THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD
THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD ($28) is another DVD that no Ray Harryhausen will be able to do without. Matching the superb work they had done with JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, Columbia TriStar delivers another first rate DVD that does justice to one of the premiere works of the master of stop-motion special effects. Letís hope fans wonít have long to wait for DVD editions of other Harryhausen classics like FIRST MEN IN THE MOON, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA and EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS.
THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD is an enjoyable, but simplistic adventure yarn that exists primarily as a vehicle to bring Harryhausenís stop-motion creations to life. The plot of THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD centers on the impending nuptial between Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) and the Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), a marriage that will secure a lasting peace between Bagdad and Chandra. On the voyage back to Bagdad, Sinbadís ship becomes lost at sea and ends up on the Island of Colossus, which is home of the gigantic Cyclops. Barely escaping with their lives, Sinbad and his crew rescue Sokurah the Magician (Torin Thatcher) from the raging Cyclops. While fleeing the Cyclops, Sokurah loses his magic lamp to the one eyed giant, so the magician wishes to return to the island. Unable to convince Sinbad or the Caliph of Bagdad to give him a ship so that he can get back to the island, Sokurah devises an evil plot that insures his chances to retrieve the magic lamp. To protect the peace and save his bride from a terrible fate, Sinbad is forced to Voyage back to Colossus. Upon their return to the island, Sinbad and his crew not only have to contend with the Cyclops, but also with a giant two-headed bird known as the Roc and a fire-breathing dragon. All of Harryhausenís creations are beautifully brought to life, plus THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD features a nifty skeleton fight that continues to be duplicated till this day (most recently in the remake of THE MUMMY). The cast of THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD includes Richard Eyer, Alec Mango, Danny Green, Harold Kasket, Alfred Brown and Nana DeHerrera.
Columbia TriStar Home Video has made THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD available on DVD in wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD is presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looks astonishingly good for a 1958 production. Sharpness and detail are quite good and color reproduction is very pleasing. The hues donít have the intensity of an IB Technicolor print, but the level of saturation is good and flesh tones are appealing. There are no problems with either chroma noise or the bleeding of hot colors. Blacks are faithfully recreated and contrast is usually smooth, however there are some instances where it takes on a slight harshness. Owning to the age of the film and the technology involved with producing the special effect, film grain does become noticeable in places. Digital compression artifacts did not adversely affect the image.
The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is pretty clean sounding for its age. Dialogue is always intelligible, but the frequency response for the music is somewhat limited. Additionally, there is a mild bit of hiss on the track, but it isnít distracting. Most Bernard Herrmann fans will want to amplify the soundtrack for the composerís terrific score. Spanish and Portuguese language soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD. Subtitles have been provided in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai.
The interactive menus look nice, but are relatively basic. Through the menu system, one will have access to the standard scene selection and set up features. The DVDís extensive supplements are also accessible through the menus. A Look Behind the Voyage is a twelve-minute featurette that focuses of THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD and includes on camera interviews with Ray Harryhausen, producer Charles H. Schneer and actor Kerwin Mathews. Jason And The Argonauts features Harryhausen and director John Landis who interviews the special effects wizard, asking specific questions about the production of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. This Is Dynamation is a short promotional feature explaining the process Harryhausen used to create the filmís special effects.
Ray Harryhausen Chronicles is an hour-long documentary chronicling Harryhausenís career and is hosted by Leonard Nimoy. This particular feature alone makes this DVD a must have for any Harryhausen fan, especially since it could have been released on its own and not as a supplement. Theatrical trailers are provided for THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, THE 3 WORLDS OF GULLIVER, JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA and THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD. Talent files and an original theatrical poster fill out the DVDís supplements.
THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD is a great Harryhausen movie and Columbia TriStar Home Video has produced a great Harryhausen DVD. Absolutely recommended.
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