The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

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The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Seventh voyage of sinbad.jpg
Directed by Nathan H. Juran
Produced by Charles H. Schneer
Ray Harryhausen
Written by Kenneth Kolb
Starring Kerwin Mathews
Torin Thatcher
Kathryn Grant
Richard Eyer
Alec Mango
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by Roy Watts
Morningside Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • December 23, 1958 (1958-12-23)
Running time
88 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $650,000[1]
Box office $3.2 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[2]

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a 1958 Technicolor fantasy film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Charles H. Schneer and directed by Nathan H. Juran. This was the first of three Sinbad feature films from Columbia, the much later two being The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. All three Sinbad films were conceptualized by Ray Harryhausen who used a full color widescreen stop-motion animation technique he created called Dynamation.

While similarly named, the film does not follow the storyline of the tale "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor" but instead has more in common with "The Fifth Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor", which featured the giant roc bird and its chick getting slain and eaten.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was selected in 2008 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


While lost at sea, legendary adventurer Sinbad the Sailor (Kerwin Mathews) and his crew find the island of Colossa where they encounter Sokurah the magician (Torin Thatcher), fleeing from a giant cyclops. While they escape with their lives, Sokurah loses a magic lamp to the monster. Despite his desperate pleas to Sinbad to return him to the island, Sinbad refuses, since he is carrying Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant) aboard, with whom he has fallen in love and their marriage meant to secure peace between her father's realm and Sinbad's homeland Persia.

Sinbad and his men confront the Roc.

After reaching Bagdad, the wedding is prepared and Parisa's father (Harold Kasket) arrives as the main guest of honor. Sokurah is asked to perform his magic at the pre-wedding festivities, but despite his prowess the Caliph of Bagdad (Alec Mango) refuses to grant him his wish to ferry him back to Colossa. Later that night, Sokurah secretly shrinks Parisa to diminutive size, enraging her father to the point that he declares war on Bagdad. Facing this crisis, Sinbad and the Caliph finally give in to Sokurah, who explains that the main ingredient for releasing Parisah from her curse – the eggshell of a Roc – can be found only on Colossa. In order to alleviate their fears of the giant monsters on the island, he provides them with the construction plans for a giant crossbow.

In order to make the journey, Sinbad recruits additional sailors from among the convicts in the Caliph's prisons. Before they reach the island of Colossa, the cutthroats mutiny and capture Sokurah, Sinbad, and his men. During a storm, the sounds of screaming demons from an island south of Colossa madden the crew and the ship is in danger of being dashed upon the rocks. After the leader of the mutineers falls from the mast to his death, one of the mutineers releases Sinbad so he can save the ship.

On the island of Colossa, Sinbad, Sokurah and some of the sailors enter the valley of the Cyclops, where they find a treasure hoard but are captured by the monster. Sokurah abandons Sinbad and his men to regain the lamp, but is trapped by the Cyclops. With Parisah's aid, Sinbad escapes, blinds the Cyclops and lures it off the edge of a cliff to its death. With Sokurah's treachery revealed, Sinbad retains custody of the lamp until Parisah is turned back to normal.

In the mountains at the center of the island, Sokurah leads Sinbad and his men to the nesting place of the Rocs. Finding an intact egg close to hatching, Sinbad's men crack it open and kill the Roc nestling for food. While the men are eating, Parisah enters the lamp and befriends the childlike Genie of the lamp, Barani (Richard Eyer), who tells her how to summon him in return for his eventual freedom. The parent Roc returns and attacks the men in retaliation, slaying several of them. Sinbad manages to retrieve both a fragment of an eggshell and the lamp, but is captured by the Roc, who drops him unconscious in its nest. Amidst the confusion, the magician kills Sinbad's faithful aide Harufa (Alfred Brown), abducts the tiny princess and takes her to his underground fortress.

After regaining consciousness, Sinbad summons Barani, asking for his aid. Barani leads Sinbad to Sokurah's cave, which is guarded by a chained dragon, and helps him evade the monster. Sinbad reaches Sokurah, who restores the princess to her normal size; but when Sinbad refuses to hand over the lamp right afterwards, the magician animates a skeleton warrior to slay them. Sinbad destroys the skeleton, however, and as he and Parisah make their way out of the cave, they honor their promise to the genie and destroy his lamp to set him free.

