Monday, 15 September 2014
Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)
I watched the first of Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad films (7th Voyage) before starting this blog, so you don't get a proper review of that. But in summary: an okay adventure yarn, though Kerwin Matthews was a bit bland in the lead (I liked him better in Jack the Giant Killer and Battle Beneath the Earth, though).
In this film, Sinbad's out a-sailing when a strange birdlike creature flies over his ship, a gleaming object in its grasp. One of the sailors shoots at the beast, and it drops a golden pendant onto the deck. Sinbad decides he likes the bauble, and after fighting off the small creature's efforts to get it back, he goes ashore.
There, he is challenged by The Doctor. Well, by Tom Baker, anyway. Apparently his performance in this film is what got him his most famous role. NotDoc's name is Koura, and he's an evil sorcerer. Sinbad evades him, and a man in a golden mask then gives us an info dump to set up the film.
I like that the Sinbad in this film is a bit more of a rascal than he was in the first. Pretty golden bauble? Yoink! Guys says it's his? Run off with it! Other guy wants you to babysit his layabout son? No thanks. He'll throw in Caroline Munro in a teeny tiny top? Okay then!
Munro's character turns up - along with the actually quite funny comic relief character that is the layabout son - shortly after the info dump I mentioned above. She's a slave girl with a tattoo like one that Sinbad saw in a vision related to the pendant, so he does actually have a reason to bring her along other than the obvious fact that she's Caroline Munro.
We then set off for the usual Harryhausen shenanigans: stop-motion monsters and living statues, oh my! The big set pieces here are a statue of Kali, which wades into battle with six scimitars, and a fight between a centaur and a griffin.
If you're looking for an old-fashioned adventure yarn, or a dose of Harryhausen's renowned effects work, you can certainly do worse. This was a fun hour and a half.