THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD
With The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Ray Harryhausen employed director Gordon Hessler, who emerged out of the English horror cycle in the late 1960s (see below for Gordon Hesslers other titles) and Brian Clemens on script. Brian Clemens had worked as script editor on tvs The Avengers (1962-9), wrote a number of films during the English horror cycle and went on to create series such as The New Avengers (1976-8), The Professionals (1977-83) and Bugs (1995-8). (See below also for Brian Clemenss other titles). Most Ray Harryhausen films tend to be set around Harryhausens provision of creature effects, with the intervening action being stolid and his leading men tending to a uniform woodenness. Although the dialogue here has a tendency to fall in clunky pseudo-profound aphorisms at times, Brian Clemens creates probably one of the more nuanced scripts for any Ray Harryhausen film. Particularly original is the character of the sorcerer Koura who ages every time he casts a spell.
Brian Clemens and Ray Harryhausen also plunder world mythology somewhat indiscriminately, ending up with what often seems a peculiar multi-cultural polyglot there is Kali from Hindu religion, a griffin and combination centaur/cyclops from the Greek myths, the homunculus from mediaeval alchemy, Lemuria (an idea that was posited by biologist Ernst Haeckel in the 1870s, preceding the notion of continental drift, of a sunken land in order to explain how lemurs managed to get between Africa and India and one that was quickly appropriated by the 19th Century Theosophist movement), and of course the backdrop from the Arabian Nights cycle. This is the less important than the spectacular beauty of Ray Harryhausens various set-pieces which, by this time, were at the absolute peak of their form. Harryhausen offers us a six-armed statue of Kali brought to life in a sword-duel; a to-the-death battle between a griffin and a cyclopean centaur; a magically animated ships figurehead; and, best of all, the homunculus that Tom Baker brings to life, teasing and prodding it, as it lies pinned to a table.
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is also notable for many of the up-and-coming stars. There is Tom Baker who, the following year, would become the fourth incarnation of tvs Doctor Who (1963-89); cult queen Caroline Munro; and Martin Shaw, later hunk hero of Clemens superior action man tv show The Professionals.
Ray Harryhausens other films are: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), the granddaddy of all atomic monster films; the giant atomic octopus film It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955); the alien invader film Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956); the alien monster film 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957); The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958); The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960); the Jules Verne adaptation Mysterious Island (1961); the Greek myth adventure Jason and the Argonauts (1963); the H.G. Wells adaptation The First Men in the Moon (1964); the caveman vs dinosaurs epic One Million Years B.C. (1966); the dinosaur film The Valley of Gwangi (1969); Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977); and the Greek myth adventure Clash of the Titans (1981).
Brian Clemenss other scripts are: The Tell-Tale Heart (1960), Curse of the Voodoo/Curse of Simba (1965), And Soon the Darkness (1970), See No Evil/Blind Terror (1971), Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), the Disney ghost story The Watcher in the Woods (1980) and Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). Clemens also wrote and directed Hammers Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter (1972). He has acted as script editor and producer on the tv series The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Professionals and Bugs.
Gordon Hesslers other films are: Scream and Scream Again (1969), The Oblong Box (1969), Cry of the Banshee (1970), Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971), The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (1977), Kiss Meets the Phantom/Kiss in the Attack of the Phantom (1978) and The Girl in a Swing (1988).