Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD

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THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958). Director: Nathan Juran.

In this marvelous fantasy film inspired by tales of the Arabian Knights, Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) must battle a whole host of monsters on the island of Colossa in order to save his beloved, Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), who has been shrunken to doll size by the evil wizard, Sokurah (Torin Thatcher). There's a mean-tempered cyclops [who actually has a right to be mean as some of Sinbad's crew try to steal his treasure], a gigantic roc with huge flapping wings, and a fire-breathing dragon kept tethered in a cavern. In one of the best scenes, Sinbad has to battle a sword-wielding skeleton that has been animated by Sokurah [see video]. Actually the skeleton and everything else has been animated via stop-motion photography by the great FX wizard Ray Harryhausen, who offers superlative work in this picture. Mathews and Grant are acceptable in the leads, but the acting honors go to a really wonderful Thatcher, who seems to be having a ball enacting his villainy. {It's amusing that absolutely no one can figure out that it was Sokurah who shrunk the princess -- duh!] Nowadays fantasy films often feature computer effects of variable quality, but 7th Voyage with its stop-motion effects is the real deal. Mathews and Thatcher were reunited for Jack the Giant Killer, which featured stop-motion of inferior quality [not done by Harryhausen]. Thatcher had one of his best roles as the prosecutor in Witness for the Prosecution

Verdict: One of the all-time great fantasy films. ***1/2.


2 comments:

dj Buddy Beaverhausen said...

I was in first grade & recall the impact the tv ads had on me in b&w. I begged my mother to take me to this movie & she did. Sappy stuff re: genie kid. But I did have a crush on the handsome Kerwin Matthews, who I believe was gay in real life. Bill?

William said...

Mathews was very handsome and indeed gay -- he had a male partner for 46 years until his death.

Speaking of hunks in fantasy movies with Ray Harryhausen effects -- Have you seen Todd Armstrong in "Jason and the Argonauts?" Hot!