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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Nathan Juran
USA 1958

In the mid-fifties, Ray Harryhausen was recognized as one of the best special effects craftsmen in Hollywood, amazing filmgoers with his startling stop-motion effects in sci-fi thrillers like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953). It wasn't until 1958 that he was able to bring to the screen a personal project he had been shopping around to the studios for years - The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Movies based on the Arabian Nights and other exotic fairy tales were out of vogue at the time but producer Charles H. Schneer believed in the project and Harryhausen's vision. After all, he had already enjoyed three highly successful collaborations with the special effects wizard on It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), and 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957).

For The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, key members of the cast and crew, including Kerwin Matthews (still considered the most dashing of all the screen 'Sinbads') were flown to Spain where some of the most difficult sequences were filmed. Among these are the encounter with the giant Cyclops who likes to roast men on a spit over a fire and the skeleton swordfight. The latter scene required Matthews to train with Olympic fencing master, Enzo Musomeci-Greco, choreographing the sword parries and thrusts which he memorized and repeated on film with the appropriate reactions to his non-existent foe. Months later, the animated skeleton warrior would be inserted into this sequence by Harryhausen, matching Matthews blow for blow with it's sword.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 5th, 1958

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DVD Comparison:

Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

The individual 7th Voyage of Sinbad Blu-ray is also available in The Ray Harryhausen Collection (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) [Blu-ray]

           

Distribution

Sony

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Columbia Tri-Star
Region 1,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:28:09 1:27:57 1:28:00
Video

Feature: 24.3 Gig, MPEG4-AVC

1.66:1 aspect ratio

Dual-layered, 1080P Blu-ray

1:66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1:85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.98 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Sony (Blu-ray)

 

NO BITRATE GRAPH FOR BLU-RAY YET!

Bitrate:

 

Sony (50th Anniversary Edition)

 

Bitrate:

20th Century Fox (Special Edition)

 

Audio English 5.1 TrueHD, English mono DUBs: French TrueHD, Thai 5.1 English 5.1, English mono, DUBs:  French, 2.0 Dolby Digital

Mono English, DUBs in Spanish and Portuguese

Subtitles English, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional + simplified), None English, None English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio: 1:66:1

Feature: 24.3 Gig, MPEG4-AVC

1.66:1 aspect ratio

Dual-layered, 1080P Blu-ray

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion animators Phil Tippett and Randall William Cook, Bernard Herrmann biographer, Steven Smith and Ray’s agent, Arnold Kunert
• Remembering The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (23:31)
• The Harryhausen Legacy (25:32)

• The Music of Bernhard Herrmann (26:51)

• Photo Gallery
• 'Sinbad...' Music video
• A Look Behind the Voyage' (11:45)

• `This is Dynamation' (3:26)

• `Jason and the Argonauts' (Landis interviews Harryhausen) (11:52)

DVD Release Date: October 7th, 200
8
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen
anamorphic - 1:66:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion animators Phil Tippett and Randall William Cook, Bernard Herrmann biographer, Steven Smith and Ray’s agent, Arnold Kunert
• Remembering The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
(23:31)
• The Harryhausen Legacy (25:32)
• The Music of Bernhard Herrmann
(26:51)
• Photo Gallery
• 'Sinbad...' Music video
• Outtakes (5:00)
• A Look Behind the Voyage' (11:45)

• `This is Dynamation' (3:26)

DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2008
Keep case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1:85:1

Edition Details:
• A Look Behind the Voyage' (11:45)
• `Jason and the Argonauts' (Landis interviews Harryhausen) (11:52)
• `This is Dynamation' (3:26)
• `The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles' (57:53)
• Trailers for 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), and It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
 

DVD Release Date: November 30th, 1999
Keep Case

Chapters 28

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

I guess the real questions are - "Why is this is a 1.66:1 aspect ratio?" and "Are the dragons on the Isle of Colossa dark green or light green?"

