Son of Sinbad (1955)

88 mins | Adventure | 1 June 1955

Full page view
HISTORY

As depicted in the film, Omar Khayyám was a Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer, best known for his poetical work Rubáiyát . Contemporary sources add the following information about the production: Prior to production, Ursula Thiess, Louis Jordan and Keith Andes were announced as cast members but did not appear in the final film. At the start of principal photography, Sally Forrest replaced an ailing Piper Laurie in the role of "Ameer." Maurice Anka was cast, but his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Dale Robertson from Twentieth Century-Fox and Mari Blanchard from Universal for the production. In Jan 1953, RKO announced that the desert scenes would be shot in Death Valley, CA, but it is not known whether any location filming actually took place there. The picture was shot in 3-D, without SuperScope, but was released theatrically in flat widescreen. Modern sources note that one of the film's negatives was adapted to SuperScope. Son of Sinbad was writer-producer Robert Sparks's last film for RKO, the studio with which he had been associated since 1947, and also marked Kim Novak's first screen role. Although The French Line (see above entry) is generally considered to be Novak's first film, as it was released before Son of Sinbad , Son of Sinbad was made first. Novak is listed in the CBCS as Marilyn Novak.
       Because of censorship problems, Son of Sinbad was not generally released until Jun 1955. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, while the script met with only ... More Less

As depicted in the film, Omar Khayyám was a Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer, best known for his poetical work Rubáiyát . Contemporary sources add the following information about the production: Prior to production, Ursula Thiess, Louis Jordan and Keith Andes were announced as cast members but did not appear in the final film. At the start of principal photography, Sally Forrest replaced an ailing Piper Laurie in the role of "Ameer." Maurice Anka was cast, but his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Dale Robertson from Twentieth Century-Fox and Mari Blanchard from Universal for the production. In Jan 1953, RKO announced that the desert scenes would be shot in Death Valley, CA, but it is not known whether any location filming actually took place there. The picture was shot in 3-D, without SuperScope, but was released theatrically in flat widescreen. Modern sources note that one of the film's negatives was adapted to SuperScope. Son of Sinbad was writer-producer Robert Sparks's last film for RKO, the studio with which he had been associated since 1947, and also marked Kim Novak's first screen role. Although The French Line (see above entry) is generally considered to be Novak's first film, as it was released before Son of Sinbad , Son of Sinbad was made first. Novak is listed in the CBCS as Marilyn Novak.
       Because of censorship problems, Son of Sinbad was not generally released until Jun 1955. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, while the script met with only minor objections, the shot film was condemned by the PCA. In a 27 Jan 1954 memo, PCA director Joseph I. Breen noted that the picture was "unacceptable" by "reason of indecent dance movements and too scanty costuming." Breen particularly objected to dance footage appearing under the opening titles. On 11 Feb 1954, Breen notified RKO of its decision not to grant the film a certificate. According to an Apr 1954 DV news item, RKO considered releasing the picture without a seal, as it briefly had done with its 1954 release The French Line (see above entry). Although the PCA file includes reports from Ohio and Kansas censor boards, dated Mar 1954, it has not been determined whether the film actually had any public screenings at that time.
       To obtain a PCA seal, RKO cut and resubmitted Son of Sinbad , finally eliminating the title dance sequence and shortening other offending numbers. Although Breen issued the film a certificate in Mar 1955, the Legion of Decency gave the picture a "C," or condemned, rating in mid-May 1955. In particular, the Legion complained about a dance performed by Lili St. Cyr, a former stripper. Because of the Legion's rating, RKO announced that the picture's Los Angeles 1 Jun 1955 opening was to be canceled. The film did open in Los Angeles on 1 Jun 1955, and with the exception of Memphis, all state and municipal censor boards passed the edited picture, with only some minor eliminations. In mid-Aug 1955, however, HR reported that the film, which had already netted over $1,000,000 at the box office, was being withdrawn, presumably to be recut and resubmitted to the Legion. In 1961, the film was re-released by Excelsior Pictures under the title Nights in a Harem . For information about other films featuring "Sinbad," see the entry for the 1947 RKO film Sinbad the Sailor in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Jun 1955.
---
Daily Variety
7 Apr 54
p. 1, 4
Daily Variety
6 May 55
p. 1, 7
Daily Variety
13 May 55
p. 1, 4
Daily Variety
18 May 1955.
---
Daily Variety
31 May 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Jun 55
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 53
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 53
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 53
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 53
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 55
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 55
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1961.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Dec 1961.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Jan 54
p. 2167.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Jun 55
p. 466.
New York Times
28 Jul 55
p. 18.
Variety
1 Jun 55
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Joy Lansing
Marilyn Novak
Bob Wilke
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 June 1955
Production Date:
mid May--mid June 1953
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
31 May 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4860
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
SuperScope
Duration(in mins):
88
Length(in feet):
7,956
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16458
SYNOPSIS

