A major Columbia Pictures release in glorious Technicolor, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
was one of Hollywood's first modern fantasy action blockbusters. On a mission to rescue his fiancée, the Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), Kerwin Mathews acquits himself well as Sinbad, while Torin Thatcher is a suitably malevolent magician who has shrunken the princess in a bid to get Sinbad to undertake a perilous quest. Truth be told, no one remembers Ray Harryhausen films for the script or the acting; the real stars are the still impressive action set-pieces, a battle with a cyclops, a giant Roc, a dragon, and a duelling skeleton; this last anticipating a much more lavish battle with skeleton warriors in Jason and the Argonauts
. The cast may be all-American rather than Arab but even so, everything about this film works, from the fabulous set design of the Sultan's palace which evokes a real fairytale atmosphere, to Bernard Herrmann's truly classic score.
On the DVD: The film exhibits a strong anamorphically enhanced 1.85-1 ratio image, with powerful mono sound. At about 80 minutes, the extras last almost as long as the movie. The most important and extensive addition is "The Harryhausen Chronicles", a documentary, while "This is Dynamation" gives an introduction to the stop-motion animation process itself. Ray Harryhausen is an affable host, a modest man who talks engagingly about his work in a way that really makes one appreciate the sheer ingenuity and skill which went into making not just The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, but also Jason and the Argonauts, the subject of a further featurette on the disc. On top of this there are trailers for the aforementioned films, plus one for the disappointing but still fun Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Overall, a first-class film on an equally good DVD. --Gary S. Dalkin