Overall | The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) | The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) | Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Sinbad: Ultimate Collector's Pack

Sinbad: Ultimate Collector's Pack

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Released 26-Aug-2003

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Overall Package

    This box set gathers together the three films of the Sinbad series that featured the work of effects guru Ray Harryhausen. To anyone with an interest in visual effects, that is about all you need to know in order to indulge in this particular set.

    Despite the advances in special effects work, the stop motion animation work of Ray Harryhausen remains essential viewing for anyone in the effects industry. However, the reason to indulge in this box set is not just restricted to the work of the guru but also the films themselves. Whilst hardly likely to be confused with genuine classics of cinema, the films themselves are classics for another reason - the evocation of those wonderful days of the Saturday afternoon matinee.

    Switch the brain off and just enjoy the swashbuckling action and adventure. If you don't switch off the brain you might spend too much time worrying about the plot holes, the age of the films, the lack of quality acting and a variety of other imperfections that the films wear on their proverbial sleeve. With the brain switched off, those glorious days of the Saturday afternoon matinee come flooding back with ease and the enjoyment can be had whenever you wish.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Other Reviews
DVD Net - Jules F

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Overall | The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) | The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) | Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

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Released 2-May-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Gallery-Poster
Featurette-A Look Behind The Voyage (11:48)
Featurette-Jason And The Argonauts (11:54)
Featurette-This Is Dynamation (3:27)
Featurette-Ray Harryhausen Chronicles (57:58)
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Jason And The Argonauts, Golden Voyage Of Sinbad
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1958
Running Time 84:34
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Nathan Juran
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Kerwin Mathews
Kathryn Grant
Richard Eyer
Torin Thatcher
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $36.95 Music Bernard Herrmann


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Regular readers of these pages may remember that the first review of mine that graced this site way back (well it seems like it) in August, 1999 was of Columbia TriStar's release Jason and The Argonauts. At the time, I found that Jason and The Argonauts was a welcome return to those glorious days of the Saturday matinee, when as kids we lived for such films that not only spirited us away to magical worlds and stories, but also held us in wonder with their dazzling effects. Of course, back when we were kids, we were not too concerned that the genius behind those effects was Ray Harryhausen. But older, and hopefully a little wiser, we now recognize how great the work of Ray Harryhausen was, and indeed still is, and the fact that he almost single-handedly elevated the art of special effects to a new plane, influencing whole generations of special effects artists in the process. And whilst I would personally suggest that the advent of a second Ray Harryhausen extravaganza onto Region 4 DVD is about eight months overdue, I nonetheless welcome another of his great films - there was no way that I was missing out on reviewing it! Okay, this really is another piece of B-grade matinee fodder, but who cares when we get to see more of Ray Harryhausen's work on display.

    Like most of Ray Harryhausen's films, the story leaves just a little to be desired, but to be brutal, they are B-grade matinee films and we were not really looking for Leo Tolstoy here. This incarnation of the Harryhausen extravaganza obviously highlights that great seafarer in Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews). Having arranged a treaty between his home of Baghdad and Chandra, Sinbad gets the prize of a new bride in Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant). During their voyage home to Baghdad, and a wedding, they become desperate for food and water, discovering just in time an island - but no ordinary island. This island is Colossus, home of the Cyclops and the legendary bird, the Roc. It also happens to be the secret hideaway of mysterious Sokurah the Magician (Torin Thatcher). Having discovered the Cyclops, Sinbad and his crew make a narrow escape but in the process Sokurah loses the magic lamp (and the genie therein) that he controls. Upon their return to Baghdad, Sinbad is hailed a hero and everything is swell until Sokurah demands a ship to return to Colossus to find the lost lamp. With the Caliph (Alec Mango) less than supportive, Sokurah forces the issue by casting an evil spell on Parisa, causing her to shrink to minute proportions. In order to reverse the spell, Sinbad must travel to Colossus to find the last ingredient for a magic potion, and along the way face the dangers of the Cyclops, a fire breathing dragon, a sword swinging skeleton, the legendary two headed Roc and a magician hell bent on getting his lamp. In the process, Sinbad also manages to set free Baronni the genie (Richard Eyer).