When the two leave the cave, they encounter another cyclops. Sinbad releases the dragon, who engages the cyclops in a fight to the death. Sinbad and Parisa make good their escape back to the shore. Sokurah orders the victorious dragon to follow and kill them, but Sinbad's men have had time to prepare the giant crossbow. The dragon is mortally hit by Sokurah's own invention, and the magician is accidentally crushed by the falling monster while Sinbad, Parisa, and the other survivors depart. They are joined by Barani, Sinbad's new cabin boy, who has placed the treasure of the cyclops in Sinbad's cabin as a wedding gift.



It took Ray Harryhausen 11 months to complete the full color, widescreen stop-motion animation sequences for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Harryhausen's "Dynamation" label was used for the first time on this film.

Harryhausen gave the Cyclops a horn, furry goat legs, and cloven hooves, an idea based upon the concept of the Greek god Pan. He lifted much of the creature's design (for example the torso, chest, arms, poise and style of movement) from his concept of the Ymir (the Venusian creature from his earlier 20 Million Miles to Earth). He used the same armature for both figures; to do this, he had to cannibalize the Ymir, removing the latter's latex body.

Harryhausen researched the Cobra-woman sequence (when Sakourah entertains the Caliph and the Sultan) by watching a belly dancer in Beirut, Lebanon. During the performance, Harryhausen says, "smoke was coming up my jacket. I thought I was on fire! It turned out the gentleman behind me was smoking a hookah!" The Cyclops is the film's most popular character, but Harryhausen's personal favorite was the Cobra-woman, a combination of Princess Parisa's maid, Sadi, and a cobra.[3]

The film's original script had a climax that involved two Cyclops fighting. In the final version, however, the climactic battle featured a single Cyclops versus a Dragon. The model of the Dragon was more than three feet long and was very difficult to animate; the fight sequence took nearly three weeks for Harryhausen to complete. Originally, it was planned to have the Dragon breathing fire from its mouth during the entire sequence, but the cost was deemed too high. So the scenes where it does breathe fire, Harryhausen used a flamethrower, shooting out flames 30 to 40 feet against a night sky, then superimposeing the filmed fire very near the Dragon's mouth.[4]

The sword fight scene between Sinbad and the skeleton proved so popular with audiences that Harryhausen recreated and expanded the scene five years later, this time having an army of armed skeletons fight the Greek hero Jason and his men in 1963's Jason and the Argonauts.[5]

The stop-motion Cobra-woman figure used for the film was cannibalized 20 years later in order to make the Medusa figure in Harryhausen's final film, Clash of the Titans.


The music from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was composed by Bernard Herrmann, better known for his collaboration with the director Alfred Hitchcock. Herrmann went on to write the scores for three other Harryhausen films, namely Mysterious Island, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, and Jason and the Argonauts, but Harryhausen regarded the score for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad as being the finest of the four due to the empathy which Herrmann's main title composition displayed for the subject matter.

The soundtrack producer Robert Townson, who re-recorded the score in 1998 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, described the music as rich and vibrant, commenting "I would cite The 7th Voyage of Sinbad as one of the scores which most validates film music as an art form and a forum where a great composer can write a great piece of music. As pure composition I would place Sinbad beside anything else written this century and not worry about it being able to stand on its own."[6]


The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was, and continues to be, well-reviewed by critics and audiences alike, with many saying that it is the best film of the "Sinbad" trilogy. It has a 100% rating at the aggregate movie review website Rotten Tomatoes,[7] with several reviewers citing its nostalgic value. Mountain Xpress critic Ken Hanke calls it "Childhood memory stuff of the most compelling kind."[8]

American Film Institute Lists

Director Edward Small, impressed with the film's success, produced a fantasy film on his own in 1962, titled Jack the Giant Killer, with the principal cast members of The 7th Voyage - Kerwin Mathews as Jack, and Torin Thatcher as the evil wizard Pendragon - reuniting as the starring characters.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The 7th Voyage Box office / business from the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
  3. ^ Dalton 2003, p. 112.
  4. ^ Dalton 2005, pp. 160–166.
  5. ^ "'Jason and the Argonauts'." Monstervision, 2000. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Luchs, Kurt. "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad: An Interview with Robert Townson, part 1." The Bernard Herrrmann Society, October 1998. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
  7. ^ The 7th Voyage of Sinbad at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ The 7th Voyage of Sinbad at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
  11. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.


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