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Sinbad The Sailor 
Written by: on August 30th, 2010

Theatrical Release Date:
USA, January 13th, 1947
Director: Richard Wallace
Writers: John Twist (story & screenplay), George Worthing Yates (story)
Cast: Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Maureen O’Hara, Walter Slezak, Anthony Quinn, George Tobias, Jane Greer, Alan Napier, Brad Dexter.

DVD released: August 23rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 117 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullscreen
Rating: PG (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £9.99

“O Masters, O Noble Persons, O Brothers, know you that in the time of the Caliph Harun-Al-Rashid, there lived on the golden shore of Persia a man of adventure called Sinbad the Sailor. Strange and wondrous were the tales told of him and his voyages. But who, shall we surmise, gave him his immortality? Who, more than all other sons of Allah, spread glory to the name of Sinbad? Who else, O Brother, but….Sinbad the Sailor!” – title card.

Holding court dockside around a campfire Sinbad (Douglas Fairbanks Jr) jumps around like a nutter narrating one of his oft told seven adventures only to have some ungrateful beardy bloke scoff and finish the story for him. Seems his tall tales are getting repetitive so Sinbad decides to share his latest adventure with the crowd, the story of his unknown eighth journey from which he has just returned. The tale involves the capture of a mysterious abandoned ship that may hold the answer to the location of the lost isle of Dariabar where it is said lies the treasure of Alexander The Great. But more importantly it may hold the answer to Sinbad’s lifelong quest to find out where he came from and who he really is. Unfortunately the evil Emir (Anthony Quinn) also wants to get his hands on the treasure and so sends his consort, the Princess Shireen (Maureen O’Hara) to seduce and beguile Sinbad as he searches the seas for Dariabar, wealth and perhaps home………

First ever DVD release of this 1947 RKO classic adventure. Directed by Richard Wallace, one of the founding members of the Director’s Guild Of America and a prolific filmmaker that worked steadily from the 1920’s all the way through to the 1950’s (he passed away in 1951), and will be well remembered for numerous popular productions including A Night To Remember and Tycoon, starring John Wayne. Written by ridiculously hardworking prolific Hollywood screenplay developer John Twist with the assistance of George Worthing Yates, known more for writing sci-fi B-movie’s like Earth Vs The Flying Saucers than Hollywood blockbusters. Budgeted at nearly $3 million, Sinbad the Sailor was one of the few postwar RKO flicks to make a profit.

This is a dense, techni-colorful, delight of a film from the halcyon days when adventure flicks weren’t just created around a series of action set-pieces but actually contained a worthwhile story and sparkling dialog to boot. This is a rich, beautifully acted film with Fairbanks Jr, nostalgically emulating his famous father, at the very height of his over the top flair, giving an exhausting performance (with the help of an uncredited stuntman) from start to finish with a perpetual grin of utter joy on his face throughout. The stunning Maureen O’Hara as Princess Shireen, one of her most rewarding early roles, it’s not just any old red haired irish chick that can play an Arab princess you know! And an excellent turn from a young Anthony Quinn as the megalomaniacal Emir, he underplays the part to great effect as his evil slowly boils to the surface through the course of the picture. It is of course a beautifully shot picture with all that you’d expect and more from the wonderfully crafted Hollywood studio sets but it’s the movie’s sheer sense of fun and grand humor that drags the viewer into the convoluted plot. But sad as it may be to admit; today’s audiences will most likely find this slow and boring compared to what they’re use to and that’s just a damn shame because this is a highly recommended swashbuckler from the golden age of cinema that deserves to be rediscovered!

The DVD:

The 1.33.1 fullscreen picture looks excellent despite some softening of the image here and there. Good detail overall, colors are strong and vivid with excellent contrast levels and solid blacks, certainly a step up from the usual transfer that we see on TCM so regularly. The original mono audio track is clean and clear, with Roy Webb’s fine score coming through loud and strong balanced well with the dialog.

The only extras are a short photo gallery and an excellent little original theatrical trailer.

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