    Okay, in the light of forty odd years of films that have gone by since this film was released in 1958, there are more than enough obvious plot holes here, as well as numerous technical glitches. But that is to ignore the impact of the film completely in the context of the time it was made. Although it was released in 1958, filming actually started around 1956 for it took Ray Harryhausen up to eighteen months to complete the special effects work on the film. At the time, they had barely ironed out the problems of stop motion animation with black and white film, let alone with colour film as used here. But Ray Harryhausen was never one to avoid a challenge, so whilst the effects may look a little amateurish nowadays, the results in 1958 parlance were staggering. And there is no doubt that a lot was learnt on this film that was used in putting together the infinitely more complex Jason and The Argonauts five years later. Whilst the acting here is quite decidedly B-grade, the whole effect was nonetheless a film that oozed matinee and should be remembered because of that.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    So it was started in 1956 and released in 1958 - the fact that this is showing its age a little is hardly to likely to surprise. However, just like the earlier release, the overall quality of the video transfer is good, indicating that Columbia TriStar have spent some time in restoring the original.

    The video transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced. Interestingly, the Internet Movie Database lists the theatrical aspect ratio as being 1.37:1, but I would suspect that in this instance that may be incorrect.

    Just like the earlier release, there are some problems with softness and grain in the transfer. Whilst the transfer is in general reasonably sharp, there are a number of short sequences of softness in focus, which is probably a reflection of problems with the original film rather than any mastering problem. Counterbalancing the short periods of softness, however, are some periods of some quite surprisingly sharp sequences that belie the age of the film. Obviously, with the limitations of stop motion animation techniques forty-odd years ago, and the less than consistent nature of the relatively recent widespread switch to colour film stock, we do end up with a fair degree of grain in the transfer, and this is heightened during the stop motion animation sequences. Whilst it is quite noticeable, especially when the action switches between pure live action and stop motion sequences, I would not rate this as being unduly distracting to the overall film. Shadow detail is generally quite reasonable, clearly belying the age of the film. This is not what I would call a clear transfer, and overall the film stock is showing its age pretty well.

    Surprisingly, I found the colours here to be quite vivid at times and overall they are consistently rendered. Obviously, there is a degree of variation in colour during the stop motion sequences, but this is again an inherent problem with the technique at that time. But at its best this is, for its age, a quite vibrant transfer - and the opening credits are quite stunning in this regard. I would have to say that overall, the colours here are slightly better than in Jason and The Argonauts.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen and there were no apparent film-to-video artefacts: most of the problems here I would say are nothing to do with the mastering but rather due to the inherent problems with film stock bordering on 45 years of age. These were mainly manifested in the odd scratch mark in the transfer. Obviously film artefacts were present but overall far less than I was expecting and even those that were present were barely a distraction.

    The disc is a Dual Layer format disc, although no layer change was noted during the film. I would suspect that the film is mastered on one layer with the extras on the second layer.

Audio

    This is at best an adequate soundtrack, with minimal remastering having been done to the original mono soundtrack.

    There are five soundtracks on the DVD, all Dolby Digital 2.0 mono: the default English soundtrack, plus French, German, Italian and Spanish. I listened to the default English soundtrack, with some very brief sampling of the other soundtracks.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    There seemed to be some very minor audio sync problems during the film, but from my recollection this was a problem in the original film and therefore is not a mastering problem. It is unlikely to be bothersome to most people.

    The music score comes from Bernard Herrmann, one of two soundtracks of his to be released in this batch of discs from Columbia TriStar Home Video (the other is Vertigo). Whilst he reached a pinnacle with his work for Vertigo, his effort here is by no means without merit and at times makes a suitably powerful contribution to the film with some suitably Middle Eastern sounds to match the location of the film.

    What could we really expect from a mono soundtrack of this vintage? Whilst it is mercifully free of distortion and is generally clear and quite bright sounding, obviously their is nothing in the way of support from any of the surround or bass channels. The mono sound is not without its charms, and it is far less front and centre sounding than some mono soundtracks I have heard. Overall, acceptable stuff without being anything too special.

Extras

    Well I suppose after setting some sort of standard with the release of Jason and The Argonauts it was necessary to dig out something at least as good for this release - and in general they have.

