacks the two men, but Sinbad kills it with a knife. Zenobia takes what is left of her potion, turns into a gull, and flies back to her own ship. But there is too little of the drink left: While Zenobia is restored to human form and full size, the lower part of her right leg looks like a seagull's foot.

After a long voyage, Sinbad's ship reaches the north polar wastes. Sinbad and his crew trek across the ice to the land of the Arimaspi, but are attacked by a giant walrus. It destroys most of their supplies and kills two men, but Sinbad and the others fend it off with spears. Zenobia uses an ice tunnel to reach the land of the Arimaspi, and she, Rafi, and the Minaton climb subterranean stairs to emerge in the warm, Mediterranean-like valley above.

Sinbad and his crew also reach the valley. While resting, they encounter 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. The troglodyte proves not dangerous, and follows the adventurers to the giant pyramidal shrine of the Arimaspi. Zenobia and Rafi arrive at the shrine first, but she has no key to enter. She orders the Minaton to remove a block of stone from the pyramid's wall. He succeeds, but the block crushes the Minaton and destabilizes the shrine's power.

Sinbad and his friends arrive minutes later, and realize Zenobia has entered the pyramid. They enter the shrine's main chamber, the interior of which is covered in ice. The shrine is guarded by a sabre-toothed cat frozen in a block of ice. Rafi attacks Kassim with a knife, but in the battle Rafi is killed. Momentarily overcome with grief, Zenobia cradles her son while Sinbad and Melanthius investigate how to get Kassim into the column of light at the top of the shrine which will break the spell. Having come to her senses again, Zenobia transfers her spirit into the sabre-toothed cat. Breaking free of its icy prison, the sabre-toothed cat attacks Sinbad and his men. The troglodyte fights the cat, but is slain along with two of Sinbad's men. The sabre-toothed cat then attacks Sinbad, who kills it with a spear. The spell on Kassim is broken, and the adventurers flee the temple as it collapses about them.

Sinbad, Kassim, Farah, Melanthius, and Dione and return home just in time for Kassim to be crowned Caliph. Sinbad and Farah share a kiss. The film fades to black, and the eyes of Zenobia appear on the screen accompanied by an evil laugh.

Production[edit]

The strong box office success of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad led Columbia Pictures executives to begin work on a third 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.[3] 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,[4][5] while Patrick Troughton (who had played the harpy-plagued blind Phineas in Harryhausen's 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts) played Melanthius.[3] Kurt Christian, who played one of Sinbad's men in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, switched sides and played Zenobia's evil son Rafi.[6]

The film went into production under the working title Sinbad at the World's End.[7] The live action was filmed in Almería, Spain; Malta; and Jordan.[8] The treasury house of Al Khazneh at Petra makes an appearance in one scene.[9] Several castles near Mdina, Malta, were used as backdrops for the film and inserted using triple-exposure,[10] and scenes of ships at sea were filmed in a huge water tank there.[11] Most interior sequences were shot on a soundstage of Verona Studios near Madrid (Spain).[12][13] Principal filming took place between June and October 1975.[14] 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.[15] The power source of the shrine of Arimaspi was actually made of dental floss. Harryhausen 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.[16]

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.[15] 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.[17] Harryhausen's stop-motion animation work lasted from October 1975 up to March 1977.

The stop-motion troglodyte figurine used in the film was later cannibalized to make the Calibos character in Harryhausen's 1981 film, Clash of the Titans.[18]

Cast[edit]

Home media[edit]

Blu-Ray

ALL America - Twilight Time - The Limited Edition Series[19]

  • Picture Format: 1.85:1 (1080p 24fps) [AVC MPEG-4]
  • Soundtrack(s): English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Extras:
  • Isolated Score (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • This is Dynamation (Featurette) (3:25, 480p)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:15, 1080p)
  • Case type: Keep Case
  • Notes: Limited to 3000 copies. (Non are numbered)

DVD

R1 America - Columbia/Tri-star Home Entertainment[20]

Critical reception[edit]

The film was released the same summer as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and suffered in comparison to that science fiction epic.[21]

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."[8] 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."[22]

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.[23] But Linda Gross in the Los Angeles Times was kinder, declaring it "a fantasy laced with nostalgia and corn".[24]

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.[25] He also found the Minoton and the giant wasp to be lacking in character and so ancillary to the plot as to be dismissed.[26] Harryhausen later admitted that the picture was too rushed, which led to many characterization problems in the animation.[27]

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."[26]

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).[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spencer, Kristopher. Film and Television Scores, 1950-1979: A Critical Survey By Genre. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2008, p. 177.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Steve. "Ray Harryhausen: 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger'." Filmmakers. 10:20, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b Webber, Roy P. The Dinosaur Films of Ray Harryhausen: Features, Early 16mm Experiments and Unrealized Projects. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2004, p. 193.
  4. ^ "Where Are They Now? 'Wars' Supporting Cast." Sacramento Bee. January 31, 1997.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) - Full cast and crew - IMDb". IMDb. 
  7. ^ Young, R.G. The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film: Ali Baba to Zombies. New York: Applause, 1997, p. 570.
  8. ^ a b Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Kids Will Like Third 'Sinbad'." New York Times. August 13, 1977.
  9. ^ Miller, Thomas Kent. Allan Quatermain at the Crucible of Life. Rockville, Md.: Wildside Press, 2011, p. 272.
  10. ^ Mitchell, p. 24.
  11. ^ Knapp, Laurence F. Ridley Scott: Interviews. Jackson, Ms.: University Press of Mississippi, 2005, p. 124.
  12. ^ Gil, Miguel 1st Asst. Director of the film
  13. ^ Elley, Derek, ed. The 'Variety' Movie Guide. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991, p. 549.
  14. ^ Hell, Richard. The World of Fantasy Films. South Brunswick, N.J.: Barnes, 1980, p. 67.
  15. ^ a b Webber, p. 196.
  16. ^ Dalton, Tony. Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life. London: Aurum, 2003, pgs. 250-252.
  17. ^ Dalton, Tony. The Art of Ray Harryhausen. London: Aurum, 2005, p. 162.
  18. ^ Webber, p. 196.
  19. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Sinbad-and-the-Eye-of-the-Tiger-Blu-ray/80978/#Review
  20. ^ http://www.dvdcompare.net/comparisons/film.php?fid=2286
  21. ^ Kinnard, Roy. Beasts and Behemoths: Prehistoric Creatures in the Movies. Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1988, p. 150.
  22. ^ Sutton, Lorna. "Film Review: Sinbad's Voyage Adventure In Fun." Spokane Spokesman-Review. August 29, 1977.
  23. ^ "Movies in Review." Ottawa Citizen. August 21, 1982.
  24. ^ Gross, Linda. "Movies of the Week.' Los Angeles Times. September 6, 1981.
  25. ^ Webber, p. 197-198.
  26. ^ a b c Webber, p. 198.
  27. ^ Dalton, p. 184.

External links[edit]