Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

G | 114 mins | Adventure | 3 August 1977

Director:

Sam Wanamaker

Writer:

Beverley Cross

Cinematographer:

Ted Moore

Editor:

Roy Watts

Production Designer:

Geoffrey Drake

Production Company:

Morningside Productions
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HISTORY

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant AJ Lawrence, a student at University of California, Los Angeles, with Jonathan Furner as academic advisor.

Working titles included Sinbad in Hyperborea – An Adventure Fantasy, Sinbad Beyond the North Wind, Sinbad at the World’s End, and Sinbad III. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was the third and final film in producer and visual effects creator Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles Schneer’s “Sinbad” films. The first two were The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958, see entry) and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974, see entry).
       End credits include the following written statement: “Made at Shepperton, Lee International and Pinewood Studios, England, and on location in Jordan, Spain and Malta, and re-recorded at De Lane Lea, London.”
       According to Harryhausen in his autobiography Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life (New York, 2004), the previous Sinbad feature, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, was a “runaway success,” paving the way for the making of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Incorporating unused elements from the prior film, namely the character of the prince who is transformed into a monkey, Harryhausen wrote a fifteen-page story outline for Schneer’s approval in May 1974. Screenwriter Beverley Cross was brought in to write a full treatment, which was then submitted to Columbia Pictures. After Columbia approved the treatment, the first screenplay was completed 2 Dec 1974. With the script still in development, Harryhausen began shooting second unit photography in winter ... More Less

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant AJ Lawrence, a student at University of California, Los Angeles, with Jonathan Furner as academic advisor.

Working titles included Sinbad in Hyperborea – An Adventure Fantasy, Sinbad Beyond the North Wind, Sinbad at the World’s End, and Sinbad III. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was the third and final film in producer and visual effects creator Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles Schneer’s “Sinbad” films. The first two were The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958, see entry) and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974, see entry).
       End credits include the following written statement: “Made at Shepperton, Lee International and Pinewood Studios, England, and on location in Jordan, Spain and Malta, and re-recorded at De Lane Lea, London.”
       According to Harryhausen in his autobiography Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life (New York, 2004), the previous Sinbad feature, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, was a “runaway success,” paving the way for the making of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Incorporating unused elements from the prior film, namely the character of the prince who is transformed into a monkey, Harryhausen wrote a fifteen-page story outline for Schneer’s approval in May 1974. Screenwriter Beverley Cross was brought in to write a full treatment, which was then submitted to Columbia Pictures. After Columbia approved the treatment, the first screenplay was completed 2 Dec 1974. With the script still in development, Harryhausen began shooting second unit photography in winter 1974, in the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains and Petra, Jordan. The final screenplay was delivered 9 Jun 1975.
       Prior to selecting Patrick Wayne, son of actor John Wayne, for the role of “Sinbad,” the producers considered several actors, including Franco Nero, Timothy Dalton and Michael Douglas. For the role of “Zenobia,” Patricia Neal and Jean Seberg were discussed before the part was offered to Bette Davis, whose fee was too expensive. In an interview in the Nov/Dec 1977 issue of Film Comment, Harryhausen stated that Margaret Whiting’s performance as Zenobia was originally filmed without an accent, but Schneer and Harryhausen later decided to re-record her lines with Whiting using an accent, to add dimension to her character.
       Most of the scenes featuring “Minaton” were created with Harryhausen’s signature Dynamation process, but Peter Mayhew, who played “Chewbacca” in the Star Wars film series, wore a fiberglass suit to portray Minaton in several background scenes, helping to cut down animation costs.
       Principal photography began 16 Jun 1975 in Spain. The city of Avila was used for Charak, and Manzanares stood in for Hyperborea. In Toledo, the production found a twelfth century synagogue to double for the throne hall and the coast of Almeria was the setting for Zenobia’s palace. Due to cost overruns, the production moved to the island of Malta in Sep 1975, where filming locales included the Malta aircraft hangar and a marine tank at the Rinalla film studio, as noted in the Nov/Dec 1977 Film Comment.
       After principal photography ended, Harryhausen rented a small studio space at Lee International Studios in West London, England, to create the visual effects and animation, which took thirteen months to complete. According to Harryhausen’s autobiography and a news item in the 10 Jan 1977 LAT, the film cost $3.5 million.
       The film was a moderate financial success, but a critical failure. In a 25 May 1977 Var review, Mack. described the film as “technically adroit but childishly plotted hokum adventure fantasy,” adding, “Any film in which a constructed baboon wins acting honors is in trouble with audiences over the age of 12 years.”
       According to the 28 May 1977 Screen International, the film premiered in Detroit, MI, before embarking on a large promotional tour around the US. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Comment
Nov/Dec 1977
pp. 24-28, 64.
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1977
p. 3, 9.
Los Angeles Times
10 Jan 1977
Section E, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
3 Aug 1977
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1977
Section S, p. 45.
New York Times
13 Aug 1977
p. 11.
Screen International
28 May 1977.
---
Variety
25 May 1977
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Charles H. Schneer production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Creator of spec visual eff
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
Make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech asst
Continuity
Casting
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Sinbad in Hyperborea - An Adventure Fantasy
Sinbad Beyond the North Wind
Sinbad at the World's End
Sinbad III
Release Date:
3 August 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 3 August 1977
New York opening: 12 August 1977
Production Date:
began 16 June 1975 in Spain
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 May 1977
Copyright Number:
LP48203
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Dynarama
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
G
Countries:
United Kingdom, Spain, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24450
SYNOPSIS