Menu

Theatrical Trailer

    This is of relatively poor quality only, presented in full frame, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound. The main problem is that the trailer is riddled with film artefacts, especially early on that detract a little from the effect, but probably no worse than we should expect for a forty plus year old film.

Other Theatrical Trailers

    These are of slightly better quality, reflecting their slightly later vintage, presented in full frame, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound. The trailers are for Jason and The Argonauts and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad: the latter is apparently a forthcoming release on Region 4 DVD.

Featurette - A Look Behind The Voyage (11:48)

    This is an interesting enough 11 minute interview, comprising interview segments from Ray Harryhausen, producer Charles H. Schneer and Kerwin Mathews, presented in full frame, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It gives some reasonably interesting snippets of information in regards to the making of the film in Spain. Note that at one point Kerwin Mathews refers to his co-star as Kathy Crosby - Kathryn Grant shortly after making this film married Bing Crosby and retired from show business. A nice addition to the package.

Featurette - Jason and The Argonauts (with John Landis) (11:54)

    This is also an interesting enough 11 minute interview, done in chat style by John Landis, presented in full frame, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. This is repeated from Jason and The Argonauts, but still remains a nice inclusion even if you already have that DVD, as well as being a nice disc filler.

Featurette - The Harryhausen Chronicles (narrated by Leonard Nimoy) (57:58)

    This is a quite extensive 57 minute look at the work of Ray Harryhausen, with input from such names as Ray Bradbury and George Lucas, presented in full frame, not 16x9 enhanced and 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.". This again however is repeated from Jason and The Argonauts, but still remains a d*** nice inclusion even if you already have that DVD, as well as being a nice disc filler. It was good to return to it again after nine months.

Featurette - This Is Dynamation (3:27)

    This is an almost insufferable studio pontification about the "dynamation" technique employed by Ray Harryhausen, redeemed only by the fact that amongst the promotional thrust of the thing, there is actually some reasonably interesting insight into how some effects were done - notably the shrinking arm effect. Presented in full frame, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Biographies

    Decent enough, albeit somewhat incomplete biographies for the main cast members and the director - plus of course Ray Harryhausen.

Gallery - Poster

    A singular still of the original promotional poster.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version misses out on:     The Region 1 version misses out on:     Personally, I would not consider the additional trailers sufficient inducement to indulge in the Region 1 version, but others may disagree.

Summary

    Whilst The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is in most respects not up to the quality of the later Jason and The Argonauts, Harryhausen fans will need no other reason to indulge in this disc. If you remember the fond days of Saturday afternoon matinees, then again you should need no other reason to indulge. All others - well worth casting your eyes over, even if it is not quite in the league of the earlier release.

    A good video transfer for its age.

    An acceptable audio transfer for its age

    A very good collection of extras, even if repetitive of the earlier release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, May 03, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Vincent C
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Jeff K
DVD Net - Jules F

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Overall | The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) | The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) | Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

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Released 26-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Gallery-Vintage Advertising
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:52)
Trailer-Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger; Jason and the Argonauts
Featurette-Mysterious Island (9:06)
Featurette-The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (5:21)
Featurette-Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (8:37)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 100:42
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gordon Hessler
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring John Phillip Law
Caroline Munro
Tom Baker
Case ?
RPI Box Music Miklos Rozsa


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It has almost been an eternity since I last managed to get hold of one of those classic B-grade adventure/fantasy films for review on DVD. It is only when you sit down to review one of these films that you really understand what was so exciting about the Saturday afternoon matinee as a kid. The lack of a serious story was never an impediment to the enjoyment of these romps through the fantasy worlds created. Back in those days of our youth, we really did not comprehend the full impact of the effects wizard that weaved his magic over these films: Ray Harryhausen. This master of visual effects performed miracle upon miracle in just about every film he was ever associated with. It might not look like it now, with the breathtaking digital effects that can seemingly pull off anything anyone can even dream of. I guess that is especially drummed home here: finished in 1973 and released in 1974, this predates by a mere four years the groundbreaking Star Wars: A New Hope that relegated the master's work almost to the scrapheap. The digital age really makes the master's work look second-rate, but if you can cast your mind back to indulge those wondrous days of the pre-digital age, this is nostalgia plus.

