Going to try a new column to be rotated with my Saturday Night Double Features simply called Saturday Matinee. While all theaters still have matinee showings, when I was a kid, many theaters like the Fairview Cinema in Fairview, N.J. used to play old movies as children’s matinees on Saturday afternoons in the early 70s. It was a one time early showing of a more kid friendly film and my mom or grandfather used to take us. It got us out of the house and when we were old enough to go by ourselves, afforded my mom 90 minutes of quiet shopping time in the nearby stores. So this column will look at more lighter toned genre films that would certainly have fit at such a matinee or possibly been one I actually saw such as this 1973 fantasy adventure! Enjoy!
THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973)
(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)
15 Years after 7th Voyage, Ray Harryhausen returned to the world of the Persian sea captain with The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad. A chance encounter with a strange creature leaves Sinbad (John Philip Law) in possession of a gold amulet that is being pursued by dark prince, Koura (future Dr. Who, Tom Baker) as when joined with it’s other parts, it can give the bearer unlimited power. The pursuit of the final piece brings Sinbad to a mysterious island and in the company of a beautiful slave girl (legendary genre hottie, Caroline Munro) who may be key to the proceedings. Along the way there are the numerous Harryhausen critters to complicate the voyage and the usual magic and derring-do.
Director Gordon Hessler doesn’t bring the fun as well as Nathan Juran did in 7th Voyage and he also doesn’t give the film the lively pace that flick had either, but it is still an enjoyable fantasy adventure and the cast do take their parts serious enough to make them believable, even if Law can’t really work the Middle Eastern accent that he tries to imbue the heroic captain with. The stop-motion creature effects…billed here as Dynarama…are typical Harryhausen quality, although the designs aren’t as memorable as the cyclops, or dragon, from the last film. The standouts being the centaur and the griffin featured at the climax and Koura’s flying spy. The rest of the FX are fine for the time period, but are a tad cheesy by today’s hi-tech standards…though I still find them very charming.
All in all, it is an entertaining adventure yarn and filled with nostalgic charm at this point, though, not quite the classic that 7th is. Obviously, when I saw this film as a 9 year old, it was the best thing ever…till the next movie came along. Also has an uncredited cameo by Jaws and Black Sunday actor, the legendary Robert Shaw, as The Oracle Of All Knowledge.
Followed by one more film, Sindbad And The Eye Of The Tiger, in 1977 which was a sadly disappointing and weak installment that was unfortunately the last time Harryhausen would revisit the character. There was talk of a rumored Sinbad On Mars, but that film never materialized and Harryhausen would end his legendary career with Clash Of The Titans in 1981.
Rated 3 (out of 4) sexy slave girls.