Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (4½ Stars)

This is the second film in Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad trilogy, filmed in 1973, 15 years after the first part. A new actor steps into the role of Sinbad. In the first film it was Kerwin Matthews, in this film it's John Law. Both are unknowns, even though a quick glance in IMDB has shown me that John Law has appeared in two other films in my DVD collection, "Barbarella" and "Tarzan the Ape Man". Two of the supporting characters are better known. The evil magician Koura is played by Tom Baker, well known for playing Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981. The slave girl Margiana is played by Caroline Munro, one of the sexiest British actresses of the 1960's and 1970's, who later went on to be a Bond girl in "The spy who loved me" (1977). Her face is still familiar to older people from England (including me), because she appeared in advertisements for Lamb's Navy Rum on television, in magazines and on billboards from 1969 to 1979. It could be argued that she had the best known face of the 1970's.

The plot? Sinbad discovers a golden amulet by chance while at sea. He then discovers that it is only part of a larger golden artifice, and he sets out on a mission to find all the parts. On his voyage he is accompanied by the beautiful slave girl Margiana and pursued by the evil wizard Poura. But as in all of Ray Harryhausen's films the true stars are the monsters, or "misunderstood creatures", as he preferred to call them.

There's a scene in the film where Sinbad battles with a statue of the Goddess Kali. When I was younger I was fascinated by Kali. It wasn't her religious significance, it was her appearance. Something about a naked busty woman with four arms, adorning herself with the heads of men she has killed, seemed incredibly sexy. Unfortunately she doesn't have the same sex appeal in this film. In this film the statue has six arms, which I at first considered a mistake, but on researching I've found that she originally had ten arms, but as time progressed she was portrayed with less arms, down to a minimum of four.

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