The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (Britain 1974)

golden-voyage-of-sinbadIf you are looking for an enjoyable adventure, full of swashbuckling heroics, colourful characters, and of course the battle of good versus evil, then you’ve found it. All aspects of the production contribute to a fantastic tale of conflict, destiny and glory. This is one of a series of Ray Harryhausen (animator/story) movies about Sinbad, the legendary sailor. In the first ten minutes this film shows its true colours as a fantasy. It will pull you in and keep you musing, wondering, and entertained mostly all the way through.

Captain Sinbad (a very humble and sincere performance by John Phillip Law) and his men must travel to a mysterious island to find the third piece of a golden tablet that, when completed and placed in a magic fountain, will give youth, untold riches and a cloak of deception (which makes the wearer invisible). Also along for the ride is a badly scarred vizier who wears a golden mask, the young son of a rich merchant, and a beautiful slave girl (Caroline Munro in skimpy outfit revealing her ample, sweaty cleavage). Unfortunately, hot on their trail is the evil magician Koura ( a marvelously deep-voiced Tom Baker) who will do anything to ensure that it is he who benefits from the powers of the tablet.

On their travels, Sinbad and his companions must contend with Koura’s sorcery, and also do battle with an assortment of marvelous monsters, including a winged homunculus, a centaur, a wooden siren and an animated statue of Kali, complete with a sword in each of her six arms! Director Gordon Hessler, working from a witty script by Brian Clemens, ably creates a charming magical atmosphere and maintains a steady, if rather sluggish pace throughout. Miklos Rozsa’s lush, rousing, spirited score and a perfectly pitched sincere tone of awestruck wonder further enhance the overall superior quality of this immensely enjoyable fantasy.

This must be the ultimate film-thrill for stop-motion fans. This flick was made before the days of computer enabled special effects. I think the most important element in a Sinbad movie is a credible supernatural threat. This movie features one of the best evil wizards in all of fantasy. Koura the magician is not just here for show, there is an underlying structure to him that makes sense. Koura pays a price for aid from the powers of darkness – every time he uses sorcery, he ages. This is a great way to show Koura slowly slipping into the clutches of dark powers. Sinbad and the Sultan race Koura across the seas to a lost island where they hope to solve the riddle of the 3 golden pieces and thereby restore the kingdom. The mystical powers of the Fountain of Destiny make sense and provide a fitting and dramatic end to the story.

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Comments

  1. I remember watching this film years ago and being really absorbed by the visual spectacle. Excellent review as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you.

    Like

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