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Rated G
Copyright 1958 Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 23 April 2005

The Characters:  

  • Captain Sinbad - The hero is skilled at both sailing and fighting. He does not seem to inspire many men, but his close retainers are loyal. The main thing to remember is that, no matter what happens, this man's hair stays perfect.
  • Princess Parisa - Sinbad loves her, because she is pretty.
  • Harufa - I think this was the name of Sinbad's trusty assistant. Skewered.
  • Barani - A magic genie who appears to be a young boy! (This just begs a Michael Jackson joke, but I am going pass.)
  • Sokurah - Evil magician who cannot swim and might be Catholic. Mashed flat.
  • The Cyclops - There are several of these brutes living on the island, and they all like to play "whack a sailor." One of them learns that having a single eye is an evolutionary disadvantage.
  • The Two-Headed Roc - This species' fatal flaw was its poor nesting habits. Apparently, adult rocs build nests, but lay their eggs on barren mountainsides. Maybe all of the cyclops died out from high cholesterol levels?
  • The Dragon - Though one of the less common, wingless species, this monster serves as Sokurah's watchdog. Killed by a giant ballista.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

The story begins with Sinbad and his crew sailing in a murky darkness. Seemingly on a whim, the intrepid captain orders a depth sounding taken. The men are astounded at the shallow water until their leader calls out that he sees an island. They pile ashore to restock their vessel's supplies. While retrieving fresh water from a spring, they discover giant cloven footprints. Since the men have no common sense at all, they follow the spoor to a giant stone mouth. Pretty soon Sokurah comes dashing out of the edifice, with a towering cyclops striding after him. The giant must be over twenty feet in height, with a large horn and goat legs. Sinbad leads the men in a "fighting withdrawal," but the magician's magic lamp is what really saves the day. Summoned by Sokurah, Barani cartwheels across the beach, creating a wall of impenetrable force in his wake. The cyclops is reduced to throwing rocks at the fleeing men, one of which overturns their boat (big monsters throw big rocks). The magic lamp sinks to the bottom of the bay as everyone struggles to climb back into the boat. The last that the humans see of the lamp is after the cyclops retrieves it from the water and stalks back through the stone arch.

Sokurah spends almost every waking moment trying to figure out how to convince his rescuers to return to the island. He does not cease his scheming after they arrive in Baghdad; instead, he asks one favor of the caliph, "Equip me with a ship to return to the island of Collossa." This gets tedious after a while; it seems like the magician should have a string coming out of his back.

Meanwhile, the hero and Parisa spend their time acting really lovey-dovey. This also gets tedious, with the two betrothed protagonists pouring lyrical honey all over each other. Come on, you know how annoying people can be when they are in love and have eyes only for each other. These two are the pinnacle of annoying lovebirds.

After trying everything he can, the magician works his craft on Parisa. The princess wakes to find herself only a few inches tall (quite luckily, he shrunk her proportionally). Sinbad and the others rush to her bedside and stare in disbelief. The Sultan of Chandra (Parisa's father) is outraged. The groom to be is likewise aghast at this sudden misfortune. Undoubtedly, he was thinking something along the lines of, "Boy, that will never fit."

No, the above epiphany never occurred to me as a young boy. Ah, innocence.

There is but one remedy for the princess' condition and that is a potion made from a roc's egg. The huge birds build their nests on the Island of Collossa, so the magician has finally found a way to coerce his hosts into returning. Unfortunately, not many men are willing to crew a ship destined for an island filled with deadly creatures. Sinbad is forced to recruit men from the local prison. Anyone who has ever seen a movie with prisoners forced into becoming a ship's crew know what is going to happen. You got it, the prisoners mutiny and the loyal crewman are locked in the hold. The situation is quickly reversed when the ship passes too near an atoll full of screaming demons (think sirens singing "Puberty Love). The mission to Collossa continues.

You have to understand that the main human plot elements are largely disposable. And, to boot, two of them are redundant. Sinbad loves Parisa (gads, do we know that). He would undertake a dangerous quest to restore her to full size without any other impetus. There is no need for the Sultan to threaten war over his daughter's sudden miniaturization. Since the plot's entire reason for existence is to maneuver the humans into scenes where the dynamation monsters can take over, all you need is the basics. One hero, one beautiful maiden, one evil wizard, and a mutinous crew full of idiots. There, go to town with the monsters.

Once on the island, Sinbad's party is captured by a cyclops. One poor fellow is tied to a spit above a fire, while the others watch from their cage. Sokurah happens by, but he leaves the group for dead while searching, and finding, the magic lamp. Two separate events happen. One is that Sokurah's men start drinking from a stream which is filled with wine, vice water (make that Jack Daniel's and I will immediately embark on an expedition to find the island). The alcohol muddles their brains and they attack the cyclops. The huge brute gleefully plays "whack a sailor." The second development is that Sinbad asks Parisa to move the bolt that holds the cage shut. Oops, I forgot to mention that: the tiny princess is resident inside of a little TARDIS that her betrothed carries stashed inside his belt. I have asked a couple of marriage counselors if this represents a healthy relationship. They all just stare at me. I think that means no.

