The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Title: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Year Of Release: 1958
Running Time: 88 minutes
DVD Released By: Warner Archive Collection
Directed By: Nathan Juran
Writing Credits: Ken Kolb
Starring: Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, Torin Thatcher
1. See these incredible scenes before your unbelieving eyes!
2. 8th Wonder of the Screen!
Review Date: 1.1.19
Shadow's Title: "The Only Voyage of This White Sinbad"
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Captain Sinbad - The good captain here is the greatest sailor of his age. Just how fantastic is he? He’s the only sailor to navigate his ship from the ocean to a city several hundred miles inland. That’s quite a feat! He’s also brave, handsome, handy with a sword, inspires loyalty in his crew and looks dashing in brightly colored robes. Of course the same could be said of Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise.
Princess Parisa - Her father is the Sultan of Chandra, a rival of the Caliph of Baghdad. To secure peace between the two nations, she is to marry Sinbad. One wonders if her father had any other daughters, maybe ones that were slightly less…ditzy, cuz they might have been better wife material. She gets shrunken in size by Sakurah as part of his plot to get his hands on a magic lamp.
Sakurah the Magician - This guy maintains an underground castle on the island of Colossa and spends all his waking time obsessed with getting his hands on a magic lamp hidden away in the cyclops’ treasure hoard. Every single action he takes in the movie is designed to get him one step closer to his goal and anyone who stands in his way had better watch out because he’s not above getting stabby with sharp objects.
Barani the Genie - Yes, this literal white boy is the genie that resides inside the magic lamp. What, were you expecting a blue, vaporous figure that sounds like Mork from Ork? Barani here longs to be a real boy and sail the seas with Sinbad. In the end, he gets his wish, but I’m sure he’s gonna regret it bigtime when he realizes how bad the food is and how hard the work is going to be.
Harufa - This is Sinbad’s right-hand man. He supports his captain no matter how desperate or dire the situation may be. However, that does not stop this guy from acting the fool on occasion. He easily got sidetracked by the sight of the cyclops’ treasure and as a result, almost ended up as dinner for the monster. He gets to utter the films more comical lines, which automatically makes him the comic relief.
Sadi - This is Parisa’s personal servant. Her main job, aside from seeing to all of the princess’s needs, is to chase away any male that gets any closer than five feet to Parisa. This includes Sinbad, because the princess’s virginity must remain intact until they are wed. It also includes Harufa, but only because he was more interested in cooking and eating Sadi’s pet parrot than getting too close to Parisa.
The Caliph - This is the ruler of “Bagdad” as opposed to the city in modern day Iraq known as Baghdad. For the leader of a powerful nation, he seems like kind of a dork. Probably why he has no kids to marry off in a political alliance. Why else would Sinbad be chosen to secure the treaty with Chandra by marrying Parisa?
The Sultan - This grumpy jerk is Parisa’s father and the leader of the nation of Chandra. He seems to hold a low opinion of “Bagdad” and is only concerned with his daughter’s happiness, though I think he’s secretly annoyed that she is marrying some ship captain rather than a real prince of the realm. When she gets shrunk, he really shows his true colors and promises to destroy the city.
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Things start off with a rousing musical theme from the late, great Bernard Herrmann. This music always got me excited as a young kid, as I knew I was in for a good time. The theme is accompanied by close-ups of a colorful drawing that pretty much gives away half the plot of the entire movie! Seriously, after having watched the film, go back and look at this artwork and you’ll see that it highlights several of the major set pieces. Aside from all the names of people responsible for the movie, we are also told that the movie is “in DYNAMATION the new miracle of the screen.” Ooooookay. In reality, that was just a portmanteau (dynamic + animation) invented by producer Charles H. Schneer as a gimmick to help promote Harryhausen’s technique.
As the action starts, we see a ship adrift on the ocean at night. At the wheel is Captain Sinbad, the whitest Arab I have ever seen. He calls for his second in command, Harufa, to take a depth sounding. This is accomplished by tossing a large rock over the side of the ship with one end of a rope tied around it. The crew are nervous and we learn from their dialog that the ship has run out of food and water and that they are far beyond any known land. The depth turns out to be seven fathoms – rather shallow water. The crew worries that it could be a sunken reef or even a sea serpent! Alas, it is land! Sinbad is the first to spot an island through the mist but soon the lookout confirms it as land.
Sinbad orders his crew to “look alive” and we get a shot from some other movie of a ships’ deck, the crew moving about. We only get that shot for a brief second, but it’s long enough to see that it is a completely different ship than the one we just saw in the opening establishing shot. Sinbad then orders the anchor dropped and says that when morning comes they will venture ashore in search of food and water. Harufa remarks, “And my Allah grant that we find nothing more.” I have the feeling he is in for some major disappointment.
Sinbad goes to the cabin belonging to one of the ship’s important passengers – the Princess Parisa, being conveyed by Sinbad and his crew from her home in Chandra to Baghdad, where she and Sinbad will get hitched. Parisa’s servant, Sadi, opens the door and tries to run the good captain off, but the princess tells her to let Sinbad inside. After all, it wasn’t Sinbad’s fault that strange winds blew them off their course, now is it? That being said, I have to wonder how any of these people expect to get to Baghdad on a ship? Baghdad is landlocked, and is hundreds of miles from the sea! Sinbad tells Parisa of their location and his intent to look for provisions on the island come morning. Then they smooch, awkwardly. Fade out. Usually fade outs in such situations mean boom-boom is imminent but there will be no boom-boom for these two, not with Sadi watching over them like a hawk.
So day comes and the crew ventures ashore, finding loads of various fruits - melons, coconuts, grapes, bananas - with which to fill their tummies and stock their larders. Sinbad, Harufa and a few others venture further inland to fill their waters casks from a spring. Along the way they spy a set of huge tracks in the sand, made by some large bipedal creature with cloven hooves. They follow the tracks and find a cave entrance carved into the side of a cliff and made to resemble a large face, the mouth wide open. Sinbad thinks it to be a remnant of some ancient civilization, but Harufa thinks it has the mark of “Satan himself” and thinks they had better head back to the ship. With that, Harufa just confirmed himself as the film’s resident chickenshit.
Sinbad decides that the cave requires exploring so he tells the others to stay put while he advances. He’s barely taken a few steps when a monstrous roar is heard. A bald man, dressed in black comes running out of the cave, clutching a golden lamp and upon seeing Sinbad and his men, cries for help. Hot on his heels comes a giant cyclops, standing a good fifteen to twenty feet tall. Aside from the single eye, it has a single horn along with pointed ears. From the waist down it is covered in hair and since it is the owner of the giant cloven hooves, it basically looks like a colossal satyr, albeit one with only one eye and one horn.
Everyone hauls ass back toward the shore, the cyclops following. Sinbad and his men throw some spears at it and stab at it with swords. Poor Harufa even gets kicked by a colossal hoof, the force of the blow knocking him into a large boulder. Ouch! Meanwhile, the man dressed in black ducks behind some rocks and begins rubbing the lamp, intoning the now famous words to call forth the genie within:
the land beyond beyond
With a puff of colored smoke, the genie emerges from the lamp. He looks like a ten year old white boy! The man orders him to build a barrier between the cyclops and Sinbad’s group. The genie gives his usual response of “I shall try oh, master…I shall try.” Look kid, we all know what Yoda said about trying, so get your ass in gear. The genie begins cartwheeling down the beach, like he was trying out for the gymnastics team. He transforms into a ball of fire and as he passes between the cyclops and Sinbad’s men, the air shimmers. The Genie then pops back into his lamp.
