The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Genre: Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 28 min.

Release Date: December 23rd, 1958 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Nathan Juran Actors: Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Torin Thatcher, Richard Eyer, Alec Mango, Alfred Brown, Nana de Herrera, Danny Green

 


 

C

aptain Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews), first mate Harufa (Alfred Brown), and his band of sailors are lost at sea, starving and desperate for a sighting of land. Through the foggy night, Sinbad finally spies a mountainous landscape, which they plan to investigate at dawn. His cargo is the precious Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), whom he is transporting from her palace in the kingdom of Chandra to Bagdad, where they intend to be married. The following morning finds plentiful fruit and fresh water, but also a foreboding cloven hoofprint. As the men search the shore, they discover an ancient rock construction that houses a monstrous horned Cyclops – and the fleeing Sokurah (Torin Thatcher), a suspicious magician.

Barely escaping from the clutches of the one-eyed giant, Sinbad returns to Bagdad; but the accompanying rescued sorcerer loses a magic lamp that he closely guarded, and wants nothing more than to return to the island of Colossa to retrieve the coveted item. The Caliph of Bagdad (Alec Mango) deems the mission too dangerous, but is forced into provisioning a ship, a massive crossbow, and supplies nonetheless, when Sokurah uses black magic to shrink the princess into the size of a doll, claiming that the only remedy is a piece of eggshell from the enormous, two-headed roc bird – only found on Colossa. Battling mutiny, Sokurah’s evil plotting, wailing harpies, and more, Sinbad must summon all of his courage to break the spell and emerge triumphant from the treacherous island.

The introduction of the Cyclops is iconic and staggering – an unforgettable creature in a project that reinvents and reimagines the possibilities for monster movies at every turn. And it’s just one of the many behemoths that frequent the film; a cobra-woman, a bird dinosaur, a fire-breathing dragon, and a possessed skeleton warrior round out the mutant abominations. And each model is absolutely stunning. “Dynamation” (special effects designer Ray Harryhausen’s moniker for stop-motion animation) is truly the best of the many attempts to revolutionize movie monster concepts, creating a more realistic, exciting, and highly detailed method of depicting oversized, animate objects. His work would inspire countless copycats, but none of them quite manage to capture the inventiveness of his configurations, the attention to proportions, and the complexity of movements. Even the sets are exceptional, with numerous minuscule items enlarged for tiny Parisa’s interaction (highlighted by the lamp interior), along with precarious exteriors that include a sizable avian nest, the Cyclops’ grotto, and steep, rocky cliffs.

Some of the acting is subpar, but more often than not, lines are delivered with fervor and the actors convincingly look their parts. Thatcher is a grand villain, doing his best to challenge the dominance of Harryhausen’s creatures; Mathews proves to be an adequate hero with his charm and spirit; and Grant routinely becomes more than the typical eye-candy insertion (her role is actually better when she’s shrunk). With thundering, instantly recognizable, rousing music by Bernard Herrmann, and plenty of swashbuckling, swords-and-sorcery action, “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” is a winning combination of fantasy, adventure, and special effects that together appear immune to the expected deteriorations of age.

– Mike Massie

  • 9/10


The Complete Ray Harryhausen


The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960)

Mysterious Island (1961)

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

First Men in the Moon (1964)

One Million Years B.C. (1967)

The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Clash of the Titans (1981)