RETROREVIEWS #3: THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958)

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MAY 3, 2013 SCREENING: THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958)

 

 

1958’s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is the third of three fantasy films I screened that took their inspiration from classic Arabian stories. In this case, it dealt with the character of Sinbad. The adventurer Sinbad has probably been featured as the main character in at least a dozen or so prominent films, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is perhaps the best known of these. Despite the title, this movie is not an adaptation of the short story of the same name. It actually has more in common with the events of “The Second Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor”, although various parts of other Sinbad stories are thrown in for good measure, including some parts of “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor”.

 

 

Much of the information you can find on this film online has to do with the Ray Harryhausen special effects. His stop motion/claymation sequences are among the prominent parts of the movie, and they took Harryhausen 11 months to complete. This is the first of three Sinbad movies he worked on. The special effects here are impressive, although Harryhausen is best known for his work on 1963’s Jason and the Argonauts (which I will review on a later date), and it’s not hard to see why.

 

 

Like the previous film I reviewed, 1940’s The Thief of Bagdad, this movie features plenty of stereotypical characters from Arabian mythology. Perhaps the most interesting point is another Genie appears in this movie, but it’s a very different interpretation than the giant all-powerful bearded man that appeared in The Thief of Bagdad. Here, the genie is depicted by a child actor and some of the most memorable scenes include a look inside what its like to live in his magic lamp, after the female love interest of Sinbad is shrunken down to doll size.

 

 

Stop motion animation aside, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is not on the same level as the two groundbreaking films I looked at earlier. However, it’s still a well made, entertaining, and ultimately solid fantasy movie filled with plenty of creative and bizarre mythological characters that Sinbad encounters on his journey. We’ve seen it all before, but in the era before CGI, its some pretty well made stuff. Definitely worth a look.

 

 

*** out of ****

 

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