Sinbad the Sailor is a 1947 Technicolor fantasy film
starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Maureen O'Hara, Anthony Quinn, and Walter Slezak
It tells the tale of the "eighth" voyage of Sinbad,
wherein he discovers the lost treasure of Alexander the Great.
- from the opening title card
Great mystic adventure,and quite a rarity.
with the great Douglas Fairbanks. Jr.
Maureen, was as her beautiful self,
in this lush colourful production.
Author: telegonus from brighton, ma
After I first saw this charming film I was puzzled by its relative obscurity. It isn't exactly unknown, but scarcely anyone regards it as a classic. Aside from me, that is. The Technicolor photography of George Barnes is Oscar-worthy, with its bright blues and reds it evokes the best of Wyeth and Pyle. On its color alone the movie can bear comparison with the best of Powell and Pressburger, and yet no one the best of my knowledge has ever made such a comparison. The sets are grand, and the lost island kingdom makes a lovely visual set-piece. Art directors Clark and D'Agostino deserve special mention as well. John Twist's script cannot be called brilliant, but it is reasonably clever, and if not particularly inspired, neither are the scripts of most of the better known swashbucklers that Flynn and Power made. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. is suitably dashing as the wily Sinbad. His is a graceful, even gracious presence, and he has a bird-like swiftness to him that I find pleasing, appropriate to his character's basic elusiveness, and he never overdoes it. While he looks at times a bit mature for such a boy's hero type it's worth keeping in mind that a too-youthful Sinbad wouldn't be a good thing, either, as it's as important that the character convey experience as it is for him to engage in swordplay. That this take on Sinbad presents him as somewhat of a philosopher, it's just as well that Fairbanks appears to be in early middle age, and therefore to have had some years to reflect on life.
Richard Wallace directs the film capably. The pace isn't as quick as one might always wish, yet this is more than compensated for by the movie's visual lushness. Maureen O'Hara makes an agreeable if incongruously Hibernian leading lady, while Anthony Quinn is more quiet than usual as a bad guy. Walter Slezak, as the devious Melik, steals the film acting-wise, giving an outrageously effete yet disciplined performance, with subtle hints of homosexuality, that is as good as anything that Rathbone or Laughton ever did, and far less hammy. Many of the supporting players,--Sheldon Leonard, George Tobias, Ben Welden, Mike Mazurki--suggest Damon Runyon in the Orient, and while absurd they are no worse than the standard-issue Brits that usually played these kinds of roles. They are also, like the film itself, a lot of fun, and a delightful change of pace.