From Lawrence French's excellent article in Cinefantastique (interview with Ray Harryhausen HERE) we know that Ray Harryhausen never really wanted his movies to be projected in any of the then new “widescreen” formats. He accepted the 1.85 aspect ratio under protest from the studio, but he hated working in the extreme widescreen formats, especially when he had to make First Men in the Moon in Panavision. It appears many shots are cropped too closely from both the top and bottom of the frame in the 1.85 format, so Columbia’s new 1.66 format transfer of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad will be a compromise that includes more information in the frame - which you can see in our captures below - extensively in the top and bottom but a bit on the two sides as well.

As for the colors - it can usually be a moot point in a film like this excepting for one pet peeve that I am always noted for mentioning; skin tones. Most other color details can be extremely hard to validate - especially when hues are only marginally altered - and even more so when it is a fantasy film. But the redness of skin tones is a clear sign of some boosting (usually in black/red levels). This is common digital manipulation to bring up detail a few notches. It usually works too... as and as long as it isn't overdone it can achieve its desired ends (Criterion are one company who appear to utilize this form of processing to improve their DVD image quality). In the new 50th Anniversary editions (both SD and Blu-ray) it appears that this has taken place. Personally, I don't find the adjusted colors abhorrently unnatural - other may disagree. The Blu-ray has it more prominently (and at least not orangey) than the SD and it also exhibits more detail (Duh!).

Fans of film grain will probably appreciate this visible attribute in the Blu-ray transfer. It really gives the 1080p transfer a more film-like look and I'm glad I don't see evidence of DNR to remove it. Long live grain even if this also has some noise interspersed. It's thick on the screen and it makes me love The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad just that much more. Aside from some early flickering the image is quite strong.

Audio - yes - a TrueHD bump that sounds pretty decently mixed. I liked it a lot, but I also appreciate the original mono being available as well. The good thing about these 'artificial' bumps is that it makes the viewing experience seem more than a repeat. I've seen this film a dozen times or more and I relish this newly rendered image and audio which makes the experience come alive to some degree. I trust you can only do so much with the original elements of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and I wasn't expecting modern standards. I'm happy with what I see and hear. 

 

Supplements are excellent - even on the old SD-DVD. But the 50th Anniversary editions duplicate the old extras - 'A Look Behind the Voyage' (11:45) , `Jason and the Argonauts' (Landis interviews Harryhausen) (11:52), `This is Dynamation' (3:26) and `The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles' (57:53) - and augment with much more. I don't see anything additional on the Blu-ray beyond the new SD-DVD. The commentary is okay - it's always nice to hear Harryhausen but some of the questions fired at him sound pretty geeky - 'What did you make the roc's eggshell out of Ray?". That's okay, I suppose because I, too, love the answers which generally come with an anecdote. I did like the Herrmann stuff with his biographer giving some solid input on the man beyond his greatness. Bottom line on the extras are they are great - fans will not want to miss out.

This is part of my three favorite Harryhausen works (the other two being Mysterious Island and Jason and the Argonauts). I can hope the other two come to Blu-ray soon. There was no way I wasn't going to own this in the best possible home theater representation. If you can remember this film is 50 years old you are more likely to accept that the transfer is not going to be like Iron Man. I'm content and will watch this Blu-ray a third and fourth time within the next week. Does that sound like an endorsement? It sure is Harufa.      

Gary W. Tooze

 



Some of the Extras on the Blu-ray

 

 

DVD Menus

(Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Screen Captures - not exact frame (can't get subtitle capture from Blu-ray yet)

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


Screen Captures

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray and 50th Anniversary SD-DVD
Menu: -
DVD Box Covers

The individual 7th Voyage of Sinbad Blu-ray is also available in The Ray Harryhausen Collection (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) [Blu-ray]

           

Distribution

Sony

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Columbia Tri-Star
Region 1,3,4 - NTSC


 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...