    A strange creature comes into sight of the ship of Sinbad (John Phillip Law) and drops upon its deck an unusual gold object, which Sinbad promptly calls his own. Despite the warnings of some of his crew, he keeps the object. After a strange occurrence with some bad weather and some rocks, Sinbad makes landfall at Marabia, whereupon he is met by the evil Prince Koura (Tom Baker) who claims the object as his own. After dodging Koura, Sinbad finds himself in the presence of the Grand Vizier of Marabia, who relates the woes of Marabia to Sinbad as they apply with respect of Koura. The Vizier also happens to have possession of another object that just so happens to mate with the one held by Sinbad. A leap of deductive reasoning sees the nature of the objects revealed and so Sinbad has a quest - with the Vizier in tow, along with a beautiful slave girl Margiana (Caroline Munro). A quest, a beautiful girl, a villain and a map - what more do you need for high adventure? And so it is that this unlikely collection go in search of the legendary lost island of Lemuria and whatever awaits them there.

    A very simple story, but the framework upon which the legendary master Ray Harryhausen could toss his latest wizardry with the effects. Done on a shoe string budget, there is nothing here that really ascends above B-grade - and that is why I love it so much! John Phillip Law could not act his way out of a paper bag, Caroline Munro does the beautiful slave girl to perfection (very, very easy on the eye!) and Tom Baker (he of Doctor Who fame) overacts so much that it borders on cringe-inducing. But what the heck - it is all done so well that I for one don't care, I just go along for the ride.

    This is not about great screenplays, nor about great scenery, magnificent cinematography or superb directing: this is all about Ray Harryhausen's effects and the nostalgia of those long since past days of the Saturday afternoon matinee. More please!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is quite clearly an unrestored transfer, as it features a fair dabbling of indications of its age. Still, it is by no means the worst that I have ever seen and the necessary allowances are readily made in order to enjoy the film as it was intended.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. This is of course the widescreen compromise of the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1.

    The transfer is pretty sharp throughout, and quite consistently so. Detail is quite good with only the odd scene here and there that displays something in the way of average shadow detail. This is entirely in keeping with expectations for the film - my recollection of this on VHS tape was pretty ordinary (being very polite). Grain is as usual a bit of an issue at times - this was an almost inevitable consequence of the effects work it seems. It gets especially bad around the 29:20 mark and is a tad distracting. Clarity as a result is somewhat reduced, but not unreasonably so.

    The colours are showing their age a little, with the general tone being a little understated. I would guess that this is the result of the age of the film, which is unavoidable short of a restoration. I did not find this much of an issue overall, but it is mentioned for completeness sake. At times, the transfer does display something approaching the bright tones that would have been seen during the original theatrical run of the film. Obviously blacks could do with a chunk more depth to them, but again this really does not impact the film that much. There is some obvious colour bleed during the final scenes at the fountain around 96:52, when the red colour gets a little intense.

    Quite surprisingly, the transfer is quite free of any obvious MPEG artefacts - the source material might not be the best, but care has been taken with the encoding. There is nothing that can be done about the plethora of film artefacts present during the transfer though. Specks, nicks, film damage, hairs - you name it, they are probably here. Only occasionally did these create disturbing blemishes, but their constant presence does wear thin. Film-to-video artefacts comprised some aliasing, such as in the trumpets at 10:40 and the steps at 13:49. They were not really that bad, but you may just notice them as I did.

    This is apparently an RSDL formatted DVD but I failed to notice where the layer change occurred.

    There is a good selection of subtitles on the DVD. Regrettably, the English efforts are not exactly on the mark. Quite a few times, the dialogue has been twisted to make it easier to get the subtitles on the screen - but this has come at the cost of changing some of the quaint English actually used in the film, slightly twisting the tone of the film accordingly.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five soundtracks on the 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. Whilst I only briefly sampled the other soundtracks, they all sound like the English effort in being mono efforts.