The shimmering air is some sort of force field-like barrier which physically prevents the cyclops from advancing. It bangs on it with its fists, but cannot pass through it. The man in black races along with Sinbad and his men to the last boat on the shore. They pile in and begin rowing for the ship. Sinbad asks how the monster is being restrained and the man in black (no, NOT Johnny Cash) explains how the genie of the lamp took care of it. When asked why not kill the beast, he explains that the genie cannot be used to perform harm, but in matters of defense, his powers are invincible. We’ll see about that.
Back on shore, the cyclops lifts a huge boulder and then hurls it at the boat. The giant missile passes right through the genie’s barrier and heads right at the boat. Sinbad cries, “look out!” and the boulder hits the water a few feet away. One of Sinbad’s men lets out a girly scream as the boulder splashes into the sea and…floats. Yep, rather than sink straight to the bottom, it looks like that big prop just floated for the split second that we see it. The impact overturns the boat and everyone is thrown into the sea.
The man in black drops the lamp and begins floundering around like…well, like a drowning man. It’s up to Sinbad to save his ass. Apparently, being sunk in water nullifies the genie’s power as the shimmering barrier now dissolves, allowing the cyclops to march out into the surf. Everyone swims to the ship while the cyclops retrieves the lamp from where it was dropped. Sinbad orders the sails hoisted and the ship on a heading for deep water. The man in black just cries over the lost lamp.
Next we see an establishing shot of the ship at sea and again it is not the same ship we saw at the very beginning. Now it looks like something you’d see in a pirate movie set in the 17th or 18th centuries and not something you would have seen Arabs sailing a thousand years earlier. The man in black – who introduces himself as Sakurah the magician – is trying to bribe Sinbad with a shitload of precious gems to turn around and sail back to the island from which they just came…a place named Colossa. Sakurah wants to get the magic lamp. Sinbad is wary, but Sakurah explains that the Cyclopes have no speech and only he knows the incantation that calls forth the genie. He adds that the winds that blew Sinbad’s ship off course have also wrecked numerous other vessels over the years and a huge bounty of treasure has been collected by the cyclopes on the island.
Alas, Sinbad has urgent business elsewhere…like getting Parisa to Baghdad so they can get married…before her father, the Sultan of Chandra decides to go to war. So on one hand you have a gigantic treasure guarded by gigantic monsters. On the other hand you have war averted and getting laid. I’ll let you guess which one Sinbad chooses. Yep. Sakurah isn’t happy and leaves Sinbad’s cabin. He even leaves his gems behind just to show how little he cares about them.
Times passes and now we get an establishing shot of “Bagdad” rather than “Baghdad” (the latter being the correct way to spell the city’s name). This shot looks like it was lifted from another movie entirely. The music swells in a grand theme before softening. Sinbad and Parisa are conveyed to the Caliph’s palace in a covered litter. A bunch of extras in “Arabian” costumes run to greet the returning Sinbad, who is quite the local hero it seems. Then again, maybe they’re just happy that with the safe arrival of Princess Parisa, Chandra’s armies won’t be waking them up in the middle of the night in order to stick swords up their butts.
The Caliph greets them outside the palace like he was some sort of fancy doorman and not the ruler of the entire nation. He is introduced to Parisa and plans are made for a huge wedding in another week’s time, when her father arrives. Meanwhile, the Caliph wants to hear about their journey and the island of one-eyed monsters.
Later the three relax around a pool in an outdoor courtyard area and I’m beginning to think that despite filming this movie in Spain, the producers at least tried to film in locations of Moorish construction. As a kid, I actually thought they filmed this in “Bagdad.” Then again, as a kid I though they actually filmed movies sequentially from beginning to end. Anyway, Parisa is remarking on how beautiful “Bagdad” is compared to her homeland of Chandra. She and Sinbad discuss recent events and bring up Sakurah. The magician frightens the princess and Sinbad notes that the man is driven by his desire for the magic lamp.
Speak of the devil and he shall appear. There is a loud gong just as Sinbad and Parisa are about to kiss and for a split second I was wondering if Chuck Barris was going to come wondering on screen but rather, it is Sakurah who has arrived. He has agreed to perform at a celebration feast. In return he asks for a ship and crew to take him back to his island. The Caliph is not keen on wasting lives but it seems Sakurah has drawn up plans for a huge crossbow to use against the Cyclopes of Colossa. The Caliph asks for Sinbad’s opinion and the good captain informs him that word of their voyage has spread through the city. No one but a madman would set sail for Colossa at this point. Denied again, Sakurah smiles and leaves.
That night at the feast, Parisa’s father arrives and while walking with her, talks about how if anything had happened to her, the people of “Bagdad” would have paid for it with many lives. WTF? What did they do? They didn’t blow Sinbad’s ship off course! Why is he so eager to start killing innocent people? He strikes me as something of an asswipe. Parisa introduces him to the Caliph, but not before imploring her father to be nice. I guess he IS something of an asswipe if his daughter knows enough to tell him to behave.
So Sinbad, Parisa, the Caliph and the Sultan all recline on a dais covered with some really shiny pillows and cushions. Elsewhere Sakurah is preparing for his demonstration and is conferring with Parisa’s servant Sadi, who has agreed to help him. Sakura arrives with a large square basket and a large clay pot about five feet tall. Sadi is helped into this pot by some guards and then Sakurah pulls a poisonous viper from the basket and tosses it into the pot as well. Well, we see somebody’s hands grab a very real snake, but when we see Sakurah tossing it into the pot, it’s obviously a cheap rubber substitute. Seeing this, Parisa becomes worried for Sadi’s safety.
Sakurah then tosses in some magic dust which causes colored smoke to emerge from the pot. Then he takes an axe and after proclaiming “behold!” he uses it to crack open the pot, which despite being hit only once and in one spot, comes apart in three pieces…which then almost instantly vanish into thin air. That was a hell of a trick on its own right there! But there’s more! It seems Sadi has been transformed into a snake lady. From the waist down, she is a huge snake. From the waist up she looks normal, except she now has four arms rather than two…and none of the arms seem to have bones…and she is now quite blue. I’m talking Smurf-blue here. She begins swaying and moving about in some sort of dance, the gathered audience looking on in awe at what they see. Apparently, she cannot control all of her snake parts, as the long tail wraps around her throat and begins to choke her. Her blue face looks panicked and then she lets out a scream just as Sakurah throws more magic dust her way. POOF! Just like that she is back to normal, her original clothing having returned to her body (and thank goodness for THAT).
The Caliph is pleased at the demonstration, so Sakurah asks him again for a ship to return to Colossa, and again he is denied. Sakurah then suggest a further demonstration of his skill is necessary in order to persuade him. The Sultan speaks up now and says that the art of prophecy has always fascinated him. The two leaders agree that they would like to have Sakura look into the future of both their nations. The magician agrees and requests a brazier of live coals.
Once the brazier is set up, Sakurah tosses some magic dust into it and then stares into the coals. When asked what he sees here in “Bagdad” in the future, he is reluctant to say. Finally, they get it out of him. He sees WAR! War between Chandra and “Bagdad”. There will be no wedding between Parisa and Sinbad. Only mourning and lots and lots of death. Sinbad cannot stand it anymore and runs over and pushes Sakurah to the ground. “You have done well, Sinbad,” the Caliph says. For what? Running over and pushing the guy down?! I suppose the Caliph secretly wanted to kick Sakurah in the happy sacks but protocol demanded that he stay put. I guess he had to indulge his wishes vicariously through the good Captain.
