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
Based on Sinbad the Sailor from One Thousand and One Nights
Starring Kerwin Mathews
Torin Thatcher
Kathryn Grant
Richard Eyer
Alec Mango
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by Roy Watts
Jerome Thoms
Production
company
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 heroic fantasy adventure film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Charles H. Schneer, directed by Nathan H. Juran, that stars Kerwin Mathews, Torin Thatcher, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, and Alec Mango.

This was the first of three Sinbad feature films from Columbia, the much later two being The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). 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.[citation needed]

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".[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Legendary adventurer Sinbad the Sailor (Kerwin Mathews) and his crew land their ship on the island of Colossa, where they encounter Sokurah the magician (Torin Thatcher) fleeing from a giant cyclops. Though escaping with their lives, Sokurah loses a magic lamp to the creature. Sinbad refuses his desperate pleas to be returned to the island because he is carrying Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant) aboard. Sinbad has fallen in love with her, and their coming marriage is meant to secure peace between her father's realm and Sinbad's homeland of Persia.

Sinbad and his men confront the Roc.

After reaching Bagdad, the wedding is prepared, and Parisa's father (Harold Kasket) arrives as the guest of honor. Sokurah performs his magic at the pre-wedding festivities, but despite his prowess the Caliph of Bagdad (Alec Mango) refuses to grant the magician his return to Colossa. Later that night, Sokurah secretly reduces the princess to diminutive size, enraging her father who then declares war on Bagdad. Sinbad and the Caliph give in to Sokurah, who explains that the eggshell of a Roc needed for the potion to release Parisah from her spell can be found only on Colossa. Sokurah provides Sinbad and his crew with the construction plans for a giant crossbow, if needed, to be used against the island's giant creatures.

Sinbad recruits additional sailors for the voyage from among the convicts in the Caliph's prisons. Before they reach Colossa, the cutthroats mutiny and capture Sokurah, Sinbad, and his men. During a violent storm, the sounds of keening demons from an island south of Colossa drives the crew nearly mad, endangering the ship. After the mutineers' leader falls to his death from the Crow's nest, one of them releases Sinbad so he can save the ship.

On Colossa, Sinbad, Sokurah, and some of the crew enter the Valley of the Cyclops, where they find the creature's treasure cave. Sinbad and his men are captured after Sokurah regains the magic lamp, but he is also trapped by the Cyclops. With Parisah's aid, Sinbad escapes, blinds the one-eyed creature, and lures it off the edge of a cliff to its death. Sinbad retains custody of the lamp until Parisah is turned back to normal.

Sokurah leads Sinbad and his starving men to the nesting place of the giant Rocs, finding an intact egg close to hatching. Sinbad's men crack it open and kill the Roc nestling inside, roasting it. While the men are eating, Parisah enters the magic lamp and befriends the childlike Genie of the lamp, Barani (Richard Eyer), who tells her how to summon him in exchange for her promise for his freedom. The parent Roc returns and slays several of the men. Sinbad manages to retrieve both an eggshell fragment and the lamp, but he is grabbed up by the Roc, who later drops him unconscious in its nest. The magician kills Sinbad's aide Harufa (Alfred Brown) and abducts the princess, taking her to his underground fortress.

Sinbad awakes and rubs the magic lamp, summoning Barani, who takes Sinbad to Sokurah's fortress. Barani helps him evade the chained dragon that stands guard. Sinbad reaches Sokurah, who restores the princess to normal. When Sinbad refuses to hand over the lamp, the magician animates a skeleton warrior, which Sinbad battles and destroys. He and Parisah make their way out of the cave, stopping to honor their promise to destroy the lamp, setting Barini free.

Leaving the cave, they encounter another cyclops. Sinbad releases the dragon, who fights the cyclops to the death. Sinbad and Parisa make good their escape, and Sokurah orders the dragon to follow and kill them. Sinbad's men, having assembled and armed the giant crossbow, manage to kill the dragon with a giant arrow. As it dies, Sokurah is crushed beneath the collapsing creature. Sinbad, Parisa, and the remaining crew depart for Bagdad to stop the war. They are joined by Barani, now human and Sinbad's new cabin boy, who, before his transformation, magically placed the treasure of the Cyclops in Sinbad's cabin as a wedding gift.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Score[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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]

Reception[edit]

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 review aggregator 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."[7]

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]

References[edit]

Notes[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. ^ a b The 7th Voyage of Sinbad at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
  9. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Dalton, Tony. The Art of Ray Harryhausen. London: Aurum, 2005. ISBN 978-1-8451-3114-2.
  • Dalton, Tony. Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life. London: Aurum, 2003. ISBN 978-1-8541-0940-8.
  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009, (First edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.

External links[edit]