The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

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The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
Golden Voyage of Sinbad.jpg
Theatrical release poster by Brian Bysouth
Directed byGordon Hessler
Produced byCharles H. Schneer
Ray Harryhausen
Written byBrian Clemens
Based onSinbad the Sailor from One Thousand and One Nights
StarringJohn Phillip Law
Tom Baker
Takis Emmanuel
Caroline Munro
Douglas Wilmer
Martin Shaw
Music byMiklós Rózsa
CinematographyTed Moore
Edited byRoy Watts
Production
company
Morningside Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 20 December 1973 (1973-12-20)
(London, England)
  • 25 January 1974 (1974-01-25)
(United Kingdom)
  • 5 April 1974 (1974-04-05)
(United States)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2 million[1]
Box office$11 million

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is a 1973 fantasy film directed by Gordon Hessler and featuring stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen. It is the second of three Sinbad films released by Columbia Pictures, the others being The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). The film stars John Phillip Law, Tom Baker, Takis Emmanuel and Caroline Munro. It won the first Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film.

Plot[edit]

While sailing, Sinbad comes across a golden tablet dropped by a mysterious flying creature. That night, he dreams about a man dressed in black, repeatedly calling his name, as well as a beautiful girl with an eye tattooed on the palm of her right hand.

A sudden storm throws the ship off course and Sinbad and his men find themselves near a coastal town in the country of Marabia. Swimming to the beach, he encounters the man from his dream, an evil magician named Koura, who demands that he turn over the amulet. Sinbad narrowly escapes into the city, where he meets the Grand Vizier of Marabia, who has been acting as regent following the death of the sultan, who had no heir. The Vizier, who wears a golden mask to hide his disfigured face, explains that Sinbad's amulet is but one piece of a puzzle, of which the Vizier has another. The Vizier relates to Sinbad a legend, which claims that the three pieces, when joined together, will reveal a map showing the way to the fabled Fountain of Destiny on the lost continent of Lemuria. He who takes the three pieces to the Fountain will receive "youth, a shield of darkness and a crown of untold riches."

Sinbad agrees to help the Vizier in his quest for the Fountain and they join forces against Koura, who is on using the Fountain's gifts to conquer Marabia. Koura had previously locked the Vizier in a room and set it on fire, resulting in the disfiguring of the Vizier's face. The creature that dropped the gold tablet was Koura's minion, a homunculus created by his black magic. Koura uses the creature to spy on Sinbad and the Vizier and learn of their plans.

Shortly afterwards, Sinbad meets the woman in his dream, a slave girl named Margiana. Her master hires Sinbad to make a man out of his lazy, no-good son Haroun. Sinbad agrees on the condition that Margiana come along. Koura hires a ship and a crew of his own and follows Sinbad, using his magic several times to try to stop Sinbad. However, each attempt drains away part of his life force, and he ages noticeably each time.

On his journey, Sinbad encounters numerous perils, including a wooden siren figurehead on his own ship, animated by Koura's magic, which manages to steal the map, enabling Koura to locate Lemuria. The wizard uses another homunculus to overhear the Oracle of All Knowledge describe to Sinbad what he will face in his search for the Fountain. Koura seals the men inside the Oracle's cave, but Sinbad uses a makeshift rope to get everyone out. Haroun manages to destroy the homunculus as it attacks Sinbad. After he is captured by hostile natives, Koura animates a six-armed statue of Kali, causing the natives to set him free. Sinbad and his men arrive soon after. They fight and defeat Kali as she falls and breaks apart and find the final piece of the puzzle within Kali's shattered remains. The natives capture Sinbad and his crew, but after they see the eye tattoo on Margiana's hand, they instead decide to sacrifice her to a one-eyed centaur, the natives' God of the Single Eye and the Fountain's Guardian of Evil.

Koura arrives at the Fountain of Destiny. When he drops the first piece of the tablet into the Fountain, his life force is restored. He then summons the centaur, which fights the Fountain's Guardian of Good, a griffin. Meanwhile, Sinbad and the others escape, rescue Margiana and reach the Fountain. They watch as the centaur kills the griffin with Koura's aid, then Sinbad slays the centaur. Koura drops the second piece into the Fountain, which turns him invisible (the "shield of darkness"). He engages Sinbad in a swordfight. Sinbad is barely able to fend off his invisible foe, but Koura makes a fatal mistake by stepping in the Fountain itself, which reveals his silhouette, enabling Sinbad to kill him. Sinbad then drops in the third piece, and a jewel-encrusted crown rises from the depths. He gives the crown to the Vizier. When the Vizier dons the crown, his mask dissolves, revealing his restored, unscarred face. Their quest completed, Sinbad and his crew journey back to Marabia. When Margiana asks him why he did not take the crown himself, Sinbad explains, "I value freedom. A king is never really free. Why, he's even told who he must marry." The two of them kiss. Haroun, hanging on a rope above, asks Sinbad if he will take him on as a fully fledged seamen now. Sinbad agrees but tells Haroun to make fast with the rope. Haroun replies, "Don't worry Captain, I trust in Allahhhhh--" just as the rope becomes loose, hurtling him downward. The rope becomes taut again leaving Haroun dangling in mid air just short of hitting the deck. Sinbad and the Vizier finish the old Arab saying Haroun started, "--But tie up your camel!" They all laugh as the ship sails away into the sunset.

