Random Film of the Day*: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

*For the next week or so plus, I’m going to add a random film the great Ray Harryhausen worked on. The legendary special effects MASTER passed away on May 7, 2013 at age 92 in London and yes, the film world owes him more than they can ever repay…

7th Voyage of Sinbad From the moment you hear Bernard Herrmann’s outstanding main theme that sets up the thrilling adventure ahead, director Nathan Juran’s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad sets itself squarely in fantasy film history as a true classic. Of course, having Ray Harryhausen on board and in full charge of the film’s effects work at the height of his talents makes this one an absolute must-see as well as one of the best genre films ever made. It’s a perfect blending of talents by all involved and it’s probably the one film Harryhausen worked on I’ve seen the most times as have many who’ve been influenced by it over the decades. This film was yet another hit for Harryhausen and producer Charles H. Schneer and also introduced the word Dynamation into the movie lexicon (later rechristened “Super DynaMation” and later, “Dynarama”), which amusingly enough, ONLY refers to the stop motion technique the master perfected over time and became an immediate means of letting his fans know who was behind the visual effects in that latest cinematic treat they wanted to catch…

Like the other Schneer/Harryhausen films, the script and effects don’t adhere strictly to previously printed works about its characters. Adding a Cyclops and Dragon plus a few other eye-popping elements to the Sinbad story it tells (not to mention all those Western actors posing as assorted races) diminishes not a frame of this flick one bit. Well, OK… the child djinn (or “genie”, for you lazy spellers out there) is a total whiny pain despite offering up some awesome wishes, but you end up paying less attention to him as the film goes on. Anyway, there’s a beautiful princess who’s been shrunken to pocket size by an evil wizard who cons Sinbad into setting sail back to the mysterious island they discovered him on (no, not the other Harryhausen flick I’ll cover soon enough) in order to retrieve a lost magic lamp, some monsters to do battle with (or avoid) and lots of magic and grade “B” dialog going on.

Actually, there’s a lot more to the plot and I’ve skipped around, omitting stuff intentionally just so anyone who still hasn’t seen this film can go grab and watch it ASAP. The assorted creatures are all impressive and more lifelike than some of the supporting cast, there’s some great humor here in some of the animation (that snake dance sequence, for example), and the evil wizard is a total jerk, which is bad for Sinbad and some of his crew, but great for kids and Harryhausen fans as he evil deeds lead to some of the most memorable action scenes in a genre flick. The highlights are the GREAT sword battle between Sinbad and a very pissed off skeleton (accompanied by a phenomenal Herrmann track), that aforementioned Cyclops versus a huge dragon and a mama Roc trying to protect its two-headed offspring after Sinbad and his crew are sent to grab a piece of eggshell from an over-sized nest.

Yeah, it’s the perfect popcorn flick and demands repeat viewing and/or even owning, as it will tickle all of the right spots in your brain and bring a bigger than life grin to your face each time you see it. Sure, you’ll probably feel about eight or nine years old at some point while watching this, but sometimes it’s just a perfect day when you can be a kid for about an hour and a half or so, right? Grab the popcorn and a friend or three and dive in feet first with this classic – you know you want to…

1 thought on “Random Film of the Day*: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

  1. Pingback: Random Film of the Day*: Sinbad and The Eye of the Tiger | "DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

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