The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
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)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Jason And The Argonauts, Golden Voyage Of Sinbad
|Year Of Production||1958|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Nathan Juran|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
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.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, 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|