A scruffy, sexy Sinbad very true to the tales of the Arabian Nights, is quite probably the best ever
This is an overlooked gem of a film featuring Robert Malcolm embodying a scruffy, sexy Sinbad who is very true to the tales of the Arabian Nights, and quite possibly the best ever in the genre. One must get beyond the terrible English dubbing to perceive this film's many merits. It's incredibly effective right from the startling opening in which the mad Calif indulges himself in the sport of shooting harem women with a crossbow while they dance, and then his falling down in an epileptic fit. Cut to Sinbad in the crow's nest of a ship, wearing the pair of dirty skivvies displaying his basket that he wears through most of the film, eagerly looking out for land as he hates the sea and his lowly station. As soon as he's ashore, he finds that his dead foster mother's house and goods have been seized for back taxes and he's virtually penniless. But two scouts for another ship latch on to him and trick him into going to a tavern where they've arranged to have him shanghaied. Their plot backfires because all three of them get shanghaied by still another ship's press-gang. Back at sea as a virtual slave again, Sinbad learns that his ship is to transport a new bride to the Calif,and when she arrives he contrives to meet secretly with her (after first having a bath and braving the sexual advances of the amorous eunuch who guards her). This, of course, will lead to a series of interesting and fantastic complications as Sinbad's kismet manifests. The plot continues in a way very typical of Arabian Nights tales, with their odd juxtaposition of humor and extreme cruelty which is commonplace. This film really captures the flavor of these tales, and their fantastic events and characters. It would be a masterpiece if it were restored and given a better dub of dialog. It's every bit as entertaining as the original Sinbad tales which are its source.
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