Anyway, Sakura says that what he saw was just a possibility. If wished, he could use his magic to disperse the evil forces at work and avert such disaster. The Caliph is not as dumb as he looks and realizes that in return for such an act, the magician would expect payment in form of a ship and crew to take back to Colossa. Seeing the whole “prophecy” shtick as a cheap scheme to get Sakurah what he wants, the Caliph banishes him from “Bagdad”. He has until sunset the following day to leave the city or his eyes will be put out “so he can see no more.” Needless to say, Sakurah stomps off in huff.
Later, when day-for-night has fallen, Sinbad and Parisa take a stroll through the palace gardens, which is just the same location we saw earlier with the big pool, only now it's shot from a different angle. They exchange some small talk and a passionate kiss before she heads off to bed. I take it from their dialog that the wedding is scheduled for the very next day.
Later that night, as the princess sleeps in her room – which is lit up brighter than a 24 hour diner at midnight – Sakurah appears at the door. I don’t k now how he managed to get this close to the princess without someone noticing. Doesn’t she have guards? Well, they need to be fired…which in this case probably involves being divested of both their wages and their heads. Sakurah uses his magic and it causes a big candle on Parisa’s nightstand to emit clouds upon clouds on green smoke. Seriously, there was enough green smoke coming out of this thing to qualify for a bio-weapons terrorist attack. Parisa just sleeps through all this, tossing and turning and then we see her arm outstretched on the bed as it…and in turn she herself…begins to shrink. Sakurah moves on, the sound of a bat nearby. Fade out.
Fade in. It’s morning and the Caliph, the Sultan and Sinbad are walking around discussing the wedding plans. They are outside by that pool again. Gee, they really do like hanging out in that location. It really must be the star attraction of the Caliph’s palace. Either that or it was the only place in Spain the production crew was able to film at. Anyway, as they walk around, a cry can be heard. Sadi comes running up to them. “My lord! My Lord! The Princess,” she says between sobs. Do you think something is wrong with the princess? Sinbad sure thinks so, and takes off running as fast as his silk robes will let him.
Sinbad arrives in Parisa’s room to find her shrunken down to the size of a Star Wars action figure. He is quite surprised, but his reaction is nothing compared to Parisa’s father when he arrives. He wants to know what sorcery has caused this. The Caliph just shakes his head with a bewildered look on his face like he just crapped in his robes or something. The Sultan is not pleased. He states that he would have borne any insult, but having this happen to his dear daughter while under the hospitality and protection of the Caliph and his household is too much. He tells the Caliph to take a good look at his city, “for soon it will be rubble and bleached bone.” It looks like Sakurah was right, there will be no wedding and there will be war between “Bagdad” and Chandra. Of course, the selfish git was the one that manipulated events to this outcome, so I suppose he cannot be given too much credit for predicting the future.
Speaking of that wily magician, Sakurah is even now making his way out of the city. Sinbad hauls ass and stops him, asking him to return and help. Sakurah refuses, citing the Caliph’s decree that he be blinded at sunset if he were still loitering in the city. Sinbad assures him that he will answer to the Caliph on his behalf. Doing a great job at acting unsure, Sakurah finally agrees to return.
Meeting with Sinbad and the Caliph (out by the damn pool again no less), Sakurah says that there is one potion that he can mix that will restore the princess. Alas, he is missing one vital ingredient – a piece of shell from a Roc’s egg. And guess where the Roc lives? You guessed it. Only on the island of Colossa. Sinbad agrees to make the voyage. Sakurah clarifies that Parisa must accompany them, for only in his castle on the island can the potion be used. The Caliph orders a ship provisioned at once and the design for the giant crossbow will be used to construct the weapon. Now they just need a crew. Sinbad knows that the bravest of his former crew will go, but that still won’t be enough. He has an idea, though. To find a crew, he’ll recruit those desperate men in the Caliph’s prison who are each awaiting their own special moment with the headsman and his ax.
So Sinbad heads to the prison yard and yells out at the prisoners that he has an offer of freedom. He expresses his desire for a crew to sail to Colossa, but word has definitely gotten around and the gathered prisoners just laugh at the notion. Thieves and murders they may be as one puts it, but they are not fools. A full pardon from being hanged or face the possibility of ending up on the dinner menu for some giant monster? Tough call!
One guy defiantly claims that “They’ll not put a rope around Golar’s neck! He’ll spit in the Cyclops’ eye first!” That’s a pretty heavy claim, but it seems this Golar dude readily agrees. “That’s right!” he snarls and leads the charge to sign up as crew. Soon they all want to sign up. It’s rather puzzling, because a few seconds ago they were laughing at Sinbad’s offer. Now they’re all falling over each other to sign up. I suppose they figure that they can always jump ship at some point and avoid the gallows as well as a trip to Colossa.
So now we see Sinbad’s ship at sea. Again it is portrayed by stock footage lifted from another film and looks truly massive. I count at least ten sails on that thing. When we see a close-up of the deck, there is just no way that it could be the same ship. The vessel seen in the stock shot has at least three masts, but the actual ship utilized for filming seems to only have one.
The giant crossbow constructed for this voyage is taking up all the spare room in the hold, so Sinbad orders the giant arrow lashed to the mast. As some of the “crew” carry it, they let it slip and fall to the deck. Harufa chastises them, telling them to be careful as they may need the weapon to fight for their lives. The “crew”, which of course is just a bunch of criminals, aren’t happy about their plight. They soon begin plotting to take the ship and feed Sinbad and his loyal men to the fish. Sakurah overhears some of this talk as he passes by, but shows no outward sign of having heard anything.
In his cabin, Sinbad removes from a chest a small jeweled box shaped like a tiny outhouse. Inside is Parisa in all her Barbie-proportion glory. I suppose this is the vessel the palace jeweler constructed to help ferry the princess around. While the inside is filled with tiny, soft-looking cushions, it still must suck being stuck inside something no bigger than a phone booth for most of the day. Sinbad places the container on his desk and Parisa emerges from within, stretching as she walks about. Every muscle in her tiny body must be kinked up something fierce after being cooped up in that thing for who knows how long. The two talk a bit about nothing important.
Sakurah stops by the Captain’s cabin to warn him about the dangerous mutterings he has heard from the crew over the last week. Sinbad meets him at the door and assures him that all weapons have been locked up and without them, any rebellious crew can do nothing. Sinbad then closes his door. Sakurah walks away.
Alas, up on deck the malcontents have begun to enact their plan and are disposing of the loyal crew members. Sinbad hears something that tips him off and quickly has Parisa run back into her little box. He places the box back in a chest and then goes to see who is now knocking at his cabin door, He opens the door and POW, a rebel crewman sucker punches him. It’s not just any crewman, but that Golar dude who was going to spit in the cyclops’ eye!
So the lamest fit sequence now unfolds. After some truly pathetic punches on both their parts, Sinbad knocks out Golar, but another guy comes crashing into the cabin from the deck above via a window. Sinbad knocks him out, too. Then a third guy arrives with a sword. Sinbad grabs his own cutlery – which was conveniently lying nearby – and quickly sinks it deep in his opponent’s guts. Golar now rouses himself and throws a box at the Captain, knocking his sword out of his hand. It’s back to being fist fight! Sinbad quickly grabs Parisa’s small container and tucks it into his belt, then runs up on deck and starts laying out mutineers left and right. With a whole bunch of guys now after him, he climbs the rigging up to the yardarm where he trades blows with one, sending the poor shmuck falling to the deck below. Anyway, after more fighting, during which Sinbad and Harufa seem to be winning, the captain surrenders when the lead mutineer threatens Sakurah with a knife. After all, No Sakurah = Doll Sized Parisa For Life.
