Another action flick from Great Movies – 100 Years of Film for the Fairbanks’ classic Thief of Bagdad! This time we join Captain Sinbad (Kerwin Matthews) on a great adventure, featuring some fantastic stop-motion effects by the legendary Ray Harryhausen.
Despite the fact that the film is set in Bagdad, everyone is shockingly white, but the story makes up for it with a sense of fun and adventure.
Sinbad and his crew come across an island, inhabited by giant cyclops as well as a magician, Sokurah (Torin Thatcher). During an escape from an attacking Cyclops, Sokurah loses his magic lamp, and Sinbad, worried about keeping his bride-to-be, Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), safe, refuses to go back for it.
On arriving in Bagdad, Sinbad and Parisa prepare for their impending nuptials while their fathers confer about uniting their two cities. Sokurah, still smarting, and consequently scheming, over the fact that Sinbad would not go back for the lamp, shrinks Paris to action-figure size.
Despite the fact, that this is obviously magic at work, no one makes the obvious connection that Sokurah is the culprit, and instead meet an arrangement with him that he will restore Paris to her natural size if Sinbad returns him to his island, where he can concoct the correct spell, and help him reclaim the magic lamp.
So it’s back to the island we go, where we encounter more Cyclops, a dragon, a two-headed giant bird, and its eggs, a sword-wielding skeleton, and a boy genie (Richard Eyer) who wants to trade in one form of servitude for another – he wants to be Sinbad’s cabin boy, and a powerful genie no longer.
This is just typical, Saturday matinee fare, and its delightful fun, made more so because of Harryhausen’s brilliant work, and a fun score by Bernard Hermann.
Thatcher is appropriately nasty as the villain, and he’s got his bad-guy glare down pat. Matthews and Grant make a nice couple, and it’s a lot of fun to watch Mattews fight opposite a giant bird or attacking skeleton.
Overall, it was a rather enjoyable romp, and I don’t think I’d ever seen this one, as I constantly got confused to as to how many Sinbad movies there actually were, and whether or not this was actually the seventh film in a series or not. Apparently it’s not, it’s just his seventh voyage.
The real joy of watching this film though, as well as a couple more coming up on the list, is watching Harryhausen’s work. The man was a master, and even now, the emotions and motions he gets out of his creations continues to astonish, even when you can tell they’ve been added in post.
I really liked this one.
Have you seen it?