Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Cinematic Voyages of Sinbad

As I've got the legendary Persian sailor on the brain of late, I've been re-viewing some of the Sinbad flix in my collection.

Tonight, I watched the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. version, Sinbad the Sailor, for the first time (bought a VHS copy off Amazon for 3 bucks). Although it was surprisingly talky and utterly devoid of fantasy elements, I rather enjoyed it.

As I mentioned above, it was very dialogue-driven, but what dialogue! Anthony Quinn made a fine evil Emir, and Maureen O'Hara may have been unconvincing as an Arabian woman, but was, as always, lovely to behold.

It was also fun to see some of RKO's stock film noir personalities in atypical roles -- Sheldon Leonard as an auctioneer, Jane Greer as a harem girl, and Mike Mazurski as a loyal member of Sinbad's crew.

My favorite cinematic voyage, though, is the second of Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad Trilogy, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. While the monsters in 7th Voyage of Sinbad are cooler (nothing beats the Cyclops!), John Phillip Law is the least whitebread of the cinematic Sinbads, and the only one who plays him with any depth of personality, not to mention an accent! Also in the plus column is the delicious Caroline Munroe, the slyly evil Tom Baker and the sword-slinging statue of Kali!

The worst version – although still entertaining in a twisted sort of way – is the 80's Italian film starring Lou Ferrigno, Sinbad of the Seven Seas. Yeah, that's right: the Hulk followed up his two inane/insane Italian Hercules films with an even more bizarro Sinbad adventure. It really must be seen to be believed, and it is on DVD. (It must be admitted: I own it.)

With each viewing, I become less enamored of the similarly-titled Dreamworks animated film, Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas, with Brad Pitt. It's beautifully designed and animated, but it grates on me that the filmmakers chose to make the classic Arabian Nights character into a European, specifically a Greek. That, and the cheesy contemporized dialogue, which really didn't work in this case.

I discovered a while ago that the first season of the syndicated Adventures of Sinbad television series starring Zen Gesner is available on DVD in Canada. I enjoyed the few episodes I managed to catch when it originally aired, so I'm going to try and scrape up the dinars to buy it.

All of this viewing is in preparation, of course, for my long-planned Sinbad comics project with Eduardo Barreto, which I hope to start scripting next month... just as soon as the promised contracts are signed.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.


universal swordsman said...

I seem to recall another Sinbad movie starring Patrick Wayne and the always lovely Jane Seymour.

Christopher Mills said...

Yep, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. IMO, the weakest of the Harryhausen trilogy, tho Jane looked especially delectable...

John Platt said...

Ooo, Eduardo Barreto! It doesn't get much better!