Tag Fantasy

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

New!! Sinbad’s Boldest And Most Daring Adventure!

Sinbad must travel to the North Pole in the search for a cure for an Asian prince who has been turned into a baboon by an evil witch, desperate to get her hands on his kingdom. On the way he encounters many perils which he must overcome including ghouls, a giant walrus and a sabre tooth tiger.

 

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was the last of the Ray Harryhausen Sinbad films and it’s easily the weakest. Hiring Patrick Wayne, son of legendary film star John Wayne, for the lead role and then getting a supporting cast with the likes of Doctor Who stalwart Patrick Troughton and eye candy in the former of Jane Seymour, the foundations were set were set for another fantastic voyage. But alas by this time the era of stop motion was beginning to flag as the era of Star Wars heralded in a new dawn in special effects. The fan base for films like this had begun to dwindle as science fiction and outer space became the fashion, consigning the old fantasy films to the scrap heap. With lower budgets than previously given, it was going to be an almost impossible task for the entire team to be able to work their magic and go out on a high.

Ray Harryhausen tries his best though and creates another army of stop-motion creatures although the majority of them just aren’t as good as his previous efforts and just seem to be recycled from his earlier creations. The ghouls look good during their brief fight at the start but it’s over almost too quickly (and they bear an uncanny resemblance to the aliens in First Men in the Moon) and the troglodyte is also quite impressive, if looking similar to the centaur and cyclops from his previous films. Minoton looks awesome too but is completely wasted in the film in a secondary role (and is vaguely Talos-like). I mean I thought he was going to duke it out with the troglodyte or fight Sinbad’s men instead of being discarded before any confrontations occur. He’s built up to be this deadly, unstoppable force early in the film and then is killed off on a whim before he gets chance to do anything of note.

Also for some inexplicable reason, the producers of the film decided to let Harryhausen animate a stop-motion baboon for the cursed prince. “So what?” you may ask. Well this baboon appears on screen for most of the film either in the background or as the focus of the scene. This would have taken ages to animate and seems to be a bit of a waste. Why not use a real monkey and have the prince turned into one of those instead? You may not have got the effect of him appearing human and the monkey may not have been co-operative on set but at least it would have saved poor old Ray messing around with animating the baboon. It would also have allowed him to create some other monster to fill up some of the long, boring gaps in the film between monster scenes. There’s also a giant walrus and a giant bee but the problem Harryhausen had when he created monsters like this is that we don’t want to see ‘normal’ animals being stop-motion animated. We want to see fantastical creatures from mythology come to life like fire-breathing dragons, cyclops, two-headed birds, six-armed statues, centaurs, griffins, etc.

Where did it all go wrong here? The problem begins with the script and it seems content to either rip-off previous Sinbad films or just use the unwanted ideas from those scripts. There’s nothing here to really grab your attention like there was in the other films. I mean the film starts off well with the fight with the ghouls and the usual mumbo jumbo about curses and evil witches. It also has a decent-ish finale inside the pyramid featuring the token stop-motion monster fight. But for the duration of the rest of the film hardly anything happens. There is a lot of talk and threatening dialogue between characters and unnecessary travelling around the world. What made the other films so exciting was that this was continually inter-cut with action scenes and battles with mythical monsters. The lulls between monster scenes were never this long and overly uninteresting. The special effects in the earlier films seemed to service the story but now it’s the other way around and the story is purely there to link together the monster scenes.

Acting was never a strong point for these fantasy films and this one is no exception. Patrick Wayne is quite wooden as Sinbad and seems to have been cast purely because he looks like a fantasy hero (and most likely because of his infinitely more famous and successful father). Margaret Whiting hams it up completely as the villain with a dodgy accent. Jane Seymour adds some female presence (and a hell of a lot of flesh too) to the film but it’s a pointless role really. At least Patrick Troughton adds a touch of class as the token elderly wise man who helps Sinbad on his mission. Casting wise I would expect nothing less than some decent British talent and that’s what we get, it’s a shame that the script gives them nothing worthwhile to say.

 

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger has still got enough going for it at the start and end and despite not being up to his earlier standards, Harryhausen’s monsters still look impressive and still create a timeless sense of awe. But younger viewers (and older ones for that matter) may find themselves falling asleep during the middle.

