Monday, January 19, 2009

Top Ten Movies # 5 - Golden Voyage of Sinbad

When I was a kid my father was posted to an army post in Lahr, West Germany and they had a great couple of theatres. On the weekend they would show several cartoons, a old movie serial, a B movie and then the main feature. We would be there for five hours at least and we were never let down. All the kids you knew would have the run of the place. At least every two months they would bring back the classic GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD - to me the best of the Ray Harryhausen special effects adventure films. The story is simple - Sinbad finds an intriguing map and sets sail for the previously uncharted island of Lemuria with a beautiful slave girl, Margianna, and the Grand Vizier of the land of Marabia. Prince Koura, an evil wizard who is trying to gain control of Marabia through his manipulation of malevolent spirits, follows in an effort to thwart Sinbad's quest. Awaiting them on the mysterious island is the Fountain of Destiny where "the gods smile on mortal men" and bestow youth, a cloak of darkness and best of all a crown of untold riches to whomever has the three peices to a golden amulet. Starring John Phillip Law as the famous Arabian hero and the most beautiful Caroline Munro as Marianna it was the exact kind of creature feature that still gives me smiles to this day. I know every line and I can only recite Star Wars like that. Even the villian - Prince Koura - played by Tom Baker is excellent. You almost hope for him to suceed and there were time when we actually thought he would no matter that we had seen the movie many time before. But lets not forget the creatures Harryhaussen created. From the eight armed goddess of Kali to the Griffin and Cyclops there is much eye candy to behold. Munro was the first actress I ever had a crush on and she is still THE model of beauty for this sad white boy. Even the side character are memorable. The Grand Vizier with his gold facemask is regal and impressive as is the drunk rich man's son Harroun who makes his journey from slacker to full fledge crewman. He also provides much of the movie's comedy relief. What amazed me the most was to learn that the entire film was completed for $982,351, a remarkably small sum even for a film in the early 1970s especially one with such elaborate stop-motion effects.

Sinbad: "Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel!"

Love this concept art.

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