Sinbad the Sailor (1947)

Article #511 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-8-2002
Posting date: 1-1-2003

The story of Sinbad’s eighth voyage is told, in which he discovers he is the prince of a lost island which holds the treasure of Alexander the Great.

I know this is an Arabian Nights movie from the forties; it’s supposed to be big and colorful and over-the-top. But this one is so colorful, the dialogue is so mannered and florid, the music so lush, and Douglas Fairbank Jr.’s acting is so energetic (with his gestures, ripe delivery, and jumping around I don’t feel he’s so much acting as practicing a difficult dance routine) that I feel like I’ve been cornered by someone who is aggressively expending every last bit of their energy to get me to like them while not realizing that their in-your-face manner is actually driving me away. In other words, I found the first three-quarters of this movie interminable; since the movie runs two hours, that’s ninety minutes of the movie that gave me problems. The movie does have one oasis; Walter Slezak manages to hit just the right touch of charm and lightness with his character, and his scenes are far and away the best things in the movie; if he hadn’t been playing a role that requires him to masquerade as a minor comic relief character for the first ninety minutes of the movie, I would have enjoyed it more. As it is, it’s definitely not a coincidence that I don’t really start enjoying the movie until his character fully comes into his own during the last thirty minutes. It almost makes up for the first ninety minutes. Almost.


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