If you love classic films and you love special effects, then you are undoubtedly passionate about the films of legendary Ray Harryhausen, and this is one of his best. In this movie, Harryhausen uses his stop-motion technique in color for the first time (and the print here is terrific) to tell the tale of Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) as he sails the seas, forms an uneasy alliance with an evil magician (Torin Thatcher) and battles a Cyclops, a two-headed Roc and a dragon. Other memorable effects include the genie Berani and the interior of his magic lamp, the Princess Parisa being shrunk and the servant woman who is turned into a dancing half-woman, half-snake. The action starts right away and continues throughout the film, and Bernard Herrmann's music is, as always, absolutely perfect.
DVD extras are excellent, and include: a picture of the original poster; trailers from other Harryhausen features; two interview featurettes, each 12 minutes long; a 3-minute featurette about the Dynamation process; and a one-hour feature about Ray Harryhausen. This is a great package -- and for you enthusiastic polyglots out there, the film can be heard in English, Spanish or Portuguese, while subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean or Thai!
Having small children who are becoming interested in "scary movies", I've found that the Harryhausen ouevre is a great way for them to find thrills and chills without gore, and a wonderful way for me to reconnect with my childhood joys as well. The whole family has a great time watching these terrific films. I'm really glad they're being re-released in such high quality and with such interesting dvd extras.
on September 5, 2000
This film was always a favorite of mine since the first time I saw it.
Visually the print on this DVD is extraordinary. The colors are vibrant and the images are incredibly sharp, crisp and clear.
In particular, you can really appreciate Ray Harryhausen's Special Effects that he laboriously produced for this film. They don't look blurred or out of focus as they have on previous prints. They are presented here as they were intended to be seen in their entire splendor and brilliance. It is amazing what he did with an eight-inch tall stop-motion model of a skeleton.
Ken Kolb's screenplay elevates this film beyond the boundaries of what could have been just another fantasy monster movie. He brings depth to the characters and uses dialogue to increase the suspense of the story. Along with director Nathan Juran and all the other filmmakers an epic fairytale unfolds and is preserved on film.
Bernard Herrmann's score is a showstopper and as always accentuates the images on the screen adding mood and enhancing the overall visual effect for the viewer. Herrmann went on to score three more Harryhausen films: "The Three Worlds of Gulliver," "Mysterious Island" and "Jason and the Argonauts." Bernard Herrmann's collaboration with Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles Schneer equaled that of his collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock.
Kerwin Mathews is ever so stoically heroic as Sinbad. He is very good in this role as he brings energy and conviction to the part. He is a man with mission and will not bend or be swayed until he brings it to finality. It is a shame that Mathews never went on to greater screen accomplishments.
Trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Shakespearean actor Torin Thatcher is the consummate evil magician, Sokurah. He too brings conviction to his role as he is dedicated to the forces of evil and darkness.
Visually this is far superior to the Laser Disc version. The Laser Disc was issued in full-frame and not quite as sharp. However, the Laser Disc version was issued with the soundtrack in stereo. I was very disappointed that this DVD was not issued in stereo. That would have made it completely satisfying.
However, the images are so spectacularly presented here it is almost a minor point. Thank the gods for Dynamation.
on December 28, 2010
Could not wait to watch this dynamation classic on blu ray. But I have to say this is one of those cases where blu ray does not do an old movie with lots of effects much justice. The films transfer with more clarity actually exposes much of the movie magic the great Ray Harryhausen worked so hard to create. In some of the monster vs. Sinbad scenes there's an exaggerated seam and difference between the actors and the stop action animation. some of the shots are clearly out of focus as well.. i would have preferred to see this one on my old sony 4:3 TV in my bonus room. Dont get me wrong this is a gem and I still enjoyed this classic and am glad I own this one on blu ray. But for those of your who are sticklers this one does not stand out in blu ray
on December 3, 1999
Matlin's summary above is quite accurate in describing this film.
I first saw this film as a child of 10 at a drive-in theater. The memory of the imagery and the music have stayed with me over the years. I've seen the film since on tv, film festivals, and vhs. None had the clarity of image and sound of this new DVD release.
Columbia has done Harryhausen's film classic proud. The print quality has NEVER looked so good and is presented here enhanced for 16x9!. The original mono sound is also quite good and Herrmann's brilliant score moves the story right along. The extras on this disk are quite good with the lengthy "Ray Harryhausen Chronicles" being the highlight. The added trailers for other Cloumbia Harryhausen films are a treat.