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

From the depth of space they came to vanish beneath the sea…

Professor Aitken, his son Charles and family friend Greg Collinson are on an expedition to search for Atlantis. During one of their deep sea missions, a giant octopus attacks their boat and drags them and the crew to the bottom of the sea where they are taken to one of the five remaining of the seven sunken cities of Atlantis. The others are thrown in with the slaves but the Atlanteans are interested in Charles and the intellect he possesses. As they attempt to recruit him to their cause, Greg and the crew try to find a way to escape before it’s too late.

 

During the 70s, British company Amicus made a trilogy of cheep and cheerful fantasy films which all featured Doug McClure and were directed by Kevin Connor. Encouraged by their success with The Land That Time Forgot, the studio forged ahead and made a couple of like-minded films which were based on Edgar Rice Burroughs books. This last outing, which is not based on a Burroughs book or made by Amicus, attempts to replicate the successful formula. However it’s easy to see where its inspiration comes from as it follows the same formula with Victorian-era scientists journeying into a mysterious world of monsters. It’s rainy Sunday afternoons for which the likes of Warlords of Atlantis were made.

Warlords of Atlantis has visions above and beyond it’s budget which is a real pity because it’s contains the most challenging themes of these fantasy films with an obvious socio-political tone running through the film. The Atlanteans are not human but in fact come from Mars and intend to manipulate humanity to their own ends. Their world is seemingly that of a Utopian society. All is not as it seems as there is a slave element to this world with undesirable humans being forced to defend the cities from the ever-present threat of giant mutated monsters. Echoes of a totalitarian regime ring true when Charles is subject to a glimpse of ‘the future’ with footage then being shown of the upcoming world wars and then token footage of the Nazis and Hitler – these guys always crop up in this sort of mind-erasing/mind-reading scene (see Flash Gordon, A Clockwork Orange, etc).

I’m giving it way more credit than it’s due. Intentions may be one thing but actually getting them onto the screen in an entertaining and interesting way is another. The script half-heartedly attempts to give the whole thing some structure but it’s basically a series of set pieces linked together with the flimsiest of story. By the time the characters arrive at Atlantis and find out what the deal is with the situation, it’s time for them to escape and head back to their ship. I mean look at the easy way that the crew finally manage to make it out of Atlantis. The film states on a few occasions that it’s dangerous beyond the city walls but our main characters seem to have no trouble in crossing a swamp and making it back to their ship as if they were popping out to walk the dog.

Atlantis itself is simply a couple of ropey-looking matte paintings and the special effects for the monsters look ridiculous nowadays but they’ve got some low budget charm to them. There’s some cheesy rubber eels, some plastic piranhas which stage hands look to be throwing in the direction of the cast and some very slow-moving lizard/mutant things. It’s a wonder they ever manage to eat anyone because they move so slowly that you’d need to be tied to the spot to get in harm’s way. The rear projection is obvious a mile away but at least the cast try and make the best of the situation. Doug McClure is always a good sport for reacting to things that aren’t there.

Ah, Doug McClure! It didn’t matter what sort of character he’s supposed to be portraying in these fantasy films, you know that you’re watching Doug McClure because he virtually plays himself. Either as a rich businessman in At The Earth’s Core or simply a civilian who knows a lot about submarines in The Land That Time Forgot, McClure rarely sticks to the attributes we’d expect of such characters. Instead, he’s quick to step into the role of action hero and gung-ho leader, throwing punches around whenever the situation calls for it. To give him credit, he’s always up for it in these films and adds a nice spark to proceedings. He may not be able to convince anyone that he’s trying to be anyone but himself but at least he throws a mean punch. Conveniently, the slaves all speak perfect English so McClure has little trouble in rallying them to his cause. He also gets the girl (as always) as one of the slaves takes a shine to him. To say that the romantic sub plot is even a sub plot at all would be to do it an injustice as it ends in the most abrupt manner.

Michael Gothard, a dodgy-looking German actor who is most famous for a role as a baddie in Bond film For Your Eyes Only, is the unlucky person to have to dress up as an Atlantean. Whoever designed the costume must have lost a bet because it looks absurd and, coupled with the daft haircut he’s been given, it certainly does little to prevent spontaneous laughter with the viewer. He’s well suited for the part of an alien though and I wouldn’t trust this guy as far as I could throw him.

