Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) & Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

          Special-effects legend Ray Harryhausen, adored by fantasy fans for the lovingly crafted creatures he brought to herky-jerky life through stop-motion animation, first dramatized the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), a charming classic known for an extended duel between Sinbad and a sword-wielding skeleton. Years later, he returned to the character with less impressive results for a pair of cheaply produced mid-’70s romps featuring juvenile stories, outdated effects, and wooden acting. Golden Voyage stars the attractive but dull duo of Barbarella stud John Phillip Law (as Sinbad) and future 007 nemesis Caroline Munro (as the hero’s slave/love interest), but Munro’s cleavage gives a better performance than either actor does. The monsters are equally generic, including a centaur and a six-armed living statue, so the movie drags along joylessly.
          By any critical standard, Eye of the Tiger is even shoddier than its predecessor, but outrageously stupid elements make it a minor sort of camp classic. In an epic feat of miscasting, the hero is played Patrick Wayne—because who better to play an Arabic adventurer than the real-life son of John “The Duke” Wayne? On the plus side, a sexy young Jane Seymour is one of two women accompanying Sinbad, and the creatures in the film are so random (a minotaur, a saber-tooth tiger, even a giant walrus) that parts of the movie play like an acid trip. Both of these flicks are borderline awful, but Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is a cut above in terms of unintentionally amusing cheesiness.
          With all due respect to anyone who considers either of these movies treasured artifacts from childhood, the venerable Harryhausen’s day had long since passed by the time he made these movies, as proven definitively by the critical drubbing of his last endeavor as a producer and FX supervisor, the campy but enjoyable Clash of the Titans (1981); that film’s box office success, devoted fan base, and durability on television honor Harryhausen’s legacy better than either of the ’70s Sinbad stinkers.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad: LAME
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger: FUNKY

1 comment:

Kevin Mac said...

Aw, they are all still highly watchable. The luster of childhood has worn mostly off, but they can still hearken to exotic adventure despite all the flaws and warts. Fantasy fans of yore should go to their graves still loving these.

And the gals in these; daaaamnn...