The Indicator Blu-ray series from Powerhouse Films presents this wonderful presentation featuring Ray Harryhausen favourites The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Transferred fresh and gleaming onto Blu-ray comes the forerunner to Indiana Jones, Captain Jack Sparrow and any other big screen movie icon you dare to name. Sinbad as played by three actors across three different films became synonymous with ostentatious production design, lavish costumes and split screen monster magic. Pioneered by Ray Harryhausen, this method of using hand crafted miniatures alongside live action footage foreshadowed green screen by decades. Not only adding a sense of drama, sensationalism and crowd pleasing fantasy to the screen, but made Harryhausen famous.
Spanning almost twenty years from 1958 with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Kevin Mathews plays our eponymous hero with matinee idol panache. Using back projection, matte paintings and miniaturisation techniques we are truly in the realm of Sunday afternoon television. Mythical creatures are brought to life and killed in a family friendly way, which is at once dated yet still magical to behold. Villains across all three films are full throttle pantomime dames, arching their eyebrows and dramatically gesticulating while freeze frame effects add another layer of ham.
Notable amongst these denizens of Middle Eastern mayhem is our own Tom Baker as Koura in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Smouldering beneath inches of foundation with eyebrow pencil thick enough for a drag queen, Baker chews up the screen. With the bare chested John Phillip Law as Sinbad and buxom Caroline Munro’s Margiana cavorting around in less than nothing, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is saved once more by superior effects. This early Seventies effort, like all of these films, is very dated but nonetheless great fun. Mild titillation and far flung locations give proceedings an exotic feel, while the Blu-ray extras are worth their weight in gold.
There is little difference in content, narrative or acting across all the Sinbad movies, but that’s not why they remain beloved. Harryhausen who reached his pinnacle in 1982 with Clash of the Titans continues to inspire effects people today. He brought emotion, instilled pathos and gave life to his creations which transcended the films they appeared in. Just take as an example the physical animation behind Sinbad and The Eye of The Tiger. Trapped in a cage and constrained for his own safety, Harryhausen’s baboon plays chess, shuns human contact and rallies to defend his family against apparent threats. That you can physically see the emotions, feel the isolation and be engaged by this creation is why Harryhausen remains revered.
For people of a certain age, myself included, watching Sinbad movies was never about the effects because after all we were young. However, watching them over with the benefit of hindsight made me appreciate them for the great example of effects work they represent. Hugely flamboyant, location heavy and dramatically kitsch up against modern standards, Sinbad remains a benchmark in the industry which any film fan should own.
Powerhouse Films’ Sinbad Trilogy box set includes lots of fascinating extra features
The Sinbad Trilogy box set from Powerhouse Films presents three brilliant Sinbad movies on one limited edition presentation. Contained within is THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (Nathan Juran, 1958), THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (Gordon Hessler, 1973), and SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (Sam Wanamaker, 1977).
The set, as with other Powerhouse Films Blu-ray releases, features an array of never-before-seen special features to enhance and elevate the experience of watching these films again. For starters, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad gets a new 4K restoration from the original camera negative. It has not looked this good since its original theatrical exhibition. The release is further enhanced by an audio commentary from Ray Harryhausen himself on The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
There are 2K restorations of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger from the original camera negatives too. Mono and 5.1 surround sound audio options are available for each film. The box set features previously unreleased audio interviews with Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles H. Schneer, and new interviews with actors Tom Baker, Caroline Munro and Jane Seymour, and SFX maestro Phil Tippett.
Other features include the original Super 8 cut-down versions, archival documentaries, interviews and featurettes, original trailers and promotional films, isolated scores by Bernard Herrmann, Miklós Rózsa and Roy Budd, and promotional and on-set photography, poster art and archive materials. The box set rounds out its presentation with a wonderful 80-page book with new essays on the films.
Written by Martin Carr
Directed by: Sam Wanamaker, Gordon Hessler, Nathan Juran
Written by: Various
Released: 1958/1973/1977 / Genre: Action-Adventure
Country: USA / IMDB
The Sinbad Trilogy was released in the UK on June 26, 2017.