Sakurah’s cloak is taken as their new flag and the crew agree that death should be a fitting punishment for Sinbad and his men. They will die at dawn. Why not right now? Why wait until the next morning? It seems extremely inefficient to me. Of course, if Sinbad, Sakurah and Harufa were all thrown overboard right now, it would make for a short, tragic film. As he is being taken away, Sakurah warns the mutineers that they are doomed and that before dawn, they will plead in terror for Sinbad’s group to help them. Naturally, the mutineers just laugh at this. Sinbad’s group is led away and the ship’s new management makes plans to circle back to the trade routes.
In the forward hold we see Sinbad, Sakurah and Harufa locked in small wooden cell. That’s it? Harufa was the only man loyal to the captain? Wow. Sakurah explains now that wind and currents will drive the ship Southward. South of Colossa is an accursed island inhabited by “wailing demons” which one must assume to be the location where opera was invented. The screams from these demons drive men mad, who then drive their ships onto the jagged rocks and are then in turn devoured by local sea serpents. LOVELY. Sinbad comes up with the idea to use candle wax and cloth to plug their ears. Great, that solves one problem, but as Harufa points out, they will still be eaten by sea monsters.
So night comes and along with it, a bad storm. Did you really expect it to be smooth sailing? The ship is being tossed around like a model ship in a bathtub. Wait! I think that IS a model ship in a bathtub! The wind and rain has torn the sails to shreds and the ship is floundering all over the place. On deck, most of the crew are clutching hands to their ears in a desperate attempt at blocking the screams from the “wailing demons.” It sounds more like a high pitched squeal to me. Most of the crew are screaming in return and are near incapacitated.
The lead mutineer (I have no idea what his name is) tells the slob at the wheel to change course. “We’ll be wrecked on the rocks!” the man screams back. It’s funny because the dialog in no way syncs up with his lip movements. On a side note, back in 1987, some friends and I watched this film (I had of course, seen it multiple times by then) and had a laugh at this part. “We’ll be wrecked on the rocks” quickly became our catchphrase and since we were all avid surfers and spent many days traveling up and down the California coastline looking for and trying out new surfing locations, this saying got used a lot that summer.
The lead mutineer grabs the wheel, turns it several times and then pushes the other guy back at it, telling him to hold this course or he will die. He then calls up to the lookout, but the poor bastard up there is covering his ears and screaming along with everyone else. Well, everyone except the lead mutineer. For some reason that remains unexplained, the wailing demons don’t seem to affect him. I can only assume that he has heard such shrill and annoying vocalizations so much before, that he has become immune to them. I must conclude that this is evidence that he was or may still be, married.
So he now climbs up to the lookout, grabs the hand held spyglass/telescope from the lookout and then beats the guy to death with it! As he climbs back down he screams out, “Has the whole ship gone mad?” He then loses his grip and falls to the deck, presumably to go splat. Swab that, sucker! Meanwhile, some other guy has had enough of it all and rushes to release Sinbad and company, imploring the captain to save them. Sakurah claims there is a narrow channel through the rocks. They rush onto the deck and Sinbad takes the wheel from a completely different guy than the one who we saw earlier. It should be noted that this entire “storm” sequence appears to have been shot via day-for-night photography on a perfectly clear day. Overlay the sounds of wind and thunder, and have stagehands continuously tossing buckets of water at the actors and voila, instant storm. Fade out.
Fade in. We see a shot of the island of Colossa. Then we see that stone face carved into the cliff side over the cave entrance that we saw at the beginning. On the beach the crew begins to assemble the giant crossbow. So I guess everyone survived the wailing demons and sea serpents. After that last fade out, I was almost afraid that they all died and the film was over. One thing I would like to ask: how DID they survive the wailing demons and sea serpents? I would really like to have seen that whole segment properly concluded. I guess it just wasn’t in the budget.
Sinbad leaves Harufa behind to supervise the construction of the giant crossbow. Then he and Sakurah lead a group of men through the cave opening. They emerge into a long narrow valley and descend some stairs to the valley floor. Sakurah explains that this valley is where the cyclopes live and at the center of the island are the peaks where the giant Roc birds nest. Sakurah suggests splitting into two groups and meeting at the far end of the valley at sunset. His reasoning being that if one group is captured by a cyclops, the other group can attempt to free them. Sinbad doesn’t look happy about the idea, but leads three of the men along a stream into the depths of the island. Sakurah leads the other three men in another direction. I’m not sure how these two groups are going to meet up later when they are travelling in different directions. Unbeknownst to all of them is the fact that Harufa has secretly followed them, and is trailing Sinbad’s group.
Sakurah leads his group to a small, dark-colored stream and announces they will rest there until nightfall. Golar takes a big swig from their water jug, but Sakurah admonishes him to not drink too much. One of the other guys doesn’t understand, saying that they can fill the water from the stream. “That’s right,” Golar says. In fact, that’s all Golar ever says. Sakurah explains that the water is poison and any man who drinks it will be dead within a moment of letting it touch his lips. So Sakurah and the four others settle in to wait. Wait a minute! FOUR? Earlier there were only three guys with Sakurah! Where did that fourth guy come from? Did he just wander in and join the group?
Meanwhile, Sinbad’s group seems to have climbed higher up into the hills as they’ve travelled. They come upon a huge spiked club lying on a boulder, no doubt left behind by one of the Cyclopes. Next we see Harufa walking alone nearby and examining a human skeleton hanging in a wooden cage. He then finds another spiked club. Sinbad tells the three guys with him to remain at the location of the first club while he scouts around. Who should he come across? Yup, Harufa, who he manages to startle by coming up behind him. Harufa assures him that the crossbow is in good hands. Sinbad wants to return to where the others are at, but when they do, the other three men are nowhere to be seen.
The two begin scampering around trying to find the three guys who were standing there just a couple of minutes ago. Harufa calls to Sinbad and leads him into a narrow cleft between the rocks. This opens up into a small cavern absolutely crammed with treasure. Gems, gold coins and all sorts of fancy jewelry and gold items abound. The other three guys have already found the place and are busy filling their pockets and singing and dancing like drunken fools. Sinbad is not happy. He feels the time for gathering riches will be AFTER the princess is attended to. He orders everyone out and even Harufa seems so entranced by all the gold and gems that he doesn’t seem to listen. Sinbad grabs one of the other guys and tells him that if he doesn’t get his ass moving, Sinbad will run him through with his sword. A fight erupts between the three men and Sinbad, who is backed up by Harufa. Apparently the latter stopped dreaming about gold long enough to realize where his allegiance lies.
As they scuffle there can be heard a loud scraping sound. Surprise, surprise, surprise! The entire colossal rock compromising the roof is lifted away by a cyclops, who is none too happy to find a bunch of smelly little humans in his treasure chamber. The cyclops reaches in and despite their attempts at hiding in the small space, he manages to pull each man out and deposit him in a wooden cage that opens and closes at the top. Each guy, with the exception of brave captain Sinbad, screams and cries like a baby as he is grabbed by the monster and extracted from the cavern. Then again, maybe the cyclops was squeezing them a bit too much as he handled them.
Hearing all the commotion, Sakurah leaves his men by the river and goes to investigate by himself. He sees the cyclops pick up the cage with the five captured men and carry it over to a fire pit with a large roasting spit built over it. The cyclops puts down the cage and then pulls one poor bastard from within – in this case, Harufa – and advances toward the spit. It’s lunch time!
Back down by the colored stream, the four guys left behind by Sakurah are arguing whether they should heed the magician’s advice. One guy argues that they dare not disobey Sakurah because of his strange powers. Another guy proclaims that Golar would dare. “That’s right!” Golar says. Then again, that’s all Golar ever says. One guy fills their waterskin with the red-colored water from the stream and then hands it to Golar. Golar pours some into the palm of his hand and sips it carefully. Two more sips follow and then he tilts back his head and takes a huge swig from the waterskin. He then pulls one of the other guys close and pours the contents of the waterskin into his face. The guy sputters for a moment and then says “Hey! That’s good! Tastes like choice wine!” And with that, all four of them are down on their knees splashing the wine-water into their faces with all the glee of an eight-year old at Disneyland.