At a coronation ceremony in the ancient city of Chakar, Prince Kassim is about to be crowned caliph when Queen Zenobia uses dark magic to cause an explosion. After docking their ship in Chakar’s harbor, Captain Sinbad and his crew try to enter the city but find the gates locked. A young man informs the visitors that the people of Chakar have been struck by a plague. Hassan, one of Sinbad’s most trusted crewmembers, implores Sinbad to leave Charak at once, but the captain refuses until he speaks with Princess Farah. The sailors agree to stay overnight in the young man’s tent; however, as belly dancers perform for them, one of Sinbad’s cohorts suddenly keels over in pain, and Sinbad realizes that their wine has been poisoned. A swordfight breaks out, and Zenobia appears. She summons three creatures with skeletal human bodies and the heads of insects and commands them to kill Sinbad. She then calls to the young host, Rafi, who is also her son, and the two escape. Sinbad fights his way out of the tent, sends a pile of logs tumbling onto his attackers, and hurries back to the ship. As he runs, he is joined by Princess Farah, who dives into the sea with him. In Sinbad’s private quarters on the ship, Farah explains that there is no plague, but a spell has been cast over her brother, Prince Kassim. Sinbad reveals that he has come to Charak to ask for Farah’s hand in marriage. Although she consents, she needs Sinbad to help her brother so that he may give his blessing. At daybreak, Charak’s vizier, Balsora, boards the ship and informs Sinbad that doctors ... +


