Thursday, August 26, 2010

1958 - THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, children's fantasy with some sick stuff thrown in for fun

An acknowledged classic from Ray Harryhausen, his first film in color which was not a film stock he was anxious to work in since he had perfected his technique of merging previously photographed live action with his stop motion animation monster in black and white.

Watching the film last week, a lot of the shots do look a little rough particularly during the famous skeleton fight sequence where Sindbad's action clearly looks like a rear projection screen fighting a more substantial monster. 

Still a good film overall, the monsters look pretty impressive and have lots of that famous personality in their animation that Ray Harryhausen was known for.  The acting is probably what it should be for a children's fantasy film.  Sinbad played by Kerwin Matthews is a classic true blue hero in the traditional sense, the evil magician played by Torin Thacher is just about perfect with just enough larger than life acting without going completely over the top.

The director was Nathan Juran, whose credits were pretty ordinary as he straddled between directing unimpressive films and TV shows throughout his career.  Somehow Juran always managed to crank it up a notch when he worked with Harryhausen, it was like he understood how to integrate the special effects in the Harryhausen films he worked on.

Ray Harryhausen and his producer Charles H. Schneer managed to get the composer Bernard Herrmann to score the film.  Apparently the always very crabby Herrmann watched a very beat up work print of the film on a movieola, not the best condition to see the film.  Herrmann signed on anyway, the film's fantasy aspects must have appealed to him and gave him a chance to indulge himself with some of his unusual musical arrangements.

What jumped out at me on this viewing were the number of sick touches that Harryhausen stuck into the film.  The dance of the Cobra Woman ends up with her own snake tail trying to strangle her.  The Cyclops captures Sinbad's men and cooks them like they were on a rotisserie, a very funny joke since rotisserie grilling was all the rage in 50's suburban households. 

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a very entertaining film in the fantasy genre even after 40 years.

88 minutes.

1 comment:

long live rock 'n' roll said...

From the land beyond beyond...From the world past hope and fear I bid you Genie know appear.