Back up above, the Cyclops has tied poor Harufa to the spit and is slowly turning him over a fire, even licking his lips at the prospects of roasted human for dinner. Harufa continues to cry for help, imploring Sinbad to save him. Alas, unless he thinks the good captain can squeeze between the bars of his cage or magically phase through them, Sinbad won’t be helping anyone. Try as he might, Sinbad cannot reach the latch atop the cage that will open the door. Luckily, along comes Sakurah. He can open it! Uh…nope. He just shakes his head at Sinbad when the captain tells him to do just that and then moves on.
The others look devastated at Sakurah’s lack of help, but Sinbad says that they will escape, but they must not ever reveal what they are about to see. “Anything! Save us!” they all say. So Sinbad pulls out Parisa’s little jeweled case and shows her to the others. Using his hand he places her atop the cage and asks her to push open the latch. She tries, but at first she cannot budge it. She tries again and this time takes cover when the cyclops stalks by, drawn to his treasure cave by all the racket Sakurah is making in his desperate attempts at finding the magic lamp. He finds it just as Parisa succeeds in opening the latch. I sure hope she got her tiny ass out of the way because as soon as the latch was open, Sinbad throws open the hatch. If she was standing directly on top of the hatch itself, she would have gone flying through the air like a GI Joe figure launched via a slingshot.
Sakurah’s group has gotten good and drunk off the wine-water stream and now boldly – and quite loudly - come marching up to help, just as Sinbad is freeing Harufa from the cooking spit. Sakurah, lamp in hand, is fleeing from the cyclops and runs into Sinbad’s group. He drops the lamp, but before he can grab it again, Sinbad pulls him away to hide in a cleft between two rock formations. Meanwhile, the drunk guys throw a spear or two at the cyclops and then realizing that they are severely overmatched, decide to flee. Really pissed off now, the cyclops uproots a dead tree and uses it to smash three of the guys into paste, including motormouth Golar.
While this is going on, Sinbad runs out and retrieves the magic lamp along with a long, burning piece of wood from Harufa’s cook fire. Seeing this, the cyclops pursues him back to the cleft. It reaches in, but cannot grab Sinbad or Sakurah. When it gets up close to look in, Sinbad thrusts out the end of the burning wood and blinds the one-eyed beast. With the cyclops unable to see, Sinbad finishes freeing Harufa, but Sakurah is still trapped between the rocks. The monster might be blind, but it keeps reaching out to grab anyone who might be there. So Sinbad runs up behind the Cyclops and sticks the burning end of the torch right in what appears to be its butt. OUCH. This gets the monster to turn around and by calling out to it, Sinbad lures it to the cliff’s edge where it loses its balance and plunges into the depths below. One last shot shows it lying dead at the bottom of the gorge, its body partly sunk in the red wine-water stream.
All the survivor’s now gather, but Sakurah says the danger is far from over as there are more cyclopes are about. Since he alone knows the words that call forth the genie from the magic lamp, he should be the one to carry it. However, Sinbad does not trust him, after his refusal to free them from the cyclops’ cage, so he intends on keeping the lamp for the time being.
Okay, we need to stop for a minute and talk about numbers. When Sinbad and Sakurah first lead their respective groups in two different directions, each had three men with them, so each group totaled 4 men. Then when Sakurah’s group rests at the stream, he has four men with him, so now his group totals five. Harufa secretly follows Sinbad’s group and joins them, so that group then totaled five. So we have a grand total of ten guys. Now, when the cyclops started smashing men with that dead tree, three guys in total got the fatal squish treatment. Logically, that would mean there are now seven remaining. WRONG. We now see Sinbad, Sakurah, Harufa and three other guys cautiously navigating a narrow trail up a cliff face. Now there are only Six! Where did that seventh guy go? In all the commotion with the cyclops, he may have just run off and decided his best interests lay back at the ship. I wonder if it was the same mystery man who joined Sakurah’s group without anyone noticing. I suppose in the end it does not really matter.
So the group of six is climbing into the mountains to locate a Roc’s nest. At one point, one poor guy carrying a spear tries to pass it off to the guy in front of him. That guy grabs hold of it, turns away and begins pulling on the spear. This causes the first guy to lose his balance and plunge to his death, screaming into the depths below. “Poor Rahan,” the one guy says. Are you shitting me? “Poor Rahan” just fell to his death because you carelessly knocked him off balance, you ass! This guy shows no guilt whatsoever in the part he just played in “Poor Rahan’s” death.
Now Sinbad shakes his head and says, “Allah knows many ways of dealing with hungry men.” What in the hell is that supposed to mean? Didn’t these fools bring provisions with them? Apparently not. That’s a sign of some piss poor planning. However, this can only be one day after their tussle with the cyclops. People don’t starve to death in just 24 hours. Sure, many a teenager might try arguing the point, but it just doesn’t happen, so these guys might be hungry, but they have not reached the desperate starvation stage yet. Still, “Allah” must have looked at this small group of hungry men and decided that in order to remove “Poor Rahan’s” hunger pains, it was best to just remove “Poor Rahan’s” life. At least, that’s the way Sinbad makes it sound.
They now throw “Poor Rahan’s” spear over the side to join him at the bottom. How stupid is that? They might need an extra weapon in the immediate future. “Poor Rahan” sure as hell has no use for it now. They might as well have kept it. See? Piss poor planning. To make the whole scene even more baffling is the fact that it was shot in two very different locations. One location is a narrow trail that winds up a rocky cliff face, with the mountain right at the party’s backs. The other location was shot from below, but it shows a wide open plateau without the slight hint of a rock face behind the actors. Anyway, now the group is down to just five guys.
The group moves on and in due time comes across a nest with a giant egg in it. This thing is big, like the size of a Volkswagen beetle. Walking up to it, Sinbad can hear a faint scratching sound from within. “There’s something moving inside,” he says. No shit, Sherlock. It’s an egg, you moron, what do you think is inside? Sakurah suggest climbing further up and locating an egg that has already hatched. Sinbad, Sakurah and Harufa move on, but the other two guys wait by the egg, muttering about how tired and hungry they are. One guy produces an axe and declares that they should break open the egg. So they start beating at the egg, which draws the attention of the others.
The egg starts to hatch at this point and what emerges is a giant two-headed Roc chick, not to be confused with a Rock Chick. The two guys quickly go about killing the newly hatched bird, much to Sakurah’s disgust. Even now I find it sad that the poor chick only lived for a few seconds before these two smelly humans started sticking spears into it. Sakurah tells Sinbad that he should not have let the men do that. Sinbad reminds him that “hungry men don’t ask. They take.” Again, who planned out this little adventure, because whoever it was needs a swift kick in the ass for not thinking of bringing along some more food and water. Anyway, Sinbad breaks off a piece of shell from the egg and extends it toward Sakurah, telling him to mix his potion without any further delay. The magician, just pushes it aside and says that it has to be combined with other components that can only be found in his castle at the foot of the mountain. Sinbad realizes that is near cyclops territory and wonders what protects Sakurah’s castle. “you will see, when we get there,” the magician says.
Later we see a giant drumstick roasting over a fire. Even Harufa looks happy at the prospect of food. Has he forgotten that it was just a day earlier that he was the one lashed to a spit and slowly being turned over the flames so as to fill a hungry cyclops belly? Is no one worried about mama bird coming to check on her unhatched egg? I guess not.
