Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)
Theatrical Trailer-1.78:1 not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:08)
Trailer-Jason and the Argonauts; The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
Featurette-Ray Harryhausen Chronicles (57:58)
Featurette-This is Dynamation (3:26)
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1977|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (79:42)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Sam Wanamaker|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
So we get to what was the last of the Sinbad films from the production team of Charles H. Schneer and Ray Harryhausen. Indeed, thanks to a certain other film released in the same year that changed the face of adventure films for all time, this was the second last film that featured the effects work of the legendary Ray Harryhausen. Chronically underfunded, the film was not a patch on the earlier films - and when you consider what they were like, you can guess that this one is not real good. Even devotees of the man and his work will agree that this is not a classic film by any stretch of his imagination (and Ray Harryhausen's imagination was bigger than most).
The story starts in Charak, where Prince Kassim (Damien Thomas) is about to be crowned caliph. Resident villain Zenobia (Margaret Whiting) has other ideas, and these involve her son Rafi (Kurt Christian) being caliph instead. Cue a piece of sorcery and Kassim is no longer able to be crowned. At the same time, Kassim's close friend Captain Sinbad (Patrick Wayne) returns to town with his crew. They find the town strangely changed...and promptly attract the attention of Zenobia and the evil forces she can summon. However, with Sinbad's love interest, Princess Farah (Jane Seymour), in tow, he and the crew escape to their ship to put together plans for the next day. There, Sinbad learns the story of what has happened to Kassim and that there seems nothing that can be done about it. However, there emerges one hope - a sorcerer of some legend status named Melanthius (Patrick Troughton - another Doctor Who!). He happens to live in an equally mythical and legendary place named Hyperboria, which is going to take no mean effort to get to. So Sinbad and entourage head off in search of the legend - with Zenobia in hot pursuit in her metal boat rowed by a gleaming bronze statue called Minaton, brought to life through a golden heart. Naturally, the good guys encounter several trials to get to their destination, but that is nothing in comparison to actually finding Melanthius once they reach Hyperboria. However, that proves relatively easy once they find Dione (Taryn Power), daughter of Melanthius, who happens to become the main contact with Kassim in his current form. The rest of the story should be fairly obvious, as Sinbad overcomes the obstacles thrown at him by all and sundry.
As is so usual with these films, the story is pretty average but that is hardly the point usually. However, in this case it is, for the screenplay was brought to life by the most untalented bunch of actors to ever grace a Sinbad film. It starts badly when the star credit is given to Patrick Wayne - the untalented son of one of the greatest stars but worst actors to ever grace Hollywood. Add into the mix Taryn Power, daughter of Tyrone Power, who despite looking the goods barely made a blip in the firmament of Hollywood film. Then it gets worse with the appallingly untalented Jane Seymour whose best métier is to be found on the small screen, not the large one. Even the producers must have recognised the uphill battle they faced with this cast, for they took every opportunity to have Taryn Power and Jane Seymour parade around with minimal clothing. It didn't work - but certainly livened the proceedings a bit.
This is not the best film even by Sinbad standards, but still the film has (just) enough to warrant a view or two - just don't turn your brain on when you do so.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is quite sharp throughout, and that is quite possibly its biggest problem. It makes the effects work really obvious and only Blind Freddie would not be able to pick where the optical compositing has taken place. The digital medium so exposes the effects work it simply is not funny. One of the classic instances is around the 73:00 mark where the background can be quite clearly seen through the spear held by Minaton - the spear itself having variable width and definition as a result, with it virtually disappearing at one point. Yes, the budget on this film was very low! Being the most recent of the Sinbad films, however, does mean that the source material is much better and the overall impression is positive enough (after allowing for the glaringly obvious effects work). Detail is a little too good at times (highlighting the effects work again) and shadow detail seems very reasonable. Grain is a bit of an issue on occasion (such as at 49:03) although this is more than likely inherent in the source material owing to the animation techniques employed. Clarity was pretty good overall, though. There did not seem to be any issues with low level noise.
The transfer generally shows up its merit in the colours, which are generally quite bright and almost vibrant. There are portions where this is not the case, but in general a decent palette is on offer which is reasonably natural looking. Blacks could perhaps have had a bit more depth to them, and certainly the consistency in the transfer is an issue: during some of the effects sequences, the colour drop-off is rather noticeable. Even though the colours do get quite bright at times, there is nothing that really smacks of getting close to oversaturated. There did not seem to be any issues with colour bleed, either.
