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Film / The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

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The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a 1958 adventure film directed by Nathan H. Juran and featuring Kerwin Mathews as Sinbad the Sailor, but starring Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion monsters. Despite the title, the film's plot actually incorporates elements from Sinbad's third and fifth voyages, as well as a scene straight out of The Odyssey.

Legendary adventurer Sinbad the Sailor and his crew discover the fantastic island of Colossa. There they encounter Sokurah (Torin Thatcher), a magician who owns a magic lamp, but loses it while escaping from a giant Cyclops and is desperate to get it back. When he fails to entice Sinbad into helping him fight the Cyclops, Sokurah concocts an evil potion to shrink Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant) , Sinbad's fiancée, down to the size of a mouse. With the only known antidote requiring the eggshell of a roc from Colossa, Sinbad has no choice but to go back with Sokurah to the island if he is to save Parisa.

This was the first feature film using stop-motion animation effects to be completely shot in color.

It was nominated for the 1959 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Harryhausen would work on two more Sinbad films with different casts and crews, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger .

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: The dragon's dying is treated as a sad moment with the creature slowly and painfully bleeding out from the giant crossbow bolt in its neck while the main characters leave, appearing to feel sad that they killed a poor creature who was abused by its master.
  • Apothecary Alligator: There is a stuffed alligator mounted on the walls of the Sokurah's workshop. The animated skeleton knocks it down by throwing a shield at it.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The setting of this film.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Because not enough of his old crew will risk returning to Colossa, Sinbad decides to recruit criminals who had been sentenced to be hanged instead. They almost immediately mutiny and attempt to use Sinbad's ship to become pirates.
  • Asshole Victim: Karim, the captain of the mutineers, falls to his death in a storm.
  • Bald of Evil: Sokurah the sorcerer.
  • Behemoth Battle: The cyclops versus Sokurah's dragon. The dragon wins.
  • Benevolent Genie: He's a kid who just wants to be normal.
  • Birdcaged: The shrunken Princess Parisa is kept in a birdcage.
  • Brown Note: The sound around the Demon Island is a high-pitched screech that drives the entire crew mad. Karim ends up falling to his death in the mayhem.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The ballista that Sokurah designs to kill a cyclops. Never used for its intended purpose, but comes in handy nonetheless.
  • Classical Cyclops: There is a cyclops that looks like a giant one-eyed satyr with a horn on its head, and Sinbad and his men Go for the Eye to get rid of him just like in The Odyssey. A second one also in that film is easy to spot — it has two horns. Reportedly, Ray Harryhausen gave them goat legs so audiences would know they weren't played by men in costume.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: The baby roc, although not pretty, is completely dry and fluffy upon hatching.
  • Cooking the Live Meal: A Cyclops has taken Sinbad's men captive and locked them in a cage, before returning to remove Sinbad's Lancer Harufa and tie him to a spit over a fire whilst he's still live and screaming. The Cyclops even pulls up a stool to sit while it turns the spit, proving that the mute, brutish giant is more intelligent than it looks. Sinbad meanwhile escapes from the cage and saves Harufa while the cyclops is distracted.
  • Crystal Ball: A nice red one surrounded by crystals in Sokurah's workshop.
  • Deflector Shields: "I command you to build me a barrier between those men and the cyclops!"
  • Dem Bones: Sinbad fights an animated skeleton, prefiguring the army of animated skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts.
  • Disney Villain Death: Karim falls off the top of crow's nest to his doom.
    • Also the cyclops that has its eye put out by Sinbad.
    • And the animated skeleton, once Sinbad disarms it at the top of a massive staircase and it has nowhere to go but down.
  • Dull Surprise: The Sultan of Chandra, complete with a blank expression, gives an incredibly monotone sounding response to Parisa's handmaid and a serpent being combined into one creature:
    Sultan: "This is impossible. I am asleep."
    Caliph: "If so, I share your dream."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sokurah, along with Sinbad, is furious at the crew for killing the roc chick for lunch, although it's less because it was wrong and greedy and more because they should have known that Mama Roc would be less than pleased with this.
  • Eye Scream:
    • The Caliph threatens this for Sokurah after his prophecy of war.
    • The first cyclops is defeated when Sinbad shoves a fiery torch onto its eyeball, blinding it, and then leading it off a nearby cliff.
  • Fat Bastard: Karim is a very fat, and very ruthless criminal who leads a group of mutineers against Sinbad.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Upon his first appearance, Sokura is cordial and polite, even aiding Sinbad in their escape from his island and providing plans for a harpoon big enough to kill a cyclops. However, his only motivation is so that he can get back his lamp, and is more than willing to sacrifice everyone in order to get it back.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted with Harufa. Sinbad is clearly saddened by his death and takes a moment to mourn him. Parisa also says she will miss him as they leave the island.
  • Feathered Fiend: The roc, though it has good reasons for it.