Not far away, Sinbad has set Parisa’s container down near the lamp and is talking with his tiny fiancé. Sinbad admits to her that he doesn’t trust Sakurah and that the only hold they have over him is the magic lamp, and even then, only Sakurah knows how to use it. Parisa suggests that she enter the lamp and try and earn the genie’s trust. Sinbad agrees, so she sits down on the lip of the lamp’s opening and slide down into it like it was some carnival ride.
The inside of the lamp is quite bare and dull. I hope you were not expecting to see the genie relaxing on a grand couch and eating sweet treats. No, the inside is empty and filled with mist. The only thing to be seen is a column in the center that stands less than six feet tall and has mist pouring out of the top. A voice welcomes her by name and she turns to see the genie, who as noted earlier, looks like a ten-year old white boy. After much talking, the genie – whose name is Barani – reveals that he yearns to be free from his enslavement and dreams of sailing the seas with captain Sinbad. He shows Parisa an inscription on one of the walls the promises his freedom someday.
the big that is small
Theorizing that the mention of the “big that is small” might be referring to her and her present condition, Parisa strikes a bargain with the genie. She will do what she can to help him gain his freedom and in return he must reveal to her the words that call him forth from the lamp. At first he is somewhat reluctant, but eventually agrees. He tells her the words and she repeats them. A quick scene change then shows her back outside the lamp, repeating the words to Sinbad, who says them in turn. Armed with that knowledge, Sinbad promises Parisa that they will do what they can to honor the promise she made to help Barani.
Alas, right now THEY are the ones in need of help. A roar can be heard in the distance. Parisa quickly skedaddles back into her box, but before Sinbad can secure it, a giant two-headed Roc begins to attack the men over by the cooking spit. I told you mama bird was gonna be pissed when she found her baby roasting on an open fire. Sinbad rushes to help, grabbing his sword and the magic lamp, but not Parisa’s box. One guy steps up onto a large boulder, but the Roc pecks at him, knocking him off the back side. Apparently it’s a sheer drop on that side as the guy then screams as he falls to his death. Another guy jumps up onto the same location to and suffers the exact same fate. So with that, the group is now down to three (four if you include the tiny princess).
Sinbad and Harufa are busy swinging their swords at the Roc, trying to fend it off. While doing so, Sinbad rubs the lamp and begins reciting the words he just learned. However, before he can complete the phrase he falls backwards and the lamp flies from his hand. It lands where Sakurah can see it. He’s been standing back away from the commotion this entire time, but when he sees the lamp, he rushes to retrieve it. Seeing this, Sinbad yells for Harufa to grab the lamp. Harufa dives for it, but Sakurah stops him. A struggle between the two now ensues, during which Harufa is able to grab the lamp and toss back towards Sinbad. Sakurah then cold cocks Harufa and while he is momentarily stunned, grabs a nearby spear and plunges it into Harufa’s chest. There is a short scream to mark Harufa’s demise.
Meanwhile, Sinbad has managed to grab the lamp, but just as he does so, the Roc grabs him with its talons and flies away with him. Parisa, who for some unknown reason defying good sense, has exited her box and sees this. The Roc flies to the very top of the mountain and drops Sinbad into a big nest that rests atop the highest peak. Somehow the short falls has caused Sinbad to pass out. Maybe it’s the altitude. Parisa looks horrified by this, but she has bigger problems to worry about. MUCH BIGGER problems, as Sakurah spies her. He walks up to her, bends down and closes his hand around her in what can only be described as a Parisa-cam shot.
Sometime later Sinbad awakens in the Roc nest. The light is about the same so he was probably out for just a few minutes. Lucky for him the giant Roc is nowhere to be seen. The nest contains some broken eggshell, attesting to the recent hatching of a baby Roc, but no infant bird can be seen. There seems to be a second whole egg yet to hatch, but the good captain is not sticking around long enough to see what emerges from it. He begins climbing down the mountains, sword and magic lamp in hand. Oddly enough, from his vantage point, we can see a fair bit of the island and low and behold…there’s a road in the distance! I thought this was some forsaken island that men did not dare set foot upon? Who made that road? Of course, it’s just due to the producers getting sloppy with their location shots.
So Sinbad makes his way back down to where they were camped out earlier, finding the dead Harufa sprawled out on the ground. Sinbad pulls the spear from his chest and says a silent farewell to his loyal crewman. He then calls out to Parisa and Sakurah, but there is no answer. The princess is not in her little jeweled box, so Sinbad decides to find out where they have gone. He of course uses the era’s equivalent of the internet – the magic lamp. He utters the words that call forth the genie and Barani appears and informs him that Parisa is Sakurah’s prisoner in his underground castle, entry to which can be found at the foot of the mountain trail. “I will meet you there,” says Barani and then fades away.
“I’ll meet you there?” Oh, hell naw. I don’t know about you, but I’d be rubbing that damn lamp again faster than you can say abracadabra and telling that lazy genie to find a way to get me to the bottom of the mountain without me needing to climb that entire way down. Sheesh. What good is a magic lamp if you don’t use it to save some time?
So, after what was probably hours of climbing, Sinbad reaches the bottom. Here in this section of the valley of the cyclops, he finds a cave opening and wastes no time in entering it. Inside is one of those famous Hollywood caves. You know the type: lots of stalactites, stalagmites and enough ambient light – despite the subterranean locale - to illuminate the Superbowl.
He starts wandering around when suddenly WATCH OUT! A gout of flame nearly roasts him alive. It seems the way is blocked by a huge dragon, albeit one chained to the wall. Nearby is a large wooden wheel. Barani now appears and tells Sinbad to turn the wheel. Doing so, pulls the dragon’s chain close to the wall, thus forcing the dragon to step out of the way. Barani explains that once past the dragon, there is another wheel to loosen the chain, allowing the beast to guard the entrance. I am left wondering a few things, like what does the dragon eat? Who gets to feed it? What happens to the colossal dragon turds? Who has the sad job of cleaning that up? Sheesh, you thought dog poop on the lawn was bad. Imagine dragon poop!
Once past the dragon, Sinbad calls out to Sakurah and Parisa again. Sakurah, standing outside the door to his castle, hears this and then returns inside, slamming the door. Sinbad hears the door slam and starts exploring further.
Inside his castle, Sakurah shows tiny Parisa an image in a crystal ball of Sinbad crossing a chasm via a stone bridge. The captain eventually spies the magician’s castle, which seems to be built directly into the side of massive cavern wall. He makes his way inside and seeing that Parisa is unharmed, demands that Sakurah restore her size at once. The magician agrees to do so..in exchange for the magic lamp. Sinbad just holds his sword to Sakurah’s neck and reiterates, “at once!”
Sakurah says the potion is already prepared and has Sinbad place the princess in a large sarcophagus. She promptly lies down within. Then Sakurah throws some components into a bowl, causing a lot of dark, nauseating smoke to erupt from it. Something similar happened when my sister tried to make breakfast when we were kids. Sinbad then gives the eggshell to Sakurah, who mixes it in with the potion. The magician then places the entire bowl within the sarcophagus – at the opposite end where Parisa is located – and closes the lid. He waves his hands around some and all sorts of strange colored smoke pours out of the sarcophagus. Good thing this place has no smoke detector, otherwise the thing would be chirping away like a parakeet on crack by this time.
Lifting the lid, Sakurah reveals a full size person lying there under a veil. He removes the veil and we see that it is Parisa, now fully restored to her normal size. Well, at least as far as the size of the sarcophagus will allow. We see that she fills the container with her head touching one end and her feet the other. It would be a shame if she ended up an inch or two shorter that before simply because the sarcophagus wasn’t long enough to accommodate her true height. I just want to know where that veil came from? She wasn’t wearing it when she got inside. A more important question is where did that sizable bowl containing the potion vanish to? Was part of the magic the transfiguration of the bowl into a veil?