In ancient Bagdad, poet Omar Khayyám wanders the streets in search of his friend, Sinbad, the son and namesake of the great adventurer, and finds him outside the Khalif's palace. Although the Khalif has offered a reward for his capture, the roguish Sinbad ignores Omar's warnings and nonchalantly sneaks into the palace. Spouting Omar's poetry, Sinbad romances Nerissa, one of the Khalif's harem girls, but is exposed by jealous slave Ameer, who also loves him. Both Sinbad and Omar are caught and brought before the Khalif for sentencing. Also on trial are Greek scholar Simon Aristides, and his daughter Kristina, Sinbad's childhood friend, who has been wrongfully accused of stealing. After the Khalif orders that Sinbad and Omar be executed, his advisor, Jiddah, persuades him to meet with Murad, the ambassador to Tamerlane, a Tartan leader whose forces are threatening to invade Bagdad. Murad boldly informs the Khalif that the Tartars will soon be storming the city and demands that he and his men be entertained in the meantime. Anxious to save Kristina, Sinbad reveals to the Khalif that Simon possesses the formula for an explosive called "Greek fire" and will share it with the Khalif in exchange for Simon's, Kristina's, Omar's and his freedom. The Khalif refuses to release Sinbad and Omar, but while they are incarcerated in the dungeon, Simon and Kristina give the ruler a private demonstration of Greek fire. As protection, Simon has entrusted the formula to Kristina, who can recite the instructions only while hypnotized. In front of the Khalif, Simon hypnotizes Kristina, who then gives her father directions for mixing the various bottled ingredients. Unknown to them, Jiddah is ... +


In ancient Bagdad, poet Omar Khayyám wanders the streets in search of his friend, Sinbad, the son and namesake of the great adventurer, and finds him outside the Khalif's palace. Although the Khalif has offered a reward for his capture, the roguish Sinbad ignores Omar's warnings and nonchalantly sneaks into the palace. Spouting Omar's poetry, Sinbad romances Nerissa, one of the Khalif's harem girls, but is exposed by jealous slave Ameer, who also loves him. Both Sinbad and Omar are caught and brought before the Khalif for sentencing. Also on trial are Greek scholar Simon Aristides, and his daughter Kristina, Sinbad's childhood friend, who has been wrongfully accused of stealing. After the Khalif orders that Sinbad and Omar be executed, his advisor, Jiddah, persuades him to meet with Murad, the ambassador to Tamerlane, a Tartan leader whose forces are threatening to invade Bagdad. Murad boldly informs the Khalif that the Tartars will soon be storming the city and demands that he and his men be entertained in the meantime. Anxious to save Kristina, Sinbad reveals to the Khalif that Simon possesses the formula for an explosive called "Greek fire" and will share it with the Khalif in exchange for Simon's, Kristina's, Omar's and his freedom. The Khalif refuses to release Sinbad and Omar, but while they are incarcerated in the dungeon, Simon and Kristina give the ruler a private demonstration of Greek fire. As protection, Simon has entrusted the formula to Kristina, who can recite the instructions only while hypnotized. In front of the Khalif, Simon hypnotizes Kristina, who then gives her father directions for mixing the various bottled ingredients. Unknown to them, Jiddah is in cahoots with Murad, and both men are eavesdropping on the proceedings. Although Jiddah and Murad can hear Kristina telling her father how much of each item to use, they cannot ascertain the chemicals being poured by Simon. Meanwhile, the Khalif, ecstatic about the explosive, agrees to Simon's demand that Sinbad and Omar be freed in the morning. That night, Kristina confides in Ameer that she wants to marry Sinbad and asks her to tell him about his imminent release. Though jealous, Ameer delivers the message to Sinbad, but when she returns to Kristina's chambers, she finds Kristina gone and Simon murdered. Ameer sees Murad fleeing with Kristina and Simon's chemicals and sends a message via carrier pigeon before being caught by Jiddah. While torturing Ameer to reveal the bird's destination, Jiddah notices that she has a Forty Thieves tattoo on her shoulder. Although the Thieves, a band of raiders once led by Sinbad's father, are now dead, Ameer admits that their heirs have banded together, and Jiddah deduces that the message went to them. At dawn, Sinbad and Omar learn that their execution is to proceed as scheduled, but they escape the dungeon and fight their way to the Khalif's chambers. There, Sinbad offers to retrieve Kristina in exchange for his and Omar's freedom, some gold and a promise that he will be made second in command in Bagdad. The Khalif agrees and Sinbad rides off with Omar, unaware that Jiddah, having heard his exchange with the Khalif, is alerting Murad of his plan. Later, while resting in the desert, Sinbad and Omar are joined by Ameer, who reveals that Murad and his men are traveling in disguise with a caravan of merchants and that the Forty Thieves will attack them at first camp. Omar and Sinbad ride to the camp ahead of the caravan, and Sinbad has Omar bury him in the spot where he thinks Kristina's tent will be placed. Breathing through a reed, Sinbad remains buried in the Tartars' camp, far from Kristina's tent, until Murad unwittingly plucks his reed from the sand. Sinbad is forced to surface but manages to sneak into Kristina's tent and free her. As Sinbad, Omar and Kristina ride off, the Forty Thieves, who are all women, attack the camp and reclaim Simon's bottles. Omar, Sinbad and Kristina then go to the Forty Thieves's cave and, using the cry "open sesame," signal a donkey named Sesame to open the "door." After arranging with Ghenia, the raiders' leader, Sinbad reunites with Ameer, but when he refuses to have "eyes only for her," Ameer rejects him. Just then, Murad's men advance on the cave, and Sinbad quickly hypnotizes Kristina, who has fallen in love with Omar, and concocts some Greek fire using Simon's chemicals. Hurling torches coated with the explosive, the Thieves, Sinbad and Omar cripple Murad and his men. Sinbad then defeats Murad in a sword fight, and victory is declared. Later, Sinbad convinces the women to go with him to Bagdad and make peace with the Khalif. At the palace, the Khalif waits for Sinbad with Jiddah, whose duplicity he has yet to realize, preparing to execute him for failing his mission. When Sinbad appears with Kristina and a bevy of beautiful raiders, however, the Khalif embraces him and orders Jiddah to be de-tongued. At Sinbad's behest, Omar is made the royal poet, the Thieves are pardoned, and Sinbad is installed as second in command. Then as a final request, Sinbad asks Ameer to be his bride. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.