Parisa also climbs into the magic lamp and meets Barani. The genie begs for help, showing her an inscription on the inside of the lamp. It contains cryptic details on how the genie's indentured servitude can be broken. Funny thing, the solution involves arson. Barani also tells the princess the magic words needed to call him from the lamp.

The expedition does eventually find a roc egg. Two men, who are hungry, crack the egg open and kill the two-headed chick that issues forth. The chick was not a mutant, because adult rocs have two heads. However, if you found a regular sized chick with two heads, you would probably throw it against the nearest wall. Anyway, the sailors begin cooking the slain fowl. In a show of boneheadedness, they cook it right where they found the egg. The mommy roc shows up and kills most of the men. Sinbad's last loyal retainer is speared by Sokurah (they were wrestling for the magic lamp), while our hero is carried away with the lamp in hand. He wakes to find himself unharmed, with the lamp, in a nest.

Stuck in a roc's nest with a magic lamp. What to do?

As everyone should expect, Sinbad summons Barani and asks for help in rescuing the princess. The genie tells him where Sokurah took his betrothed, then says, "I'll meet you at the base of the mountain." That is exactly the problem with this whole genie thing. Oh, Barani will help you, but first you have to climb down from a dangerous mountaintop (and the genie does not leave him a rope or anchors). Sinbad does reach the magician's cave, where he finds a dragon acting as the fortress' guardian. I believe that the creature is there to keep out any curious cyclops that might come poking around. However, the dragon is chained to the wall and the chain's slack is controlled by a huge wheel. The cyclops have demonstrated the ability to build wooden cages; why are they unable to operate the wheel?

Once inside the cave, Sinbad forces Sokurah to restore Parisa to her former size. Then he attempts to whisk her away, but the magician has other plans. Sokurah animates a skeleton and instructs it to kill the Arabian hero. The fight that follows is pretty darn slick, but it would never have happened if I were Sinbad. The moment the annoying magician started waving his hands and saying, "Kill - kill him!" (it takes about a minute for Sokurah to get the skeleton animated), I would turn around and stab him in the throat.

During their escape, Parisa convinces her true love to drop the magic lamp into a river of molten lava. This is in hopes of freeing Barani from his eternal slavery.

Possibly one of my favorite stop motion sequences of all time plays out near the film's end. As Sinbad and his soon to be bride flee toward their ship, a cyclops attempts to enter Sokurah's cave. The dragon breaks its chain and attacks the giant humanoid. After that snack, the massive reptile obeys Sokurah's command to pursue Sinbad. Unfortunately, the magician forgets about the huge ballista (that he designed), which is waiting on the beach.

The reason I love Harryhausen's films is the truly fantastic monsters. First you watch a gargantuan two-headed bird snap at the men and then a sinuous dragon stalks across the landscape. This film was one of my favorites as a child. Seeing it again takes me back to my mother's living room floor, with a lanky eight year-old boy watching, transfixed, as fantastic beasts come alive on the television. I have always loved monster movies and Ray Harryhausen's creations are, were, and will be amazing. Ray, you are one of a kind; from whimsical adults and children the world over - thank you.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Just because you found huge, cloven footprints does not mean you should follow them.
  • Bathroom glass is made by Arabian genies.
  • Sometimes magic involves a live cobra and playdoh.
  • Cyclops are expert whittlers.
  • Being cooked alive is very tiring.
  • Fitness trainers are actually genies in disguise.
  • People often fall to their deaths.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 2 mins - Check it out, he is wearing his lettermen's jacket.
  • 17 mins - Which pair is getting married?
  • 21 mins - "I see Americans and tanks!"
  • 30 mins - This is when you sort out the mother stabbers from the father rapers and forgo hiring the latter.
  • 41 mins - They could steer a lot better if the guy with the bucket would cut it out.
  • 50 mins - Rotisserie! Mmm, mmm, good.
  • 58 mins - And I suppose that was left there by a really big white rabbit...
  • 81 mins - What if she misinterpreted the inscription? Barani would be hating life right now.


  • Sinbad: "Good news, my princess, we have the eggshell which will make the potion effective."
    Little Parisa: "Your words are happy, but your face is sad. Why are you troubled Sinbad?"
    Sinbad: "I do not trust the magician. Our only hold over him is this magic lamp and he alone knows the secret of its power."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note sinbad7th1.wav Parisa: "And do you love me just to save Baghdad from destruction?"
Sinbad: "I love, because I cannot do otherwise. Your eyes are mightier than all your father's armies."
Green Music Note sinbad7th2.wav Sinbad: "I am Captain Sinbad; I am here with an offer of freedom. I have come to raise a crew, for the hard and dangerous voyage to the island of Collossa."
Prisoner: "The land of the cyclops! We may be thieves and murderers, but we're not fools!"
Green Music Note sinbad7th3.wav Sokurah: "I alone know the words that will summon the protection of the genie. Therefore, I should have the lamp."
Sinbad: "I do not trust you."
Green Music Note sinbad7th4.wav Barani teaches Parisa the chant to summon him from the lamp.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipsinbad7th1.mpg - 2.4m
The awesome battle between the cyclops and the dragon. The huge biped does well at first, but eventually all those teeth get the better of him.

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