So Parisa opens her eyes and Sinbad helps her to her feet. The two embrace, but Sakurah is insistent about the lamp. Sinbad tells him that he will have it when he and the princess are safely back at the ship. Sakurah agrees. The three head toward the exit, but Sakurah gestures at a skeleton hanging nearby which promptly drops down its feet. The magician gestures with his hands, causing the skeleton to walk around, then he gives it a deadly look and commands it to kill Sinbad.
The skeleton grabs a sword and shield from close by and the fight is on! Sinbad and the skeleton pretty much make a mess of the place as they battle back and forth. There is some great choreography between actor Kerwin Matthews and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion model. Eventually the two fight their way out of the castle and into the caverns, both having lost their shields during the fight.. There they make their way up a circular staircase that ascends around a column. At the top there is nothing, the stairs just end. Sinbad manages to knock the skeleton’s sword from its grasp and push it over the edge. It crashes to the cavern floor and flies apart, a threat no more.
Sakurah is not happy, and rushes to get back inside his castle, He stops to grab Parisa, but Sinbad throws his sword from his vantage point and the weapon pins Sakurah’s sleeve to the door. He lets go of the princess and his robe ripping, rushes inside and slams the door. Sinbad wastes no time in grabbing Parisa and rushing for the exit. Sakurah tracks their progress in his crystal ball. When the pair comes to that chasm and stone bridge, Sakurah smashes the crystal ball, which in turn causes the bridge to collapse before Sinbad and Parisa can escape. Oh, crap! WHAT ever will they do now?
They grab the rope and swing across the chasm. Below is a fiery river of molten rock, not unlike what Frodo and Sam encountered at the heart of Mt. Doom. Remembering the inscription inside the bottle about falling into fiery rock, Parisa says that to keep her promise to Barani, they must throw the lamp into the lava. There is a chance that without the genie’s help, she and Sinbad may never reach the ship alive. Conversely, the fall into the lava may kill the genie. Sinbad thinks that her promise must be kept, so he hands her the lamp and she tosses it into the lava. Nearby, Sakurah is spying on them and nearly has a coronary when he sees the lamp fall and then sink into the lava, never to be seen again. He does not look happy.
Sinbad and Parisa reach the part where the dragon is chained up. He turns the one wheel that retracts the beast’s chain. Then he and the princess make their way past the monster. They don’t bother to turn the second wheel, loosening the dragon’s chain, but just haul ass for the cave entrance. They have barely stepped back out into the sunlight when there is another monstrous roar. It’s another cyclops! They turn and run back into the cave, the monster following them. They are forced to retreat back past the dragon’s chamber. Sinbad severs one of the ropes attached to the closest wheel. This loosens the dragon’s chain to the point where it is able to break free. It immediately charges forth to battle the cyclops.
The two monsters take their epic battle outside. While they fight, Sinbad and Parisa are able to run past. They begin hauling ass down the valley to the stairs that lead back toward the beach. The dragon manages to kill the cyclops right about the time that Sakurah emerges from the cave. The magician commands the dragon to follow and the two take off in pursuit of Sinbad and Parisa.
At the beach, all the guys left behind are sitting around when the captain and the princess come barreling through that big cave opening shaped like a face. Sinbad has a guy named Ali take Parisa to the longboat while all the other men are to man the giant crossbow. The gang rush to the rear of the contraption – which luckily enough, is pointed at the cave entrance – and begin pulling on a pair of ropes. This in turn pulls back the giant bolt positioned atop the weapon. Sinbad jumps up on top and yells at everyone to pull for their lives.
Sakurah and the dragon emerge from the cave and Sinbad cuts the rope, sending the giant bolt plunging into the monster’s chest. It lets out a horrid, high pitch scream of agony, rears up on its hind legs and then collapses onto Sakurah, squishing the magician into a fleshy bag of broken bones. The beast is not quite dead and picks itself up to come after the others, who sensibly enough waste no time in running like hell to a pair of longboats, hopping inside and start paddling like mad for the ship anchored offshore. They watch as the dragon stumbles to the shoreline and dies. Fade out.
Fade in. Again, we get a shot of a ship that had to be lifted from another movie, because it in no way matches the ship deck we have seen earlier. On board, Sinbad and Parisa look back on the island of Colossa as they leave it behind. She says that she will miss Harufa and will never forget their little friend Barani.
Speak the devil’s name and he shall appear. Then little bastard swings onto deck out of nowhere and announces that he is no longer a genie, but Sinbad’s new cabin boy. Oh, yeah? Then why is he still dressed like a freakin’ genie? And I can’t help but think of this dirty limerick when he said he was the cabin boy:
cabin boy, the cabin boy
Hopefully Sinbad is more worried about getting it on with the princess than molesting former genies. He tells Barani that as his cabin boy, he must prepare his cabin for a feast of celebration. Barani says that he already has and then takes the wheel from Sinbad so that the captain the and the princess can investigate. Low and behold, the cabin is overflowing with riches. Why it’s the treasure of the cyclops, put on board by Barani as a wedding present for the pair. “Well done, Barani,” says Sinbad. ‘I know you will be as good a sailor as you were a genie.”
smiles and replies, “I shall try, Captain. I shall try.”
Sinbad and Parisa smile. Cue the music. We get one last shot of the
stock footage ship as it sails away from us. THE END. We can only hope
they get back to “Bagdad” before Parisa’s father has
Chandra’s armies overrun the place, burning the city to the ground
and putting the population to the sword. Nobody will be smiling much
in that case.
Once the quest is underway, the film is basically a series of set pieces, each highlighting a new danger for the heroes (or in this case hero, as the film really centers on Sinbad alone, with the others just used as glorified set dressing) to overcome. In most cases, these dangers take the form of an animated creature from Ray Harryhausen and this is where the film really shines. In earlier films, Harryhausen was only able to focus on a single monster, but using myths from various historical ages as a backdrop in subsequent films, he was able to offer a broader spectrum of creatures in each movie. This elevates the film from a standard creature feature to something more grand and epic, something to be experienced rather than just viewed.
In Sakurah we have our film’s villain and in the case of all great villains, Sakurah does not see himself as such. Indeed, it could be said that he sees himself as the hero of his own story, plagued by this annoying ship captain who seems bound and determined to constantly get in his way and prevent him from obtaining what he desires. In this case, what Sakurah wants is the magic lamp and he is so focused on this goal, that he is blind to nearly all else. Anyone or anything that stands between him and his goal will be pushed aside – violently and fatally if need be – and anything that does not affect his attempts at obtaining the lamp are not worthy of his consideration. Because of this single-minded drive, one can almost feel pity for him when he meets his ultimate fate, sad at a life seemingly misspent and wasted. Then again, one might be happy to see the destiny that befalls…or more to the point, falls on…him.
Now we come to Princess Parisa and what I consider the nadir of the film. It’s not just that actress Kathryn Grant plays her like some wide-eyed, flirty teenage girl, but the character just comes off as so vapid, annoying and tedious that one is forced to wonder just what in the hell Sinbad sees in her, aside from a quick way to keep “Bagdad” from being burned to the ground. Part of me thinks that if it wasn’t for the threat of war on the part of her father, the Sultan of Chandra, then Sinbad and the Caliph of “Bagdad” might have just shrugged their shoulders and moved on with life when Sakurah shrunk Parisa down to the size of an action figure. Of course, that was never going to happen and for some unfathomable reason, Sinbad loves Parisa and sets out on his quest to restore her size.
