1 August 2009 | hitchcockthelegend
Captain Sindbad and his crew land on the island Colossa and come under attack from a Cyclops. Aided by the magician Sokurah and his magic lamp, they manage to escape back on board with their lives intact. However, the lamp which contains a helpful genie, is left behind in the Cyclops' hands. Once back in Bagdad, Sokurah sets about getting a crew together to reclaim the lamp off of Colossa, but the chiefs of Bagdad refuse to sanction such action. After failing to impress all with his magic tricks, Sokurah shrinks the princess of Bagdad to the size of a hand, then craftily offers to restore the princess to normal the next day. Only trouble being that the ingredients needed for the cure are of course on Colossa. So Sinbad and his men, and the dastardly magician, set sail for an adventure that is fraught with danger...
From the land beyond beyond - From the world past hope and fear - I bid you genie now appear.
Stop-motion maestro Ray Harryhausen, for his first film in colour, delves into the mythical legend of Sinbad The Sailor. Thus, along with director Nathan Juran, putting life into the Sinbad legacy that had been viewed as a no go area after less than favourable responses to prior attempts at the legend. Though not adhering to the Persian fable source, the 7th Voyage was nothing like this one and The Rocs for instance actually appear in the 5th voyage fable, Juran and Harryhausen turn the merchant seaman of the origin into a dashing hero figure. Someone that children and adults of both sexes can easily get on side with.
Visually it's a treat, admire as Sinbad (in the form of a handsome sword swashing Kerwin Matthews) does battle with Cyclops', Rocs and a Harryhausen calling card, the Skeleton. Throw in a fire breathing Dragon, a genie of the lamp, a pretty princess (Kathryn Grant) and a devilishly creepy magician villain (the always great value Torin Thatcher) and the result is unadulterated joy. Some churlish folk will point to being able to see the lines between the real footage and Harryhausen's marvellous creatures, but quite frankly those people should be rounded up and sent to live on Colossa with all the other monsters. For to not appreciate the craft and genius on offer here is as sad as it is foolish. And with master composer Bernard Herrmann laying a brisk mystical flecked score over proceedings, it's a treat for the ears as well.
When you consider the budget afforded this production, it's high quality film making, and it's now, along with the two sequels that followed it, still being enjoyed by those of us who remember before computers controlled such magical things. 8/10