Thanks to Columbia for an excellent presentation! Their DVDs are the industry standard!
on April 19, 2002
Great action. Great music. Great monsters! What more can you ask for.
THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD is one of my all time favorite fantasy movies. I would count this, along with the silent version of THE THIEF OF BAGDAD starring Douglas Fairbanks and the 1940 remake with Sabu as the three greatest Arabian Nights adventure films ever made. What makes 7TH VOYAGE stand out among the three, however, are Ray Harryhausen's wonderful stop-motion effects.
While there are some who consider the monsters in this movie "fake looking", for me, I actually prefer to watch this style rather than overblown video game-like effects that CGI offers us. Harryhausen's creatures have much more personality. I actually felt sorry for the Cyclops when he gets killed by the Dragon. Ditto for the Dragon when he gets killed by the large cross-bow.
Kerwin Mathews, to me IS Sinbad. Every time the name "Sinbad" comes up, I always have to think of Kerwin Mathews. Kathyrn Grant is truly beautiful as the Princess. I also like Richard Eyer as the boy genie. Torin Thatcher, as the evil sorcerer Sokurah, is one of my favorite movie characters of all time. Foes of Sinbad in his later features like THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD and SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER, just lacked the strong presence that Thatcher brought to his character.
As Leonard Maltin putting so well - "It's a winner all the way."
on September 22, 2014
The films colors and detail are very pleasing to the eye, however there is a bit too much video noise through the film which could have been corrected ever slightly.
Black levels are pretty good, though sometimes a little too bright in a few scenes.
The sound includes a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack, as well as the film's original monaural sound mix.
Flesh tones are natural and "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" looks better than it ever has.
The incomparable Sinbad the Sailor presently ranks alongside Luke Skywalker in AFI's most memorable heroes and villains, which puts him in some very good company so far as this online reviewer is concerned. To their benefit, the films of Sinbad feature some ground-breaking special effects provided by the grandmaster of Dynamation himself, Ray Harryhausen. Granted, contemporary audiences may find all of the story and the look more than a bit dated (what with the prevalence of CGI today even in television commercials), but THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD remains a masterpiece in storytelling, the original experience a long time ago in a land far, far away ...
(NOTE: the following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last paragraph for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)
With the promise of bringing peace to their two peoples, Sinbad the sailor (played by Kerwin Mathews) heads toward Baghdad with his bride-to-be, Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant). Our hero and his men brave a stop on the dangerous island of Colossa, where they rescue the magician Sokurah from the jaws of an angry Cyclops. Despite refusals by Sinbad to return to Colossa so that he may recover his magic lamp, Sokurah will stop at nothing to obtain a ship and its crew, even if it means disrupting the sailor's wedding by shrinking Parisa to the size of a doll! Then, he tricks Sinbad into agreeing to take him back to the island where the potion to restore the princess awaits ... along with dangers aplenty!
The single greatest reason to toss in any DVD release of SINBAD is that you can enjoy a much simpler tale for a much simpler time when there wasn't as great a reliance on special effects in storytelling; but, when they were needed, they were nothing short of movie magic for their time. The Cyclops remains as impressive today as it was when it first appeared on silver screens - a terrifying creature hungering for a taste of meat - thundering across the shoreline in pursuit of Sinbad's crew in retreat. Of course, nothing beats the snake-woman - a visual charm that found modest re-design and reincarnation as Medusa in 1981's CLASH OF THE TITANS - and it probably sparked fear in the hearts of children for years to come. To my delight, nothing is greater and grander than Sinbad's final sword fight with the armed skeleton; it remains one of the most inspired passages in all of filmdom, and I can't begin to imagine the difficulties it took to render a sequence that would be vastly easier with today's technology however they accomplished it in the late 1950's. I watch it today, and I'm still awed.
Plenty has been written about the greatness of the film - and written by significantly greater scribes than I'll ever be - so let me leave it at this: see it. Any DVD release is fine. Yes, you can probably find a greater appreciation of it by watching some of the special features (they vary from standard DVD release to the latest Blu-ray issue), but, if you're a kid at heart like I am, you don't need any of them. Enjoy the film as is, and remember what it's like to partake in an awe-inspiring cinematic breakthrough not unlike the first STAR WARS, THE MATRIX, or THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Filmmaking doesn't get any better than this.
THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD is produced by Columbia Pictures Corporation and Morningside Productions. As for the technical specifications, the film looks and sounds remarkable, especially given its age. As I stated above, there are a variety of special features available to commemorate the picture, and any of them are worth their modest investment of your time. Rated G.
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE. Forgive me if my age is showing, but THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD is classic movie magic. In my youth, I had the chance to see it theatrically at a special matinee (in the very early 70's), and I've been in love with it ever since. It has a swashbuckling hero; it has a princess; it has a wicked magician; and it's all set in magical locations against the backdrop of adventure, dark sorcery, and man-eating monsters. How could it not be? As a matter of fact, in 2008 it was added to the U.S. Film Registry where it would be preserved for all time because of its "aesthetic significance." That's no small honor for the legendary hero and his brave crew.
on October 9, 2008
Just wanted to state this is loaded with extras.. here is a review below of the blu ray version:
Filmed in Technicolor and framed at 1.66:1, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad arrives on Blu-ray disc in a transfer that not only shows the effects of its 50-year-old age, but also exposes some of the inherent limitations of the Technicolor format. Let me first start by saying that Sony's AVC/MPEG-4 transfer does well at capturing the source without any visible compression artifacts or processing effects such as edge enhancement and it is as sharp as it can be given the source material. There are also good shadow details, even if the blacks aren't the deepest I have seen. The Technicolor process, however, particularly in 1958, was inherently grainy and often prone to some visible variations in color contrast and density. As such, this transfer is very grainy and does display some of those variations as well as some flickering throughout. One also has to remember that the Technicolor process was known for its hyper-realistic, saturated palette that often yielded something more surreal than realistic. Therefore, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad doesn't necessarily display natural flesh tones, but something more in line with what one would expect from a Technicolor production.
In fact, most of what we see today when Technicolor films are remastered are color palettes that are toned down to be more in line with what audiences today expect to see. I'm not certain Sinbad is even as hyper-saturated as it should be, but it looks well enough reproducing the film's colorful Middle Eastern garb and bright, sunny blue skies.
Sony continues their trend of providing multiple language tracks on their Blu-ray releases with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. In this case there are two lossless options in the form of a newly remixed English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack and a French Dolcy TrueHD 5.1 dub as well as the original English mono soundtrack and a Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 dub. The new lossless English 5.1 mix offers a slightly more expansive soundfield that lets the score by Bernard Hermann breathe, exposing more of its intricate instrumentation. The dialogue is well balanced, if a bit harsh, and intelligible while the film's action sequences are lively with subtle use of the LFE to provide some much needed weight to the otherwise thin sound.
The original mono soundtrack is also rather good, if obviously less engulfing. It is well balanced with good dynamics, clear dialogue, and ample low frequencies. Sadly, instead of utilizing soley the center channel for a true monaural 1.0 configuration, Sony has provided the soundtrack in a Dolby 2.0 configuration. Still, it is good to have the original mix represented on this release.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad offers an abundance of exploratory supplemental materials that offer much insight into the work of both Ray Harryhausen and his longtime collaborator, composer Bernard Herrmann. Fans of film history, special effects and Harryhausen should be pleased by the wealth of informative extras available here.
The extras available on this release are:
Commentary with Ray Harryhausen, visual effects experts Phil Tippet and Randall William Cook, author Steven Smith, and Arnold Kunert -- The men offer very detailed information on the filmmaking and stop-motion animation process as the film goes by in a very conversational manner. Ray Harryhausen, in particular, offers up many informative anecdotes about the film's production. One interesting bit of trivia that can be gleaned form the audio commentary is the fact that Harryhausen had not actually met the film's young actor Richard Eyer (The Genie) until only a couple of years ago. Because of the scheduling, all of the location filming in Spain, where Harryhausen was, used a young Spanish double in his Eyer's place, while Eyer did all of his filming on the set in the US with director Nathan Juran.
Remembering The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1.78:1/standard definition) -- Ray Harryhausen reminisces on the production of Sinbad and his inspiration for doing the film. In the process, he offers up much information on the special effects techniques he employed during the filming.
The Harryhausen Legacy (1.78:1/standard definition)-- John Landis and many visual effects artists speak of Harryhausen's influence on their work.