 

Warlords of Atlantis is Z-grade fantasy filmmaking at it’s most innocent and charming. There’s no swearing, no blood, no boobs and not much hardcore violence. I grew up on films like this and whilst it’s artistic merits and filmmaking pedigree is ropey at best, there’s something likeable about it that’s hard to ignore.

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Jack the Giant Killer (1962)

Jack the Giant Killer (1962)

A pretty princess. An evil sorcerer. A hero for the ages.

When the evil wizard Pendragon was exiled by the King of Cornwall, he vowed to reclaim the throne. He attempts to kidnap the Princess Elaine so that he can bargain with the King but his plans are thwarted when Jack, a local farmer, successfully rescues her from the clutches of a giant. Jack is then entrusted with a secret mission to escort the Princess to a convent in France where she will be hidden from Pendragon’s clutches. However on the journey there, Pendragon manages to abduct her. Jack then travels to Pendragon’s island castle where he must battle all manner of witches, giants and Pendragon himself to rescue her.

 

Clearly a deliberate attempt to recreate the success of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jack the Giant Killer reunites director Nathan Juran with actors Kerin Matthews and Torin Thatcher to lesser effect. There are attempts to recreate success and there’s blatantly plagiarising and this film is guilty of the latter. It’s almost a re-run of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad with Matthews and Thatcher playing opposite each other again, similar monsters and even an annoying leprechaun-in-a-bottle, no doubt substituting for the annoying genie-in-the-lamp. The key missing ingredient is the lack of Ray Harryhausen in the special effects department but more on that later.

Jack the Giant Killer is like a fairytale come to life. The film opens with the story of Jack being read from a book before one of the pictures comes to life and we’re transported into the magical world full of all of the classic ingredients of a fairytale: the princess, the dashing hero, a king and a castle, an evil wizard, witches, dwarves, dragons and much more. But the actual script isn’t up to much and simply provides a route for the hero to go from one challenge to the next. And when the monsters aren’t around, the film suffers from a general lack of purpose. This is more than evident during the first fifteen minutes as the film begins with a rip-roaring couple of action set pieces as a giant is unleashed in the castle, captures the princess and heads off to deliver her to Pendragon, only to be fooled by farm boy Jack.

Once this is out of the way, the film never really picks up full steam again until Jack reaches Pendragon’s island, another good thirty minutes or so into the film (witches scene aside, which provides some mid-film scares). At least the final half of the film involves a couple of decent set pieces as Jack and Pendragon finally square off. Kerwin Matthews must have been born to play a dashing hero in this sort of film because he does make a believable action man. Ray Harryhausen once stated that Matthews had an uncanny ability to interact with the monsters he’s fighting and it shows again here. Torin Thatcher puts in another fine performance as Pendragon, full of his usual cartoony evil ways. The two work well off each other although here the performances are more of the pantomime kind, especially from Thatcher. Judi Meredith plays the token female and looks cute but she’s there to be rescued and that’s it.

The main reason that the film doesn’t work as well as it should be is easy to see: there’s no Ray Harryhausen. Jim Danforth’s variety of fantasy creatures don’t look as fluent or realistic as Harryhausen’s and the difference in class is easy to spot. These creatures look like rushed special effects, not like labours of love that have been meticulously animated. They lack characteristics and personalities and they don’t seem to interact with the actors very well. Not only that but they look like the plasticine models that they are with some awful, shiny textured skin and they’re clear rip-offs from Harryhausen’s work. Both Cormorant at the beginning of the film and the two-headed giant towards the end have the same look as the cyclops from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. It’s a shame because the Cormorant scenes have potential and there’s some entertaining moments as it escapes from the castle and heads to Jack’s farm. These are also the only times when Jack truly gets to be a ‘giant killer’ as he spends the rest of the film using his leprechaun friend to get him out of trouble instead of using his brains and brawn. The climatic fight between the two-headed giant and a giant octopus would probably have worked in black-and-white back in the 30s but in full colour, it looks really cheap.

Its this poor animation really harms the impact of these fantasy creatures as there are some good moments with them, it’s just a pity they look ridiculous at times. It’s the non-stop motion special effects which are far more effective here including the haunting witch attack scene aboard the ship. The scene is saturated with an eerie purple/red glow and the witches themselves are outlined with a ghastly white colour to conjure up a really spectral image. It’s quite a freaky and rather scary sequence and one which may alarm some younger children.

