Theatrical release main title frame
|Directed by||Byron Haskin|
|Produced by||Frank King
|Written by||Samuel B. West
|Music by||Michel Michelet|
|Edited by||Robert Swink|
|June 19, 1963|
|Box office||$2,500,000 (US/ Canada)|
Captain Sindbad (sic) is a 1963 independently made fantasy adventure film, produced by Frank King and Herman King (King Brothers Productions), directed by Byron Haskin, that was filmed in the Bavaria studios in Germany. The film was distributed by MGM and stars Guy Williams (Disney's Zorro and future Lost in Space star) and Heidi Brühl.
The script was rewritten by Guy Endore, then rewritten again by co-producer Frank King a week before filming in order to reduce production expenses; the film was then reedited prior to release. Haskin also did some of the film's special effects shot sequences for a television pilot of the film for MGM Television, but no network picked it up.
The peaceful kingdom of Baristan has an evil ruler named El-Carim. He plans to capture his rival, Sindbad, who will soon return from sea in order to marry Princess Jana. The Princess convinces the magician Galgo to turn her into a small bird, so that she may fly off to warn Sinbad of the trap set against him. She flies off just as Galgo is discovered by the guards, who take him to El-Carim. As Sindbad and his crew sail towards Baristan, the Princess-Firebird descends and lands on the ship.
Before she can deliver the message, El-Carim transforms the guards into giant human falcons, in order to drop rocks onto Sindbad's ship sinking it. However, Sindbad and some of his crew have survived, and they carefully make their way to shore. Galgo makes his arm stretch out to an enormous length, long enough to grab El-Carim's magic ring, but the evil king wakes up in time to burn Galgo's hand.
Sindbad manages to get arrested, and soon appears before the dictator as a petty thief. El-Carim is not fooled, and knows that the man standing before him is the Princess' suitor; he orders him executed. Sindbad, however, breaks free of his ropes and challenges the ruler. Sindbad stabs the King in the heart with a sword, but as El-Carim has no heart and cannot be killed. El-Carim plans to put Sindbad to death the next day in the public arena.
Sindbad is tossed into the arena, where he must do battle with "The Thing", a fearsome giant invisible monster. Fortunately, the Thing knocks over a torch in his pursuit of Sindbad, starting a fire in the arena which incites a mass exodus, allowing Sindbad to escape in the large crowd.
Sindbad visits Galgo, finally convincing the magician to reveal the secret of El-Carim's invincible rule: the madman has had his heart removed, and it is kept safe in a distant bell tower, guarded by supernatural forces. El-Carim insists that the Princess marry him, but she refuses, and so is slated for execution. Sindbad and his men traverse the swamps of horror in order to reach the tower containing the evil heart. They encounter carnivorous vines, giant prehistoric crocodiles, volcanic lava pits, and killer whirlpools on the way, finally battling an huge ogre creature with the multiple heads of a dragon.
When they reach the tower, Sindbad, with the aid of a hook, begins to climb the immense rope to the top of the tower. Sindbad reaches the top and finds El-Carim's beating heart encased in crystal. The heart is protected by a giant hand, which chases Sindbad all around the bell tower. Sindbad throws the hook at the crystal, which dislodges the evil heart, giving El-Carim a heart attack. Sindbad then manages to vanquish the monster hand. Seeking to protect the heart, El-Carim flies in a winged chariot towards the tower, accompanied by Galgo. Sindbad is about to impale the evil heart when El-Carim arrives on the scene. The two have a fierce swordfight while Galgo steals the wretched heart, and tosses it over the side of the tower. As it falls to the ground, El-Carim faints, and falls to his death. The entire kingdom then holds a celebration for the marriage of the Princess and Captain Sindbad.
- Guy Williams as Captain Sindbad
- Heidi Brühl as Princess Jana
- Pedro Armendáriz as El Kerim
- Abraham Sofaer as Galgo
- Bernie Hamilton as Quinius
- Henry Brandon as Colonel Kabar
New York Times review
(July 4, 1963)
"Until about the last 20 minutes, it's strictly a broad mishmash of fantasy-comedy, spilling out over some lavishly gaudy sets of Old Arabia. As for plot, there's sinewy Sindbad (Guy Williams) trying to rescue a dead pan princess (Heidi Bruhl) from a wicked ruler (Pedro Armendariz), aided by a tippling, belching old magician.
"Throw in a tired "Scheherazade"-type of score, as Mr. Williams braves anything from crocodiles to a 12-headed monster (our count, anyway), and you have the kind of harmless trash some kids may tolerate.
"Yesterday, a cute little blonde in front of us took it all in stride, monsters included. She also perked up, leaning forward, for that final reel, when the picture slips from mediocrity into a wildly funny, eerie and casually beguiling adventure, not hard to take.
"One set, a garishly tangled swamp, is nifty; so is the final one, for a palace skirmish. The King Brothers produced it, in Munich, of all places. M. G. M. sponsors."
Comic book adaption
- "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 71. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
- p. 292 Fischer, Dennis Byron Haskin Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895-1998 McFarland, 17 Jun 2011
- "Gold Key: Captain Sindbad". Grand Comics Database.