Classic Movie Themes: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) directed by Nathan Juran, was the first of three Sinbad feature films produced by Columbia Pictures. The other two being The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). All three Sinbad films were a showcase for Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation special effects works, which was marketed as “Dynamation”. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was the first of Harryhausen’s work to be filmed in colour. The somewhat arbitrary story has Captain Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) returning to the island of Colossa to find a way to release Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant) from a magic spell that has caused her to shrink. As ever with such movies, there is much chewing of the scenery and overwrought dialogue. However, the two elements of the film that excel are the excellent monsters and a superb score composed by Bernard Herrmann.
The main opening theme (Overture as it’s titled on the soundtrack album) for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a bold and exciting fanfare. It’s features that dramatic mixture of brass and strings that only Herrmann could do. The fanfare has hints of Herrmann’s future work with its alternating sections of bombastic horns and soft, lyrical strings (think North by Northwest and even Psycho). Overall it is an extremely strong opening gambit and certainly builds expectations for the epic tale that follows. The second part of the cue The Fog is both ominous and mysterious. Once again it showcases Bernard Herrmann’s ability to exactly capture the mood and tone of a scene.
Over the years there have been several notable re-recordings of the soundtrack for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, yet few have managed to fully capture the spirit of the cues used on the film itself. However, the original session tapes were recently rediscovered and remastered and are now available on CD. These recordings were made directly from the sheet music written by Herrmann himself, and arranged and conducted by Muir Mathieson. Here is the opening Overture followed by The Fog.