There did not seem to be any issues with MPEG artefacts in the transfer, and even film-to-video artefacts are noticeable by their relative absence. At best (or is that worst?), the only issue is some minor shimmer here and there. The film artefacts are much reduced here too, although you will still find modest displays of specks, hairs and minor film damage floating around.
This is apparently an RSDL formatted DVD, and the layer change might be at 79:42. Well, it is either a layer change or there is a slight glitch in the film - it just seems to pause very briefly. Of course, with the difficulty I have with identifying layer changes on my player, I could be completely wrong.
There is a good selection of subtitles on this DVD. This time, the English efforts are somewhat better, although they still miss out things here and there in order to fit everything onto the screen.
There are five soundtracks on this DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. They are all mono soundtracks, and I stuck with the English soundtrack. On the balance of things, I am not sure that the stilted dialogue would not have been better in one of the other languages.
The dialogue is generally very good and easy to understand. Audio sync seemed to fine, although once or twice I just felt that it might be wandering off somewhere (all of which is probably source material related).
The music score comes from Roy Budd. It did little for me, other than keep hinting at a borrowed theme from another film. I would guess that makes it derivative, hardly surprising given the budget this film was made on.
There is nothing in the way of obvious problems to really detract from the soundtrack. It simply has a slightly dated sound to it. Once again, there were no notes made during the review session, indicating that it is serviceable enough.
|Surround Channel Use|
On paper this would seem to be a good extras package, but when you consider that we have seen the biggest part of it before...
Nothing really exciting here, but at least it is functional.
Theatrical Trailer (2:08)
Rather unusually, this is the same trailer that appeared on The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad. Accordingly, the presentation is the same: aspect ratio of 1.85:1, no 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It is also therefore blessed with film artefacts and grain.
Trailers - 2
Featuring a couple of other Ray Harryhausen classics: The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (2:52) and Jason And The Argonauts (1:26). The former is of course the same one we also saw on The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad and is presented in what is presumed to be a Pan and Scan format, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with some rather ropey Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The soundtrack features a bit more distortion than what we would normally expect, which adds to a video transfer that is decidedly showing its age. Plenty of film artefacts and some paucity in the quality of the colour really mean that this looks its age.. The latter, also previously seen, is presented in a Full Frame format, also not 16x9 enhanced and also with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. This is the re-release trailer and really should be better looking than it is here.
Narrated by Leonard Nimoy, this is a quite extensive look at the work of the effects master Ray Harryhausen, with input from such names as Ray Bradbury and George Lucas. It is presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. For aficionados of film effects, this is a great summation of the development of the art by the legend himself. It shows how effects work developed across the films he did, from the original Mighty Joe Young through to the film that created Rachel Welch, 1,000,000 Years B.C.. The only problem is that we have seen the featurette before - indeed, all the way back to the first DVD I reviewed for the site in Jason And The Argonauts. This is the worst kind of filler as a result - recycled extras - for I am quite sure that anybody really interested in this would already have the original release, as it is a far more watchable film.
Featurette - This Is Dynamation (3:26)
A promotional style presentation that was presumably shown at cinemas to explain what this "system" was all about. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing really wonderful about it other than being an interesting bit of cinematic history.
Filmographies - Cast and Crew
Covering Ray Harryhausen, Sam Wanamaker, Patrick Wayne, Taryn Power, Margaret Whiting and Jane Seymour, which is pretty much the main cast for the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The equivalent Region 1 release of the DVD was once again released some time ago. As far as I can ascertain, the Region 4 release misses out on:
There is nothing much to choose between the Region 4 and Region 1 releases.
Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger is by far and away the least enjoyable of the Sinbad films. The film's major problem is that the animatronic baboon has more acting ability than more than half the main cast, although the extremely low budget is clearly demonstrated in the poor looking effects work. This is by no means the fault of Ray Harryhausen, but the other film of the year really did put the master out of business. He only made one more film before stop motion animation almost ceased to exist as an effects tool. Whilst the presence of two attractive supporting actresses in various states of undress certainly aided the film, it is not enough to make this a really worthwhile watch. Not the most memorable trip down memory lane you will ever take - aside from Jane Seymour naked.
|DVD||Denon DVD-1600, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|