Finally, we come to Harufa. He doesn’t play a huge part, but does have a crucial role in supporting Sinbad. Harufa is portrayed as brave and loyal, but with a wariness that almost borders on cowardice. If this was another film, he would definitely fill the role of odious comic relief. At least here, despite a few chickenshit moments here and there, he still comes across as brave, although he isn’t above losing sight of the ultimate goal and getting lost in the idea of loading up on treasure when the opportunity presents itself.
As for the FX, well there is a reason that these films are remembered as Ray Harryhausen films and not associating them with any of the actors. Yep, that reason is his stop-motion model work that brings all the fantastic creatures to life. In an age long before CGI was loosened upon the world (for better or for worse), Harryhausen found a way to bring larger than life monsters to the screen and have them interact believably with the human cast. And it wasn’t just having them move around that made them so fascinating, but it was also all the small, subtle things he would have them do that really brought them to life. From licking of lips, to wide-eyed expressions of surprise and pain to the shifting of weight from leg to leg, these creatures showed that they lived, breathed and existed as much as the people surrounding them.
1. What the hell is with Sinbad’s ship? If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was a Tardis with its chameleon circuit randomly set to different shapes. Just look at these screen caps. There is no way that is the same ship. In truth, it’s just the producers utilizing stock footage, but to the keen eyed viewer, it gives the impression that Sinbad’s ship has some quirky facets to its design.
2. Here’s something I noticed. In the first image we see Barani the genie for the very first time in the movie, when Sakurah calls him forth from his lamp when pursued by the cyclops and right after encountering Sinbad and his men on the beach. Now, look at the second image. This is Barani when Sinbad calls him from the lamp near the end of the movie when the good captain is high in the mountain peaks. It’s the same background rocks! I suppose the producers thought no one was going to notice. Then again, it those bygone days, people usually only saw a movie in the theater once and then maybe a time or two again on TV. No one could have foreseen the home video boom and the ability to scrutinize these movies in the smallest detail.
3. Finally, we have to talk about the size of the first cyclops we see. When Sakurah first comes barreling out of the cave onto the beach, we see his approximate height in relation to the side of rockface. An instant later when the cyclops emerges, we see where the same spot on the wall matches up with a spot above its knee (second image). Lastly, in the final image we see the cyclops on the beach with both Sakurah and Sinbad. Here it seems the creature is much taller than the initial images would suggest. Later in the film, when Sinbad and his men get captured by the monster, it seems to have shrunk again by a few feet. I know it’s a small thing to nitpick, but being a big fan of monsters, I feel there needs to be some consistency when presenting their sizes.
Annoying Kids - He may be a powerful magical being whose powers of protection are nearly invincible, but Barani the genie is still a young boy, which automatically makes him annoying. Good thing you can command him to shut the hell up.
Castles - There are three type of castles that appear in this film. In the order in which they are seen, they are stock footage, real Spanish location and matte painting. Sakurah’s abode is the final one of the three and the only one located completely underground.
Demons - Sinbad’s ship nears an island inhabited by wailing demons whose endless screeching causes men to go mad. We never see them, but we do get to hear them and I didn’t find them anywhere near as bad as your average group of ten-year olds at Chuck E. Cheese.
Desert Hijinks - There is not a whole lot of this, but some of the action takes place in “Bagdad” and that city just happens to be smack dab in the middle of a large desert region…despite the fact that those scenes were actually filmed in Spain.
Dragons - One green, fire-breathing dragon shows up near the end of the movie. Technically this breed of over-sized lizard would be called a Drake, since it has four legs and no wings. Still, not something you want to have loose in your neighborhood.
Giant Monsters -This film is loaded with them! A giant dragon, a giant two-headed Roc and multiple giant cyclopes, all of whom would love to make a meal out any human that gets too close. Then again, I’ve yet to see a giant monster that wasn’t hungry for humans.
Magic - Lots of magic here, all of it enacted by Sakurah the magician and Barani the Genie. Given some of the things Sakurah shows himself capable of doing, I’m not really sure why he is so desperate to get his hands on Barani’s lamp.
Monsters - There are other monsters aside from the oversized variety. First there is the four-armed snake lady that Sakurah transforms Sadi into, and then there is the sword wielding skeleton that Sinbad has to fight later on in the film.
|Mythology - Given the nature of the film, this one is impossible to avoid. Lots of creatures from mythological backgrounds (both Greek and Arabian) as well as some of the trappings from Arabian lore, such as magic lamps and genies.||Ocean Hijinks - Sinbad IS a sailor after all, so expect lots of scenes set on the high seas, in both calm and stormy weather. Don’t forget to look for the ship that changes shape about four times during the course of the film.|
|Stock Footage - Alas, even a top notch film like this isn’t above stooping to the low of utilizing stock footage. It’s only for a mere handful of shots, but it’s there.||Swords - You can’t have an Arabian adventure without exciting sword fights. Then again, when you think of Arabian adventures one tends to think of flying carpets and there was no such thing in this film. Same with the exciting sword fights. Sword fight? Yes. Exciting? No.|
|Underground Hijinks -There is not much of this but there are some scenes towards the end set in some unusually bright caverns and an underground castle. None of these places are as dark as they would be in real life as opposed to reel life.||Violence - Well, there’s plenty of this. Sword fights, fist fights, fights against giant monsters, fights against human sized monsters and fights between giant monsters. Of course, none of this is in any way graphic. Modern video games are more traumatic.|
Deaths by sword: 3
Deaths from falling great height: 6 including one cyclops
People crushed to death: 4
Times Genie is summoned: 3
Times sea serpents are referenced: 3
Sea serpents seen: 0
Different stop motion monsters seen: 6
Times Golar says “That’s right!”: 3
Total words spoken by Golar: 8
Clouds of magical smoke: 9
Times someone bangs a gong: 3
Times Sinbad’s ship changes shape: at least 3
Percentage of movie comprised of stock footage: .42%
Min – Is that King Cumulo Fracto Nimbus?
Shadow's Drinking Game: Any time Sinbad says the name Parisa or Sakurah, take a drink.
for larger image
Sinbad tries to visit Princess Parisa in her cabin, but is met by Sadi.
“This is no time of night to be knocking at a lady’s bedroom.”
Shadow’s Comment: You would not be saying that if you got a glimpse of his captain’s log.
The shrunken Princess Parisa visits Barani the genie inside his lamp.
“You know who I am.”
Shadow’s Comment: Yeah, you stupid shit.
Film & Me
I absolutely loved this film as a kid. Some time in the early 70’s this film saw a re-release in theaters and my parents took me to see it. I was somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5 and I really don’t remember if I had already seen the film on television. I do know that I came out of that theater completely amazed at what I had seen. For the next several years whenever this film came on TV, it was a reason to celebrate. I would firmly tell my parents on what day and time the film was to be shown and under no circumstances whatsoever would I be leaving the house and missing the film. My mom got in the habit of baking sugar cookies on these occasions, so to this day I associate the smell and taste of such treats with this movie. As the years went by and I grew up, my tastes in film expanded to other genres, but I always loved this film. When in my teens I found it on VHS, it was an automatic purchase. Several years later I showed the film to some friends and we spent the subsequent summer quoting the movie during our various adventures, most of which involved traveling up and down the California coast in an attempt at surfing every beach we could find. These days I’d risk a massive heart attack if I tried to swim out past the breakers, but I still love this movie and associate it now with cookies, mom (gone now for 15 years) and surfing with friends whom I have not seen in over 25 years. Sometimes getting old really, really sucks.
Shadow's rating: Eight Tombstones