Captain Sindbad (1963)

Captain Sindbad (June 19, 1963)
Cast:        Guy Williams as Captain Sindbad
                Heidi Bruhl as Princess Jana
                Pedro Armendariz as El Kerim
                AbrahamSofaer as Galgo
                Bernie Hamilton as Quinius

Written by Ian McLellan Hunter & Guy Endore (billed as Samuel B. West & Harry Relis)
Directed by Byron Haskin

Plot: Captain Sindbad must face the deadly El Kerim before he can marry the lovely Princess Jana.

Richard’s Review: This version of Sinbad was clearly inspired by Ray Harryhausen’s 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) as magic and monsters (and even a shrunken princess) have now entered the fantastical adventures. Sadly, the special effects are not up to Harryhausen’s standards. They aren’t bad but you are left wondering how different the film would have been with Harryhausen’s touch. That said, this is a fun flick to watch on a rainy day or for an afternoon matinee. Sure, it’s a little cheesy at times and there might be a little too much comedy throwing off the balance of adventure. The swamp scenes and battle with the 12-headed dragon-like monster are especially fun. Above all else, I loved Guy Willliams as Sindbad (not sure why they changed the spelling) and his performance is worth the ticket price alone. Not Harryhausen but still a lot of fun and recommended.

Trivia:

  • Guy Williams’ second film was the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). He had also appeared in I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) but it was his role of Don Diego in Disney’s Zorro (1957-1961) that had earned him fame. After this film, he appeared in five episodes of Bonanza as Will Cartwright before taking on the lead role of Professor John Robinson in Lost in Space (1965-1968). He then retired from acting and moved to Argentina, where he lived until his death in 1989 at the age of 65 due to a brain aneurysm.  
  • Heidi Bruhl is well-known for her many film roles in her native country of Germany. She’s also remembered in the United States for The Gypsy Baron (1962) and The Eiger Sanction (1975). She died in 1991 at the age of 49 of cancer.
  • Pedro Armendariz was a well-known character actor with this film being the next-to-last of his 128 credits. After filming From Russia with Love (1963), he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, possibly from his involvement in The Conqueror (1956). He was one of 91 cast and crew members who suffered or died from cancer, including John Wayne. Unable to deal with the diagnosis, he committed suicide on June 18, 1963, at the age of 51, before this film’s premiere.
  • Abraham Sofaer was an accomplished character actor with 144 film and TV credits. His last role was in the Horror in the Heights episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker in 1974. He retired and lived until his death in 1988 at age 91.
  • Byron Haskin also directed The War of the Worlds (1953), The Naked Jungle (1954), From the Earth to the Moon (1958), Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and six episodes of The Outer Limits.     

Availability: Captain Sindbad is available to rent on Amazon Prime and on the Warner Archive Collection DVD for less than $10.

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