  • Freeing the Genie: Near the end of the movie Sinbad throws the lamp into a river of lava, which frees the genie inside as was prophesied.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Sokura impaling Haroufa happens off-screen. However we do see Haroufa's body after Sinbad removes the spear.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: Sokurah has a lot of (slightly anachronistic) chemistry (alchemical?) equipment in his lab in his castle, including a really fancy Crystal Ball. A lot of it comes to a bad end; a table of flasks and beakers is smashed by a wayward swing of the living skeleton's sword, and even more of it gets shattered to bits when a stuffed Apothecary Alligator falls off the wall and lands on it (courtesy of the skeleton's flung shield). Sokurah himself smashes his crystal ball later. The various equipment is just there to look pretty and get smashed; besides the crystal ball, the only thing Sokurah uses is a mortar and pestle.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sokura makes the plan for a giant crossbow to protect them against the Cyclops. Later the crossbow is used to kill the dragon, which falls on Sokura.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The magician shrinks Princess Parisa as part of his plan to get the magic lamp.
  • Large Ham:
    • Sokura: "My spirit races ahead of time itself!"
    • Most of the mutineers count as well: "THE WIND SCREAMS LIKE TEN-THOUSAND FIENDS!" Particularly their leader, Karim.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Two of the crew members who accompany Sinbad to the island think it would be a good idea to see how a freshly killed and roasted roc chick would taste despite Sinbad directly ordering them to leave it be. No points for guessing what happens to them when the Mother Roc discovers them having her offspring for lunch.
  • Lost World: "It has the mark of some ancient civilization!"
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The roc. We actually see a hatchling before the fully-grown one.
  • Multiple Head Case: The roc has two heads.
  • Non-Malicious Monster:
    • The Cyclops to some extent. They are clearly savage and violent for sure, but none of it comes out malice. Sinbad’s crew is clearly invading their territory and Sokurah did steal the lamp from its treasure.
    • The Mother Roc also counts as she is only avenging her slain baby.
  • Number Two: Haroufa, the only member of the original crew who sticks with Sinbad on the second voyage.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: It is hoped Sinbad and Parissa's marriage will bring peace between their nations of Bagdad and Chandra. They also genuinely love each other.
  • Phony Psychic: Sokurah certainly is a real magician, but his prophecy is a bald-faced lie.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Sinbad's scimitar pins the wizard's sleeve to a door, allowing Parissa to break free of his clutches.
  • Primate Versus Reptile: The giant cyclops that chases Sinbad and Parisa into the cave runs afoul of Sokurah's pet dragon. The cyclops puts up a desperate fight but it isn't armed and the dragon is much stronger, so it quickly gets overpowered and killed without harming the dragon much.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Parissa wears a pink outfit throughout the whole voyage.
  • Red Shirt Army: Justified regarding the 2nd crew as they are mostly made of criminals who were about to be hung. They had earlier tried to munity and always disobeyed Sinbad’s orders, so they were pretty much Asshole Victims.
  • Roc Birds: The movie features a two-headed roc and its chick.
  • Siege Engines: Near the end Sinbad's sailors use a giant ballista to kill a dragon.
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: Happens twice, with both times involving the Big Bad Sohkura's efforts at slaying a cyclops that's been causing trouble for him on his home island.
    • First, after becoming aware of how Sohkura possesses a lamp containing a genie, Sinbad asks him why he can't just wish for the genie to get rid of the cyclops. Sohkura responds by explaining how the genie is explicitly forbidden from causing harm to other living beings.
    • Later, Sinbad's love interest Princess Parisa asks Sohkura, who just so happens to be a reasonably powerful mage, why he can't just kill the cyclops himself with his magic. As Sohkura subsequently explains, he did try exactly that by brewing a potion designed to kill the cyclops, only for this plan to hit a snag when he proved unable to get the monster to actually drink the potion.
  • Snake People: The evil magician Sokurah temporarily combines a woman and a snake to create a four-armed woman with a snake's tail.
  • Stating the Simple Solution:
    • Sinbad asks why Sokurah didn't use the lamp to slay the Cyclops; the magician says it can't be used to work harm.
    • Parissa asks why if he was a magician he couldn't kill the Cyclops; Sokurah says he created a potion for this but couldn't make the Cyclops drink it.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Sinbad’s face pretty much reads this when his last two remaining crew members kill the baby Roc. He’s right as the baby's mother shows up after and she is pissed.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When the wizard attempts to leave with the princess, Sinbad throws his scimitar at the wizard, pinning his sleeve to a door.
  • Tragic Monster:
    • Sokurah's dragon has apparently spent most of its life chained up in his cavern home. For all its time on screen it's abused, attacked, and later ordered around by its master to attack the very people who freed it from its chains, only for it to die moments after it's defeated the Cyclopes. The characters almost look sorry for it after killing it.
    • The baby roc was only a newly born hatchling and is killed rather brutally by the two hungry crew members. Sinbad and Sokurah are both angry at them for this — not just because it was cruel, but it promptly brings the wrath of the mother roc down on them.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Sokurah the Magician aides and guides Sinbad through his voyage, but it is merely a front to his evil scheme to obtain the magic lamp and take the princess.
  • Wizard Workshop: The wizard Sokurah's lair, located in his castle in a cave on the island of Colossa and guarded by a fire-breathing dragon, contains alchemical equipment, manacles, a hanging skeleton (which he animates to fight Sinbad), some weapons, a Crystal Ball, and the inevitable Apothecary Alligator.
  • The Worf Effect: Sinbad and his crew struggle to defeat the first Cyclops during both encounters with the beast. When a second one shows up in Sokurah's cave, the dragon manages to maim it and kill it with almost little effort and no visible injuries. Since Sokurah lives on an island populated by the giants, it seems only logical he use a creature stronger than the Cyclopes.
  • Xylophones for Walking Bones: Frantic xylophone music plays when Sinbad fights the animated skeleton.