    The dialogue is generally okay and easy to understand, although the spells of Koura are obviously nonsensical anyway (and reputedly are a couple of inane sayings spoken backwards). The ravages of time on the mono soundtrack have robbed the dialogue a little though. Audio sync seemed to generally okay but with just a few hints here and there that it was not quite right (and almost certainly due to the source material).

    The music score comes from Miklos Rozsa, a well known composer of film scores over the years. This is quite decent but hardly the greatest and most memorable you will ever hear.

    The bottom line is that the sound for all its minor problems is probably as good as we could expect without a complete remastering and remixing (which I know some would have huge exception to, even though I would not). There is nothing in the way of obvious blemishes to really detract from the soundtrack, just an overall feel that this is an oldish, original soundtrack. There certainly are no remarks noted in my notebook to indicate any particular problems during the whole review session.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Not a bad package, although there really is not much that actually relates to the film!

Menu

    Nothing really exciting here, but at least it is functional.

Gallery - Vintage Advertising

    One still of the film poster and eight stills of lobby cards (remember those things?). Interesting in a nostalgic kind of way.

Filmographies - Cast and Crew

    One would have thought that this could at least extend past Ray Harryhausen, Gordon Hessler and John Phillip Law - after all, the main cast only comprised two more persons.

Theatrical Trailer (2:52)

    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.

Trailers - 2

    Featuring a couple of other Ray Harryhausen classics: Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger (2:08) and Jason And The Argonauts (1:26). The former is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It is well blessed with film artefacts and grain. The latter 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. The latter film is of course featured on the very first DVD I ever reviewed for this site and in itself recalls some nostalgic moments.

Featurette - Mysterious Island (9:06)

    Obviously nothing to do with the reviewed film, which sort of begs the question of "why?". Still, anytime Ray Harryhausen speaks, it is well worth listening to. This obviously deals with the making of the film Mysterious Island. This, and the two following featurettes, are all presented in the same format: Full Frame, not 16x9 enhanced and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Interesting look back at a film that I have not seen for a very long time.

Featurette - The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver (5:21)

    An interesting look at the problems of making the film, notably how to cheaply deal with the obvious size difference between Gulliver and the Lilliputians. Of course, the master's workaround for that problem was simple enough - just get your lead actor to position himself 200 yards in front of the rest of the cast so they all look in perspective from side on. Simple, cheap and effective - and probably not used in film since then! Nowadays, it would be blue screens, digital matting and god knows what else - at a cost that would be well and truly beyond the total budget for The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver.

Featurette - Earth vs The Flying Saucers (8:37)

    Rather than just Ray Harryhausen talking, this time we have Joe Dante asking the questions. Don't know that the presentation is any better as a result, but it remains an interesting recollection of the effects work on the film. Did they really just paint the wires that hold the model flying saucers out actually on the camera? Unbelievable!

R4 vs R1

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 this DVD was released some time ago. As far as I can ascertain, the Region 4 release misses out on:

    Unless you desperately need a Full Frame version of the film, there is nothing to choose between the Region 4 and Region 1 releases - but its presence does mean the long available Region 1 version is, at least in theory, the version of choice.

Summary

    The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad is another of those gorgeous evocations of a bygone age when a kid's life was ruled by the Saturday afternoon matinee. In its way, it is a classic - a classic by the simple expediency of being the sort of film that always had me thoroughly entertained for an afternoon. In the cold light of reality, the effects work is decidedly dated and the film itself is not really that terrific. But the work of Ray Harryhausen is always worthwhile checking out, just to marvel at what he could do with a budget that would not even cover the cost of the coffee cups at Industrial Light and Magic today. I cannot in all honesty say that I did not enjoy seeing the film again. Probably not one to keep The Matrix generation happy with, but for the slightly less young amongst us a wonderful trip down memory lane...

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Monday, July 07, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews
Web Wombat - James A
DVD Net - Jules F

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Overall | The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) | The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) | Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

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Released 26-Aug-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure 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
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 108:24
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (79:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sam Wanamaker
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Patrick Wayne
Taryn Power
Margaret Whiting
Jane Seymour
Case ?
RPI Box Music Roy Budd


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
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Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

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Plot Synopsis

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    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...

Menu

    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.

Featurette - The Harryhausen Chronicles (57:58)

    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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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