 

Jack the Giant Killer lacks the killer special effects which were the main reason that Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad were so enjoyable but it’s still a damned fine fantasy film which seems to be overlooked a lot more than it deserves to be.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

 

 

Warrior and the Sorceress, The (1984)

The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)

An age of mystery and magic… Of swords and sorcery.

The mighty warrior Kain arrives in a village where two arch enemies continuously fight for control of the only well. Kain sees an opportunity and announces to both enemies that his sword is for hire and he begins a series of devious tactics to play both sides off each other in order to make himself the most money.

 

Think of some weird cross between Conan the Barbarian, A Fistful of Dollars and a bit of Star Wars and you have this cheap, second-rate production which isn’t very enjoyable, doesn’t make much sense and is a pretty pointless waste of time. It was inevitable that the success of Conan was going to spew forth legions of imitators and knock-offs which feature plenty of swords and sorcery but with miniscule budgets, dreadful third-rate production values and of course, no Arnie in the lead role.

The Warrior and the Sorceress is a mess from the beginning. I mean if you’re going to do a fantasy epic like this was intended to be, you’re going to have to cough up the dough to finance it. The best ‘fantasy’ creation here is a chick with four breasts (take that Total Recall) and a monster with a few tentacles which is briefly glimpsed. It could have been set in the Middle Ages for all I knew – it’s supposed to be a fantasy film so throw a few fantasy elements our way.

Not only does the film badly try and emulate Conan the Barbarian but it seems to borrow a lot of the bizarre characters which inhabit the Star Wars universe. There’s guys dressed up like Jawas, a weird bald guy who looks like the Rancor Keeper and a miniature puppet that looks like Yoda after a four-month boozy bender. Original creations were not the order of the day for the effects crew. There is also the pretty ludicrous fact that these two mortal enemies have somehow managed to build two massive castles opposite each other in the same town square and through the years of fighting, both sides must have a total of about twenty guys left. It’s like something out of a cartoon or Monty Python comedy sketch.

A strong story is not the order of the day here. We have a big problem when one of the main villains is killed off half-way through the film and then the other villain around the three quarter mark. What happened to the final showdown? In order to fashion a workable ending with some big set piece, the script has to draft in a group of slave traders whom Kain must battle instead – certainly a major departure from the original plot about the well. It’s almost as if the film finishes with the death of the second villain and then another small episode is added on to the end to boost the running time. The action scenes are rather pathetic and most of the time it’s like watching them in slow-motion.

The cast look like they’re still learning the moves on the set instead of fluently carrying off the fights perfectly. David Carradine lumbers his way around the set carrying a big sword but not doing a great deal else. Maria Socas plays the sorceress of the title and must have had a line in her contract which stated that she must remain topless throughout 90% of the movie. I’m not one to knock big knockers in exploitation films but this really is taking it to the extreme! She doesn’t do much in the way of sorcery or casting spells either.

 

The Warrior and the Sorceress was made at a time when the fantasy flick was booming thanks to the success of Conan the Barbarian. All this piece of garbage does is show the world that apart from Conan, the genre sucked big time and it was with a great relief that they stopped churning out these crap-fests…… unfortunately after a good few years of cash-ins.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Greatest Odyssey Of The Ages – for the first time on the screen

Jason is the son of a murdered king and sets out to reclaim his father’s throne from King Pelias. He must lead a quest to the island of Colchis where he is to retrieve the fabled Golden Fleece, which is said to bring about peace and prosperity to any nation that holds it. With the help of the goddess Hera, Jason enlists the help of the bravest men in Greece and builds a huge ship to sail in. They are not prepared for the many mythical creatures that they encounter on their way.

 

Tom Hanks once famously said “Some people say Casablanca or Citizen Kane…..I say Jason and the Argonauts is the greatest film ever made.” He’s not too far from being spot on either. Every once in a while, a film is released which inspires a generation of filmmakers to break into the business. Sam Raimi, John Landis, James Cameron, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton have all been quoted at some point in saying that this film has been one of their influences in getting into the filmmaking business. The amount of respect this film has received from such Hollywood pedigree is amazing. I’ve always preferred The 7th Voyage of Sinbad but this always gets more of the plaudits and recognition.

