Review: The Sinbad Trilogy

Blu-ray & DVD: The Sinbad Trilogy (1958, 73, 77)

Before I start my review I should probably tell you that I am totally biased towards the Sinbad films and in fact any film Ray Harryhausen had a hand in. To me his work is peerless. Harryhausen IS given credit for his work by many auteurs, but I think unless you’re a bit of a film buff, his contribution to cinema and special effects goes under the radar. If you have a minute please pop over to www.rayharryhausen.com and have a read/look at the man, his work and his legacy. His story is so interesting and I am filled with admiration for Connor Heaney, Simon Mackintosh, John Walsh and (Dave’s one true love) Caroline Munro for their continued support of his legacy. John and Connor also host the fantastic Ray Harryhausen podcast which you should definitely subscribe to as it’s filled with wonderful stories, news and interviews.

So those of you who have never seen a Sinbad film, how on earth have you missed them? You were a child once, so It’s possible you HAVE seen one probably on BBC2 at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, and if you were about 5 you would have been pretty scared. Because all Sinbad films have epic MONSTERS, amazing bad guys, a beautiful princess and the eponymous Hero – Sinbad. Of course they bear little relation to 1001 Nights told by Sheherezade (ooh showing my education here) BUT they are ROLLICKING adventures.

This box set from Powerhouse Films is such a wonderful treat FILLED to the brim with incredible extras. Containing the 3 Harryhausen films:

THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (Nathan Juran, 1958)
THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (Gordon Hessler, 1973)
SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (Sam Wanamaker, 1977)

They are all true classic adventures, each featuring pioneering special effects by filmmaking legend Ray Harryhausen and restored from the original negatives. They are a real feast for the eyes, even the 1958 7th Voyage positively zings off the screen, and the colours are so rich. I have to admit I’d forgotten the story to The 7Th Voyage and on re-watching it I did feel like I was seeing it for the first time, and despite its age (59 years!) the only thing that ages it is Princess Chandra’s kiss curl.
Golden Voyage has the best villain, Tom Baker and the most handsome of all the Sinbad’s; John Phillip Law, and of course a special mention to the beautiful Caroline Munro as slave girl Margiana.

My favourite will always be Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Coming out the same year as Star Wars, this has a special place in my heart as it’s a film my dad took me to see in the Pictures (cinema). Later when it would appear on TV we’d sit together and watch it, and although my son doesn’t remember, I remember him perched on my Dad’s knee as a very small child watching it. And both of them loving it.

Now it would be easy for me to write a feminist slanted essay about these films and the male ‘gaze’ and also the sexualisation of the women, but this definitely ISN’T a Michael Bay film, this is great family entertainment from a time when I believed kali, griffins and re-animated skeletons were real.

A really incredible box set with so many amazing extras. Just buy the damn thing, I guarantee you and your kids will love it.

INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES: 
• New 4K restoration of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad from the original camera negative
• 2K restorations of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger from the original camera negatives
• Mono and 5.1 surround sound audio options
• The 7th Voyage of Sinbad audio commentary with Ray Harryhausen
• Previously unreleased audio interviews with Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles H. Schneer
• New interviews with actors Tom Baker, Caroline Munro and Jane Seymour
• New interview with SFX maestro Phil Tippett
• Original Super 8 cut-down versions
• Archival documentaries, interviews and featurettes
• Original trailers and promotional films
• Isolated scores by Bernard Herrmann, Miklós Rózsa and Roy Budd
• Promotional and on-set photography, poster art and archive materials
• Box set exclusive 80-page book with new essays, and film credits
• Limited edition box set of 6,000 copies

Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from discs kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.