The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
The heroic adventurer Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) is about to marry Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), a union that will bring peace to two warring kingdoms. But the night before the ceremony, the evil magician Sokurah (Torin Thatcher) casts a spell that reduces the lovely Parisa to only a few inches in height, and then tells Sinbad that he must journey to the Island of Colossus and find a shell of the winged Roc in order to restore his betrothed to her previous condition. With little time, the intrepid Sinbad recruits a group of convicts to make the dangerous journey, and if you're wondering what happens after that, suffice it to say that a lot of people are going to die horrible deaths before it's all over. Directed by Nathan Juran with special effects by pioneering stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, the 1958 The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a B-movie delight, with broadly-drawn characters, non-stop action, and the Harryhausen magic that made him a Hollywood legend. While principal photography was done in Spain and London, Harryhausen worked in his Los Angeles studio, solving a number of technical challenges so he could render his "Dynamation" process in color for the first time. The results rank amongst Harryhausen's most memorable creatures, including the two-headed Roc, the fire-breathing dragon, the nasty man-eating Cyclops, and the sword-wielding skeleton who battles with Sinbad to the death. In the midst of it all, the actors chew on the scenery with performances that are worthy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 but enjoyable just the same with a group of friends and enough popcorn to go around. Columbia TriStar's DVD is a valuable special edition, with the film presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the original mono as a Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtrack. The source print is showing some color fading but is still very attractive. The numerous supplements include the 60-minute documentary "The Harryhausen Chronicles" narrated by Leonard Nimoy; a conversation between Harryhausen and John Landis (Ray shows off his original fighting skeleton); a retrospective of Sinbad with Harryhausen collaborators; the short promo reel "This Is Dynamation"; cast notes; and a priceless gallery of trailers from several Harryhausen extravaganzas.