The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
|The 7th Voyage of Sinbad|
|Directed by||Nathan H. Juran|
|Produced by||Charles H. Schneer
|Written by||Kenneth Kolb|
|Based on||Sinbad the Sailor from One Thousand and One Nights|
|Music by||Bernard Herrmann|
|Edited by||Roy Watts
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$3.2 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
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.
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".
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 Parisa, Princess of Chandra (Kathryn Grant) is 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, Bagdad.
After reaching Bagdad, the wedding is prepared, and Parisa's father, the Sultan of Chandra (Harold Kasket), arrives as the guest of honor. Sokurah performs his magic at the pre-wedding festivities, temporarily turning Parisa's handmaiden into a serpent woman; but despite his prowess and a dark prophecy about war between Bagdad and Chandra, 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 the Sultan who then declares war on Bagdad. Sinbad and the Caliph give in to Sokurah, who explains that the eggshell of a Roc is needed for the potion to release Parisa from her spell and it can be found only on Colossa. Sokurah provides Sinbad and his crew with the construction plans for a giant crossbow, to be used if needed 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. One of the men releases Sinbad so he can save the ship, while the mutineers' leader falls to his death from the crow's nest.
On Colossa, Sinbad, Sokurah, and six of the crew enter the Valley of the Cyclopes. They are followed by Sinbad's loyal aide aide Harufa (Alfred Brown), who doesn't want to stay behind with the giant crossbow. Sinbad and Sokurah split their forces in two groups. Sinbad and his men find the Cyclopes' treasure cave, but are then captured by one the creatures and locked in a wooden cage. In the meantime, Sokurah retrieves the magic lamp, but he is chased by a cyclops, who also kills three of the men. With Parisa's aid, Sinbad manages to escape, then blinds the one-eyed creature, and lures it off the edge of a cliff to its death. Sinbad decides to retain custody of the lamp until Parisa 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, then roast it to have some food. This also provides the eggshell fragment for the potion. While the men are eating, Parisa enters the magic lamp and befriends the childlike Genie inside, Barani (Richard Eyer), who tells her how to summon him in exchange for her promise of his freedom. The parent Roc returns and slays the remaining men. Sinbad tries to summon the genie, but he is grabbed by the Roc, who drops him unconscious into its nest. Sokurah kills Harufa 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. With the help of the genie, Sinbad and Parisa make their way out of the cave, stopping to honor their promise to destroy the lamp, setting Barani free.
Leaving the cave, they encounter another cyclops. Sinbad releases the dragon, who fights and kills the cyclops. Sinbad and Parisa make their escape, but Sokurah orders the dragon to hunt them down. Sinbad gets back to the beach where his men have assembled and armed the giant crossbow, and manages to pierce the dragon with a giant arrow. As the dragon 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, who appoints himself as Sinbad's cabin boy; he reveals that before his transformation, he had magically transported the treasure of the Cyclopes to Sinbad's cabin as a wedding gift.
- Kerwin Mathews as Sinbad
- Kathryn Grant as Princess Parisa
- Richard Eyer as Barani, the genie
- Torin Thatcher as Sokurah
- Alec Mango as the Caliph of Baghdad
- Harold Kasket as the Sultan, Parisa's father
- Alfred Brown as Harufa, Sinbad's loyal right-hand man
- Nana DeHerrera as Sadi (as Nana de Herrera)
- Nino Falanga as Gaunt Sailor
- Luis Guedes as Crewman
- Virgilio Teixeira as Ali
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.
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.
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.
The music score for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was composed by Bernard Herrmann, better known at the time for his collaboration with the director Alfred Hitchcock. Herrmann went on to write the scores for three other Harryhausen films: Mysterious Island, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, and Jason and the Argonauts. Of the four, Harryhausen regarded the score for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad as being the finest, due to the empathy Herrmann's main title composition evoked 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."
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad continues to be well-reviewed by critics and audiences alike, with many holding the opinion that it is the best film of the "Sinbad" trilogy. The film carries a 100% approval rating at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with several reviewers citing its nostalgic value. Mountain Xpress critic Ken Hanke calls it "Childhood memory stuff of the most compelling kind."
- American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
- Sinbad - Nominated Hero
- AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Fantasy Film
Director Edward Small, impressed with the film's success, produced a fantasy film on his own in 1962, titled Jack the Giant Killer, using 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.
Comic book adaption
- The 7th Voyage Box office / business from the Internet Movie Database
- "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
- Dalton 2003, p. 112.
- Dalton 2005, pp. 160–166.
- "'Jason and the Argonauts'." Monstervision, 2000. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
- Luchs, Kurt. "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad: An Interview with Robert Townson, part 1." The Bernard Herrrmann Society, October 1998. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
- The 7th Voyage of Sinbad at Rotten Tomatoes
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
- "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot." AFI. Retrieved: January 29, 2015.
- "Dell Four Color #944". Grand Comics Database.
- Dell Four Color #944 at the Comic Book DB
- 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.
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