Thursday 23 May 2013

The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Living skellingtons are terrifying, and there's one inside you right now!
Since this Ray Harryhausen classic leaps from spectacle to spectacle to eye-boggling spectacle, it would seem wrong to give you a mass of text.  Rather, I present screen-shots and captions (as I once did for 1937's 'Way Out West').

I'm told the city has not changed at all in the last two-thousand years, except in its spelling.
The film is miscellaneously Eastern, meaning it's full of white people in exotic costumes who pepper their dialogue with Allah this, and Baghdad that, in just the way no modern film would or could.

Technicolor and Dynamation, the new miracle of the screen!  You'll believe a Cyclops can lumber.

Sinbad and his shrunken bride
Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) speaks with a Very American Accent, of the sort one now only hears from Britons doing poor-but-apparently-at-least-historically-accurate impressions.

Not quite as frighting as the real-live dragon in 'Die Nibelungen' (1924), but it seems churlish to complain.
The spectacles and effects are tremendous for their time.  Any earlier, and they'd have been mind-blowing, any later and they'd have been strange and embarrassing but nonetheless charming - like all things of true beauty.

This is how frightening the film is!  Exceedingly so.
'The Thief of Bagdad' did something very similar in 1940, but lacked Harryhausen's stop-motion creations.  The earlier film had a cooler genie, or perhaps just a balder, fatter, bluer one.

 A lovely, fluffy Roc.  I should like one for a pet
It isn't too long, and it's never dull, and when the villain perishes he does so with a satisfying squelch.  What more can one ask of a tale of high adventure?

P.S. The next update will be 1962's D-Day reĆ«nactment 'The Longest Day'.  And yes, I believe that's a valid use of a diaeresis.

...and hey, the DVD has all three classic Sinbad films on it.  The middle one has Tom Baker in it.

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