The Music of Bernard Herrmann (1.78:1/standard definition) -- Music historian Steve Smith offers up an historical account of the legendary composer's music and tells of how he and Ray Harryhausen first came to collaborate.
Photo Gallery -- A montage of stills from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad set to the film's score by Bernard Hermann.
"Sinbad May Have Been Bad, But He's Been Good to Me" Music Video -- A promotional 45rpm recording created for the 1958 holiday season release ad campaign for Sinbad. The song is played back to a montage of promotional posters.
A Look Behind the Voyage (4:3/standard definition) -- This is an archival television documentary on the career of Ray Harryhausen.
This is Dynamation (Special Effects) (4:3/standard definition) -- A classic 1958 promo highlighting the film's special effects.
Ray Harryhausen -- Interviewed by Director John Landis (4:3/standard definition) -- John Landis interviews Ray Harryhausen in what is am ore a friendly discussion in which Landis it is obvious that Landis holds Harryhausen in very high esteem. Harryhausen once again details much of the techniques he used in the filming of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and many of his other films.
Previews (high definition) -- Promotional spots for upcoming and currently available Sony Blu-ray releases:
Casino Royale -- Promo for the upcoming 2-Disc Collector's Edition
Men in Black
The Waterhorse: Legend of the Deep
BD-Live -- This disc is BD-Live enabled for users with BD-Live (Profile 2.0) capable players. The BD-Live features available on this release so far are just promos for other Blu-ray releases from Sony, and offer nothing of any real added value.
Even with the current state of digital special effects the stop-motion miniatures of Dynamation, also called Dynarama, are incredible. It is amazing to see the kind of magic that special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen was able to wrest from his miniatures. When wires were required to support certain features I was unable to find them even when searching for them.
This 1958 movie was the first of three Sinbad movies for which Ray Harryhausen created special effects. However, as has been said by many others, Harryhausen's special effects often did as much acting as the actors themselves, showing emotions and often intent, and the blend of special effects and live acting turns movies such as this into a viewing experience.
In this movie Sinbad (Kerwin Matthews) is on a quest to find the egg of a Roc to return his love Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant, soon to be Mrs. Crosby at that time), who has been reduced to miniature size, back to her full height. Sokurah the Magician (Torin Thatcher), who needs a piece of Roc egg in order to restore the Princess to her full height, sent Sinbad on this quest. Only the audience knows that Sokurah reduced the Princess to force Sinbad to go on the quest. Sokurah's ulterior motive is that a magic lamp containing a genie is on the same island as the Roc egg, and Sokurah plans to obtain the lamp during the quest.
During the quest to find the Roc egg we meet a cloven-hoofed Cyclops, a full grown two-headed Roc and a Roc chick, a marvelously animated dragon, and an incredible skeleton in a fight sequence with outstanding human actor interface.
While this movie is rated G, I recall when I was much younger that it was movies such as these that generated more than one nightmare, so you may want to consider whether younger members of the family should be permitted to watch this movie.
The DVD also contains several excellent features for Ray Harryhausen fans. There is a feature titled the "Ray Harryhausen Chronicles" that is an interview with Ray that includes an overview of his life along with a variety of film clips and stills. Also included are portions of his first storybook shorts, including the final one that he started, "The Tortoise and the Hare," but never completed. I thought the Ray Harryhausen related features were worth the value of the DVD alone. However, I have been a Harryhausen fan since the 60s.
The special effects featurette "This is Dynamation" is suitably campy and reminded me of the over-hyped style of 50s movies. Viewers whose primary language is Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean will find subtitles available.
This DVD has a lot to offer to fans of Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion photography, fantasy, and Sinbad. This DVD is also contained in the "Sinbad Collection," which includes Harryhausen's other two Sinbad movies and offers a reduced price per DVD for the three DVD set.
on December 23, 1999
I saw this film at the theater when it first came out, during the Golden Age of Ray Harryhausen. Only about six or seven years old at the time, I spent much of the film hiding under my seat (especially after catching my first glimpse of that grumpy one-eyed cyclops). But my appreciation of all those dazzling, full-color Dynarama special effects (Harryhausen's best work in my opinion) stayed with me well into my adult years. So it was with great joy that I found and ordered this beautiful DVD edition. The picture clarity, sound, special added features, etc. make this classic movie a must-have for any fantasy/sci-fi fans. Order it now!