Cast[edit]

Screenwriter Brian Clemens helped Munro land the role of Margiana:

"I got the part – I had been signed by Hammer, for one year, for a contract, out of which I did two films, one being Dracula AD 1972, and the second one being Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, which, kind of, would come full-circle, to Sinbad. It was written and directed by Brian Clemens, who wrote the screenplay for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, so, I was lucky enough to be chosen for Captain Kronos, and they were searching for somebody to do Sinbad, and they wanted a big name, somebody American, or well-known, but Brian said "No". He kept lobbying Charles Schneer [producer] and Ray Harryhausen — saying: 'I think you should come and look at the rushes, and see what you think, because I think she's right'. So, they said "No", but, eventually, Brian persuaded them to do that, and they saw the rushes, and that was how I got the part."[3]

Production[edit]

Black and white photograph
Producer Charles Schneer and actress Caroline Munro in Amsterdam for the premiere of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

Schneer said he and Harryhausen chose to do another Sinbad movie as they "felt it was time to go back to the Arabian Nights, since no one else has been dealing with it and we had a great success with it in the late fifties. We felt there was a new audience that was ready for it. We knew of no other producers who were considering this type of material, largely because they probably didn’t know how to handle it on a basis where it became economically viable."[4] Harryhausen did a dozen master sketches which, Schneer said "we felt would bo intriguing and interesting and characteristic of the period." They then hired Brian Clemens to do a screenplay based on the sketches. Harryhausen was given a co producer credit in this film to reflect his greater involvement in the writing, editing and casting process.[4]

Schneer says Law was cast at the suggestion of Columbia. "He wasn't very athletic, and he didn't handle a sword as well as Kerwin did," said the producer. "Frankly, he was kind of flat-footed, but he did the best he could. He used a Middle Eastern accent that I wasn't altogether pleased about, either."[5]

Caroline Munro was given the female lead. Schneer said "We wanted her to project that sex appeal, because that was what was happening at the time in the film business. But we were still making a G-rated picture, so we went for G-rated sex appeal."[5]

Producers Charles Schneer and Ray Harryhausen based their production in Spain (Madrid as well as the island of Majorca) to take advantage of the local rugged scenery. At one point the possibility of filming some scenes at the landmark Alhambra palace in Granada was raised; however, rental fees demanded by local authorities proved prohibitive. Eventually the company was able to film at the Royal Palace of La Almudaina. Other scenes were done in the Caves of Artà (the temple of the Oracle) and the Torrent de Pareis[6]

It was filmed from June 19, 1972 to August 1972.

An early charcoal/pencil illustration showed the one-eyed centaur battling a giant Neanderthal-like creature, who was later ultimately replaced by a griffin in the final version. The idea of the Neanderthal was later featured in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977).[7]

Adaptations[edit]

Home media[edit]

The film was released in the United Kingdom on VHS in 1991.

Blu-ray ALL America - Twilight Time - The Limited Edition Series[9]

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

The film had modestly favourable reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has given it a rating of 73% from 14 critics.

Box Office[edit]

The film was a box office success with a total revenue of $11,000,000, including $5,000,000 in rentals, bringing its total gross to $16,000,000 - the equivalent of $78,227,342 in 2016 dollars.[11] The film was completed for $982,351, a remarkably small sum, even for a film in the early 1970s.[citation needed]

Columbia did not enjoy the spoils of the film's success as they had sold off all their interest in its 1974 slate to Bright-Persky Associates.[5]

On 25 February 2018, filmmaker John Walsh, a trustee of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation gave a talk at the historic Regent Street Cinema for a special 45th anniversary screening of a restored version of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, along with Caroline Munro.[12] John Walsh revealed how Harryhausen's legacy has improved with age. "What’s fascinating is that since Ray retired, he’s become more popular. All those young people who saw his films in cinemas are now making films, like Peter Jackson. And when Ray left us in 2013, George Lucas said that without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no Star Wars. His place in the world of film and special effects is unrivalled."[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cinefantastique p 45
  2. ^ Doctor Who the Handbook: The Fourth Doctor Doctor Who Books, 1992, pg 43.
  3. ^ [dead link]Caroline Munro Interview Archived 27 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine. Margiana.freeservers.com (23 November 2002). Retrieved on 9 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b Cinefantastique p 42
  5. ^ a b c Swires, Steve (March 1990). "Merchant of the Magicks Part Three". Starlog. p. 67.
  6. ^ http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=67592
  7. ^ Dalton, Tony. The Art of Ray Harryhuasen. London: Aurum, 2005, pg 178.
  8. ^ Buttery, Jarrod (April 2014). "Ready for the Spotlight". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (71): 8.
  9. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Golden-Voyage-of-Sinbad-Blu-ray/80945/#Review
  10. ^ ‘The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen’ Making Australian Blu-ray Debut
  11. ^ "All-time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976 p 48
  12. ^ https://www.regentstreetcinema.com/programme/the-golden-voyage-of-sinbad/
  13. ^ https://www.heyuguys.com/golden-voyage-sinbad-45th-anniversary-qa/

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]