The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (1953)

(a.k.a. SADKO)
Article #600 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-5-2002
Posting date: 4-1-2003

An adventurer decides to make a voyage to find the bird of happiness to bring to the town of his birth.

This is the third of the Alexander Ptushko fantasies that I’ve covered here; unfortunately, despite the fact that this one has a certain charm to it and boasts an epic-sized cast, it lacks the robust vigor of THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON or the focused storytelling of THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE; instead, the movie resembles more than anything else THE BLUE BIRD, and though it replaces that story’s childish whimsy with epic grandeur, it remains just as mushy and obvious on the inside. And without a solid story to back it up, all the spectacle becomes little more than a tempest in a teapot, only coming to life in the last fifteen minutes in an underwater sequence that wins out through sheer goofiness. (Did you know that Neptune’s wife is called “Neptuna”?)

I do think it is important, however, to point out at this point that the comments I’ve made are based on the English-dubbed version of the movie, which most probably takes massive liberties with the original film. The only reason the hero of this movie is called Sinbad is that the name is familiar to American audiences; there isn’t a shred of Arabian Nights feel to the movie. I suspect the characters real name is Sadko, but I can’t say for sure. At any rate, I would have to rate this one the least of Ptushko’s fantasies, giving myself the out that I may change my mind if I ever see the original version of the movie.

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