Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger – 1977
Review by John Rouse Merriott Chard
Rounds out the trilogy nicely
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is directed by Sam Wannamaker and is the third and final Sinbad film that Ray Harryhausen (and his stop-motion creations) made for Columbia after The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. It stars Patrick Wayne (Sinbad), Jane Seymour (Princess Farah), Taryn Power (Dione), Patrick Troughton (Melanthius), Margaret Whiting (Zenobia) and Nadim Sawalha (Hassan). Studio work was done in England, with the exterior location work done in Spain, Malta and Jordan.
Evil sorceress Zenobia has designs on the throne and transforms the heir, Prince Kassim, into a Baboon. Kassim’s sister calls on Captain Sinbad for help, who learns that a fabled man by the name of Melanthius may be their only hope. They face a perilous journey to the end of the World (a place called Hyperborea) with Zenobia and her black magic tricks in hot pursuit.
Depending on if you are a fantasy/adventure fan or not may determine how much, if at all, you get from Sinbad & The Eye Of The Tiger. For the film is chocked full of cheese and acting of the hammiest kind. The plot is your standard set up for the irrepressible Sinbad-he must travel to some remote destination to stave off evil and realign the World, and our faith, in the name of good. While it’s safe to say that the film is about 15 minutes too long for a Sinbad adventure. On the other side of the coin, tho, fans of the genre and Harryhausen’s work are in for a treat.
The cast have as much charisma than you can shake a stick at, perhaps not surprising when you have the offspring of John & Tyrone starring, and the adventure is colourful and dealing nicely in the realm of the fantastique. It also finds Harryhausen on super form as we are treated to skeletal demons, a bronze minotan, a big bad wasp, a gigantic walrus, a trog and a snarling sabre tooth tiger. But best of all is his baboon because the creature is part of the cast from practically start to finish, thus it interacts with the human actors and has a personality all of its own, with one particularly emotive scene a real standout in the Harryhausen/Sinbad trilogy. For the girls is the sight of Wayne in fine physical and swash buckling shape, and for the boys is the twin niceties of Power and Seymour who steadily get skimpier in their attire during the course of the story. Troughton has a good time as the mad/eccentric/genius alchemist, while Whiting owns the film with her delightfully over the top trip into evil villainy.
It’s presumed that newcomers to the movie know what to expect going into this one, whilst old fans revisiting it should hopefully find that it’s holding up rather well considering the genre it sits in. Good old family fun that may be weak on story but strong on popcorn entertainment value. 7/10