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"The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" (1958)

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"The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" (1958)

"The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" (1958)

A Fantasy Adventure Classic

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a classic adventure movie that is made for lazy Sunday afternoons in front of the boob tube. It stars Kerwyn Mathews as Sinbad, whom we meet on his way back to Baghdad (spelled Bagdad in the movie) with his bride to be. She is the princess Parisa, and she and Sinbad are deeply in love.

Their ship has been blown off course, and they are running out of food and water. They find themselves at the island of Colossa. There they help a magician named Sokurah escape from a pursuing cyclops. Sokurah is in possession of a genie's lamp, which he uses to assist in the escape from the cyclops. The lamp is lost to the monster during the getaway.

Movie Includes Actual Genie's Lamp!

Once safely back in Baghdad Sokurah tries to convince the Caliph to send an expedition with him to retrieve the lamp, but everyone is more interested in the upcoming marriage of Sinbad and Parisa.

Sokurah uses his magic to shrink Parisa, then tells Sinbad that the only way to restore her is to take him back to Colossa. Sinbad knows it will be impossible to convince sailors to go with him, so he takes condemned prisoners who are scheduled to be executed.

During the course of their adventure, Sinbad and Parisa meet the genie and promise to help him escape the prison of the magic lamp and become a regular human boy. There are more run-ins with cyclops, a dragon, and a reanimated skeleton.

Ray Harryhausen's skeleton army is a highlight of "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad."

Ray Harryhausen's skeleton army is a highlight of "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad."

The Genius of Ray Harryhausen

There is a mutiny, followed by a close encounter with some creatures obviously inspired by the Sirens of Greek mythology. All of this is brought to life by the magnificent special effects of Ray Harryhausen, who spent 11 months completing the full color, stop-motion animation sequences he called "Dynamation." Give me a good Claymation monster over a CGI cartoon creature any day.

The actors do a great job and make dialog that could easily sound pretentious and silly seem fun. The only time anyone slips up and inserts modern sounding speech is the kid who plays the genie at the end of the movie, when he says he "got something for ya, sort of a wedding present."

Memorable Quotes

Some other notable lines from the movie include, "How could you love a tiny and insignificant female like me?" and "Allah has many ways of dealing with a hungry man" after a crewman falls off a cliff.

Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation sequences still look awesome!

Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation sequences still look awesome!

OK, So There Are Plot Holes

These old fantasy movies always take a willingness to not overthink things, but there were a few things I had to wonder about. Sinbad keeps the princess in a small jeweled box that is just large enough for her to stand up in, but not extend her arms. How did she go to the bathroom? There was no bedpan or holes or anything. When they are on the island, some of the crew crack open a Roc's egg because they are starving, but they've only been on the island a few hours. Did they not bring along any food? Have they not been eating on the ship?

Finally, apparently the genie doesn't have the three wish limitation of other famous movie genies, but this doesn't make him as powerful as you'd think. He creates a magical barrier to stop the cyclops at the beginning of the movie, and that's really the only big display of power he has. Sokurah creates a half woman/ half snake creature, shrinks a princess, and reanimates a skeleton. He seems much more powerful than the genie, so one has to wonder why he even needs the lamp.

Come for the Harryhausen, Stay for the Action

At the end of the day though, this movie is a blast. The effects still look good. The action is fun in spite of some strange sound effect choices during the fights. The performances are good and the sets are impressive. If you love fantasy and adventure movies you really need to do yourself a favor and watch The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

© 2022 Gracchus Gruad