The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Giant birds, crabby cyclops, dragons, skeleton warriors, and a snake woman? Just another day at the office for Sinbad the Sailor. Throw in an evil sorcerer, a mutinous crew, and having to not only rescue his fiancee, but also find some way to un-shrink her and you can understand why this particular Sinbad set about his seventh voyage with very little humor and cheer.

Director Nathan Juran knew that when people were going to a movie about Sinbad and his legendary seventh voyage that they were expecting plenty of scenes of guys chucking spears at stop motion clay figures of various mythological creatures. There was plenty of time for Sinbad to talk and philosophize about the meaning of what it is to be a carefree sailor on his previous six voyages. Actually, I think the movie really picked up at the end of his sixth voyage because we first meet Sinbad and crew while they’re floating around in some ocean or other in search of land.

When Sinbad finally spots land, he doesn’t yet know that the island’s name is Colossa or that it’s the ancient world’s equivalent of Monster Island. For some reason, Sinbad has his old lady on board with him. Her name is Princess Parisa and she and Sinbad are going to be married and help seal a peace pact between their two lands.

Once he makes landfall on the island, he demonstrates just how preoccupied he must be with the impending wedding because he makes some decisions that would charitably be called “stupid.”

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Let’s say you’re on a mysterious island in a world where terrible monsters still run amok occasionally. Let’s also say that you notice strange footprints in the sand. These strange footprints are not only odd because of their shape (cloven hooves – eek!), but also because they are so far apart. As someone notes, this is indicative of a rather large stride and by extension, a rather large creature.

Okay, let’s say you know all that and when you walk further up the beach you notice carved in the side of a mountain, a strange face with the mouth being the entrance of a cave. Pop quiz hotshot. What do you do? Well, in spite of it being painfully obvious that this is the front door of a cyclops house, you run right the hell in there just to see if anyone is home!

Lots of guys getting chased by a pissed off cyclops ensues, followed up by some help from a sorcerer named Sokurah. He’s a bald guy with a magic lamp that saves Sinbad and his crew by using the genie’s powers to erect a transparent barrier to keep the cyclops back. Unfortunately this doesn’t stop the cyclops from chucking big rocks at the departing boat. This causes everyone to fall overboard and in all the confusion Sokurah loses his magic lamp.

Once back on board his main boat, Sinbad refuses Sokurah’s entreaties to go back to the island and retrieve his lamp which by this time has fallen into the hands of the cyclops. No time, baldy. I still have to hire a band and D.J. for my wedding, but you’re welcome to come to my bachelor party once we’re back in Bagdad.

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Sokurah offers to provide some entertainment at some of the pre-wedding festivities in hopes of currying favor with the Caliph. This includes turning Parisa’s maid into a snake woman as well as looking into the future of Sinbad and Parisa’s lands. Not surprisingly perhaps, he sees only bad things for everyone. This doesn’t earn him a ship and a crew of men, but does earn him an ass kicking out of Bagdad.

At this point for the record, I would note that when he was told this, no one specifically said that he wasn’t supposed to stop by the princess’s bedroom and use a magic potion to shrink her down to the size of a corndog. Clearly, the only way to fix this is with the help of a very powerful sorcerer. Sinbad finds Sokurah just as he’s about to leave town and pleads for his help. It turns out to be no problem for Sokurah to reverse the spell. In fact, he knows the counterspell and only needs to procure one ingredient. It’s the shell of giant Roc’s egg.

But that’s only available on the island of Colossa and we already know you don’t want to go there, right Sinbad? With the princess’s father immediately threatening war on Bagdad despite Bagdad obviously having nothing to do with the incredible shrinking Parisa, a shift in policy occurs and the next thing you know, a big crossbow is being built and Sinbad is attempting to recruit a crew. But where would you get a crew from for what is surely a suicide mission right into the heart of monster country?

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Where do most guys for suicide missions come from? The toughest prison in whatever location the recruiting is being done in! I was thinking that we might be in for a Dirty Dozen-style affair with off-beat characters each with a specialized skill (forger, demolitions expert, scrounger, drunk) that would come in handy for this trek.

However, instead of being so vicious and crazy that they turn out to be the best dang fighting machine ever assembled, these cons are so vicious and crazy that they mutiny as soon as they set sail and attempt to take over the ship! Things don’t go any more smoothly once they hit Cyclops Island. Treasure, a genie, and guy getting roasted alive are among the highlights.

This is by far the best of the three fantasy adventure movies that Kerwin Matthews (Sinbad) made during this era. It wasn’t as long as the deadly dull The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver and not a lame rehash of things like Jack The Giant Killer. Unlike Jack, this movie kept the focus on the action and not on a bunch of annoying friends of the star. Though Kerwin wasn’t as tan in this one as one would have liked for a manly adventurer, the fact that he was probably too busy planning his wedding to hit the tanning bed most likely accounts for that.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

One thought on “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

  1. Like the original 1933 King Kong and the first Star Wars movie (before the lame CGI additions) 7th Voyage of Sinbad has perfect pacing, perfect music, great art design and thrilling action sequences that include just the right amount of fun and just the right amount of gore and horror. One of my favorite movies.

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