At a coronation ceremony in the ancient city of Chakar, Prince Kassim is about to be crowned caliph when Queen Zenobia uses dark magic to cause an explosion. After docking their ship in Chakar’s harbor, Captain Sinbad and his crew try to enter the city but find the gates locked. A young man informs the visitors that the people of Chakar have been struck by a plague. Hassan, one of Sinbad’s most trusted crewmembers, implores Sinbad to leave Charak at once, but the captain refuses until he speaks with Princess Farah. The sailors agree to stay overnight in the young man’s tent; however, as belly dancers perform for them, one of Sinbad’s cohorts suddenly keels over in pain, and Sinbad realizes that their wine has been poisoned. A swordfight breaks out, and Zenobia appears. She summons three creatures with skeletal human bodies and the heads of insects and commands them to kill Sinbad. She then calls to the young host, Rafi, who is also her son, and the two escape. Sinbad fights his way out of the tent, sends a pile of logs tumbling onto his attackers, and hurries back to the ship. As he runs, he is joined by Princess Farah, who dives into the sea with him. In Sinbad’s private quarters on the ship, Farah explains that there is no plague, but a spell has been cast over her brother, Prince Kassim. Sinbad reveals that he has come to Charak to ask for Farah’s hand in marriage. Although she consents, she needs Sinbad to help her brother so that he may give his blessing. At daybreak, Charak’s vizier, Balsora, boards the ship and informs Sinbad that doctors and wise men have failed to help the prince thus far, warning that the prince must be crowned within seven moons or will lose his right to the caliphate. Sinbad knows of a Greek alchemist named Melanthius, the Hermit of Kasgar, who may have the skills to save Kassim. As Zenobia approaches Sinbad’s ship, Farah accuses her of casting the spell over Kassim so that Rafi can ascend to the throne, and accidentally reveals the newly-hatched plan to seek out Melanthius. Later, in a metalworking shop, Rafi completes work on a mechanical gold heart while Zenobia informs him of Sinbad’s plan. Shortly before Sinbad’s ship sets sail, a cage carrying an angry baboon is loaded onto the deck. Only Farah is able to calm the animal down. Back in the metalworking shop, a gold minotaur that Rafi has created is brought to life when Zenobia drops the mechanical heart inside its chest and recites an incantation, naming the creature “Minaton.” When Hassan spies Farah playing chess with the baboon in Sinbad’s quarters, the captain explains to Hassan that the baboon is actually Kassim. To prove his identity, the baboon writes, “I am Kassim” on the wall. Soon after, Aboo-Seer and two other guards spy a gold ship without sails and discover that it is Zenobia and Rafi’s vessel, powered by the Minaton’s rowing. Going after the ship in a rowboat, Aboo-Seer and two others are killed. Sinbad and his crew arrive at Kasgar, where Sinbad pilots through dangerous reefs in a rowboat. Landing safely on shore, they enter a deep canyon and discover an ornate building carved directly into the rock. Standing above on the canyon rim, the people of Kasgar pelt Sinbad’s group with rocks, but a young woman named Dione stops them. Sinbad announces that he has come in search of Melanthius. Dione then communicates with Melanthius, who is her father, via telepathy, and Melanthius divines that Sinbad has come seeking help for Kassim. Meanwhile, Zenobia and Rafi arrive at Kasgar, but their ship is damaged on the reefs and they cannot land. After confirming that the baboon is, in fact, Kassim, Melanthius agrees to help break the spell, but admits that the magic Zenobia used is beyond his skill level. Melanthius describes an ancient people called the Arimaspi would have had the power to cure the prince; their Shrine of the Four Elements in the Valley of Hyperborea may contain something of use, but it is located in the frozen north. After some convincing, Melanthius and Dione agree to accompany Sinbad and the others to Hyperborea, but the alchemist warns that the longer Kassim remains a baboon, the harder it will be to turn him back into a human. Once underway again, Zenobia and Rafi deduce that Sinbad is headed north but have no other details. Growing desperate, Zenobia uses a potion to turn herself into a seagull that flies onto Sinbad’s ship. After landing on deck, she changes into a miniature version of her human form. Zenobia sneaks into Sinbad’s quarters, where Dione, who has taken a liking to Kassim, works with the prince on his writing skills. Kassim notices Zenobia and tries to chase her, and Melanthius traps her in a glass jar. During an interrogation, Melanthius mistakenly reveals the plan to travel to Hyperborea, but manages to seize Zenobia’s potion. He tests it on a bee, which grows to immense size, but Zenobia enchants the creature and orders it to attack Melanthius. She returns to seagull form and escapes; however, when she gets back to her ship, she does not have enough potion to change her entire body and is left with one webbed seagull foot. As Sinbad’s ship enters the frozen north, Kassim is no longer able to play chess and angers easily. Melanthius locates a tunnel leading directly to the shrine, but the ship is too large to enter it. Instead, Sinbad and the others continue on foot using sledges. When a gigantic walrus attacks them, a crewmember dies before the animal is slayed. Sinbad’s group finds the Valley of Hyperborea, which is much warmer than the surrounding region because it contains the Shrine of the Four Elements. A giant creature with a rhinoceros horn approaches Farah and Dione while they bathe in a pool, but just as Sinbad is about to fight the monster, Melanthius explains that it is an early human ancestor called a troglodyte and does not pose a threat. He convinces the troglodyte, nicknamed “Trog,” to take them to the shrine, as Zenobia and Rafi reach the frozen north in their ship, which is small enough to enter the tunnel to the shrine. After walking through the valley, Sinbad’s party makes it past the gate and spies the pyramid-shaped shrine in the distance. Meanwhile, Zenobia and Rafi have reached the end of the tunnel, which opens directly onto the shrine. Unable to find an entrance, Zenobia commands the Minaton to break a hole in the wall. Although the creature is successful, it falls back and is crushed by a heavy stone. Sinbad’s party arrives, and, detecting that Zenobia and Rafi have already entered, Melanthius expresses his concern that their presence has compromised the shrine’s power. Once inside, Melanthius explains that Kassim must be placed in a cage and passed through a column of light in the center of the pyramid. When Zenobia and Rafi attack Melanthius, Kassim lunges at Rafi, who falls down the stairs and breaks his neck. Distraught by the death of her son, Zenobia notices the guardian of the shrine, a saber-toothed tiger that has been frozen in a block of ice. Kassim is loaded into the cage, passed through the light, and transformed back into a human. Meanwhile, Zenobia melts the ice around the tiger, enters its body, and goes after Kassim. As the unstable shrine begins to collapse, Trog fights the tiger but is killed. Sinbad, Hassan, and Maroof fight the animal next, but Hassan is badly injured and Maroof killed. Wielding a spear, Sinbad kills the tiger and thus Zenobia. Back in Charak, Kassim is crowned the caliph, surrounded by all of his friends, including his new love interest, Dione. +

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

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