It’s really hard to be too critical of Jason and the Argonauts because it’s not the sort of film which will blow you away with its direction, its acting or its script. It’s a film which is here to create spectacle, a sense of awe and an ability to transport you into a fantasy world. Maybe it’s a guy thing (I mean look at that list of filmmakers, they’re all male) but its ability to stir the imagination is second-to-none.

I do feel sorry for the directors in Ray Harryhausen’s films. No one ever remembers their name. People refer to them simply as ‘Harryhausen films’ and it’s a fitting tribute to the effects maestro’s influence and legacy in the movie making industry that such recognition is the case. Jason and the Argonauts is really your standard Harryhausen film in which the story serves the special effects for the most and everything else is second nature. It’s not overly faithful to the myth, some of the sub-plots are weak and forced and the acting is pretty stodgy at times. The scenes with the humans are rather dull and there’s a lack of drama or purpose to a lot of them. The acting isn’t wonderful either. Todd Armstrong vanished off the planet after this film and his lines have all been dubbed – it’s a pity because I would love to have heard how he sounded. Nancy Kovak, as the love interest who comes into the film too late and seems rather forced, is also dubbed. There are noted roles for British actors such as Honor Blackman and Patrick Troughton, as well as plenty of other minor British talent including Douglas Wilmer, Jack Gwillim, Laurence Naismith and Nigel Green. Green’s Hercules may make for one of the most ridiculously entertaining versions of the mythical strongman to ever grace film. He’s not some bulked up Italian muscleman but rather a middle-aged man with a bit of a gut on him!

Harryhausen’s special effects may lack the fluidity of today’s CGI and some of the effects have clearly not dated well but there’s denying the one thing that keeps them popular – they feel real and they feel alive. Each creature has character, its own mannerisms, its own little quirks and attitude. The final fight sequence between three human actors and three stop-motion skeletons has arguably never been bettered on the big screen. It’s a three minute fight which took Harryhausen four months to complete and it’s breathtaking in its complex choreography. The skeletons look stunning and Harryhausen even manages to instil a bit of evil into them with their grinning mouths relishing the slaughter. It’s an iconic moment and one of cinema’s most important in the field of special effects.

As great as the skeleton sequence is, my favourite creature will always be Talos, the 100ft bronze giant. I dare anyone not to get the shivers when he comes to life, tilting his head slowly to the side to see Hercules stealing from his tomb. It’s a pity that this sequence is so early on in the film because nothing else matches the sheer awe, wonder and spectacle of this scene and everything else seems low key. Ironically, the most important part of the myth, the seven-headed Hydra, seems such a let down when it appears. I understand the logistics in Harryhausen not being able to follow the legend that every time one of the Hydra’s heads is cut off, another two grow back but the monster is still killed off way too easily.

Bernard Herrmann’s soundtrack is also amazing and one of his best. He manages to match the images on the screen with a riveting and exciting score. His Scherzo Macabre piece of music during the skeleton fight is impressive and really enhances what you’re seeing on screen. Not only is the sound suitably ‘Greek’ but you also believe the notion that this is some fantastical quest in a mythical era with the Mediterranean looking as good as it ever has with the beautiful cinematography really doing the locations justice.

If there’s one thing that always annoys me, even to this day, is the ending of the film. It finishes rather quickly with the promise that “there will be other adventures for Jason.” We never get to see whether he makes it home to reclaim his throne. The film didn’t do as well at the box office as everyone had hoped which is a real shame because if they could see how well-revered and legendary the film has become, they would have filmed a sequel.

 

Jason and the Argonauts is forty years old at the time of writing this review but it still holds up as one of the best films of its genre and a landmark film in technical achievement. It’s cliché to say it but they really don’t make them like this anymore. It’s a timeless classic.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★★ 

 

 

7th Voyage of Sinbad, The (1958)

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

8th wonder of the screen!

When the Princess he was supposed to marry is shrunk by a scheming magician, Sinbad has to set sail for a distant land where he can find the rare ingredient to make a cure work. But he must overcome a multitude of problems including a mutinous crew, a man-eating cyclops, a fire-breathing dragon, a giant two-headed bird and then come face to face with the evil magician himself, Sokura.

