The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

July 17, 2016 at 8:45 pm (9 Heads, Golden Voyage of Sinbad) (, , , , , , )

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad – 1973 – England

Sinbad and the Grand Vizier of Marabia unite on an adventure to find the Fountain of Destiny on the lost continent of Lemuria. They race for the fountain against the evil magician Prince Koura. The powers of this wondrous fountain are a little unclear, but Koura somehow intends to use it conquer Marabia. In route to the fountain, Sinbad sails treacherous waters, battles fantastic creatures, and solves ancient riddles.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is the second of three films about Sinbad the Sailor produced by Charles H. Schneer and Ray Harryhausen. The others are The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). Golden Voyage of Sinbad has rousing adventure, endearing characters, and wondrous spectacle. Its epic scope and impressive special effects never expose the film’s limited budget.

Sinbad is roguish and charismatic, and his crew of sailors is jolly and courageous. The Grand Vizier is a noble hero who wears a golden mask to conceal his burned face. Even the evil Koura is likable. He undergoes the dangerous quest alone, overcoming its challenges in clever ways. Every time he casts a spell, he ages physically. By the film’s end, he is a decrepit old man. He also has a cute gargoyle-like homunculus.

Golden Voyage of Sinbad is superb on every front. The writing, acting, and costumes are great, and the scenic locations are spectacular. Scenes were filmed at a genuine fortified palace in Spain. However, it is Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion effects that steal the show. In one scene, a ship’s masthead comes to life and battles the ship’s crew with an axe and a harpoon. In another scene, a griffin and a one-eyed centaur battle to the death. And in the finest scene, a giant statue of Kali (a six-armed Hindu goddess) comes to life and swordfights with Sinbad and his crew. The film blends living actors and stop motion puppets almost seamlessly.

Golden Voyage of Sinbad combines elements of Middle Eastern, Indian, and Greek mythology. The Fountain of Destiny is also surrounded by Stone Henge-like monuments.

Rating: 9/10 Shrunken Heads. Golden Voyage of Sinbad taught me this genuine Arab proverb: “Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.”

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