 

I can’t exactly write an impartial review here as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is my favourite film of all time. I was really into monsters and dinosaurs in my childhood so, when I watched this for the first time as a young boy, seeing these creatures come to life was amazing. It’s been etched on my mind up until this very day. After celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008, with special effects that may look a bit creaky nowadays and with dozens of continuity problems, it still manages to enchant me in its magical grip from start to finish. I’ve watched it that many times that I can recite lines of dialogue before they happen. I can imagine myself being there on the island, fighting alongside Sinbad and his crew. It may sound a little nerdy but when you love a film so much, it’s hard not to get caught up in it all.

Historically, the film is of great significance and as such, was selected for preservation in the USA in the National Film Registry. As of 2008, there were around five hundred films in there and it joins the likes of The Godfather, Citizen Kane and Casablanca in the archives. A pioneering film in the special effects field, without it you wouldn’t have got the likes of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. As an adult I can now fully recognise the importance that this film holds but the reason I love it so much as it that it takes me back to my childhood. This film makes me feel forever young!

The acting is from the golden age of Hollywood where the hero had to look dashing, the Princess look charming and the bad guys just look evil and the three main characters do just that. Kerwin Matthews makes for a very serviceable Sinbad and his interaction with the special effects is top drawer. This is back in a time when these sorts of effects-driven films were few and few between and actors had little to no experience of acting out scenes with effects that would be inserted later. Kathryn Grant does what she has to do with the role of the Princess but she’s only there to act as the plot driver and get Sinbad to go to the island. Also worth mentioning is Alfred Brown as Sinbad’s faithful second-in-command, Harufa. The guy gets all of the best unintentional ‘comedy’ lines in the film but unfortunately things don’t work out especially well for him at numerous times in the film! It’s Torin Thatcher who steals the show as Sokura, the evil magician. He hams it up in places and then acts deceitful and thuggish in others. He knows how to chew the scenery in certain scenes, giving wry smiles of disapproval or casting menacing looks to Sinbad. The rest of the cast is filled with suitably rough-looking Spanish actors who are simply there to provide the fodder for the various monsters that Sinbad encounters.

However, they all know that they’re taking second place to the special effects. Nothing is going to upstage Ray Harryhausen from working his magic. His painstakingly-detailed stop-motion animation is just breathtaking when you think there was no team of animators working on a computer – just him on his own working around the clock. It’s a labour of love and you can see clearly the passion he had for making these creatures come to life. He was inspired by King Kong to become a special effects maestro and it’s a fitting tribute to him that countless special effects gurus (and just filmmakers in general) have entered the business inspired by Harryhausen. From the moment the cyclops comes raging out from the cave, you can’t help but be amazed. My favourite Harryhausen monster, its got personality which is something CGI has a hard time conveying. It looks badass, pummels men under huge tree trunks in fits of revenge and its unique roars and cries will echo in your head for a long time after watching. The camera angles also make the monster seem more terrifying with wide-shots adding to the sheer scale of the beast and numerous close-ups of its face giving you a glimpse into its mindset. One of my particular favourites is a subtle moment when it’s roasting a sailor on a giant spit. For a brief moment it licks its lips in anticipation of its upcoming meal.

The fire-breathing dragon looks awesome but it doesn’t have a lot to do except provide the token monster versus monster fight at the end. The only criticism that I’d have with Harryhausen’s work is that they all look the same as his other monsters – the cyclops being a re-working of the Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth, the fire-breathing dragon being The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and so on. I’m guessing it’s a practical reason that he just re-used old models but it’s a bit obvious, especially in his later films. The skeleton duel here set the standards that Harryhausen would blast later on in Jason and the Argonauts.

One final positive is the musical score by Bernard Herrman. It’s a pounding, pulsating piece which gives each of the monsters its own signature tune. He would work with Harryhausen on a number of effects films but it’s the soundtrack to this one which really stands out.

 

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is my favourite film of all time and it’s easy to see why. With its eternal child-like innocence and sheer escapism, it’s hard to dislike in any shape or form. Forget Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Nothing beats this fantasy film for sheer thrills and entertainment. It would be cliché to say that they don’t make them like this anymore but it’s true.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★★