Captain Sindbad
1963, Dir. Byron Haskin - 85 min. / Color / Wondra-Scope / 1.85:1
Warner Archive DVD $19.95

The kingdom of Baristan has been conquered by the despicable El Kerim, who's imprisoned the King and has lascivious plans to wed the Princess Jana. El Kerim is well aware that Jana is promised to the swarthy Captain Sindbad, so he has a various set of nasty plans to prevent the sailor's return from sea, none of which pan out too well. El Kerim has a nasty secret, though: he's removed his heart and hidden it in a tower, making himself unkillable, unless Sindbad and his men can reach the tower, defeat all the guardian monsters, and stomp on the heart. With the help of a goofy wizard, they make the attempt.

Positively delightful kiddie matinee that I didn't think I'd seen, but I definitely remembered the scene where the wizard stretches his arm, a la the Elongated Man, across the castle to try and steal El Kerim's magic ring, so I probably took this in with my big brudder when I was 5 or 6. Other wonders of Wondra-Scope include a many-headed Hydra, what appears to be stock footage of the Id from Forbidden Planet, a giant spiked fist, and naked princesses being turned into birds. Guy Williams, post-Zorro and pre-Lost in Space, is terrific as Sindbad, and it's always a delight to see him with a sword in his hand. Heidi Brühl is the amiable Princess, Pedro Armendáriz - whom we remember as Kerim Bey in From Russia with Love, did the guy EVER play an actual Mexican? - is El Kerim (which I believe, roughly translated, means "the Kerim"), and good ol' Henry Brandon is wonderful as his black-robed vizier. It's one of Brandon's last really, really good parts.

Million-dollar Dialog:
The wizard, advising the Princess she has to disrobe before he can turn her into a bird to fly to Sindbad: "There are three men before whom a woman need have no shame: her husband, her doctor, and her magician."

Vizier advice: "The people will not like it if the Princess is forced to marry against her will."
El Kerim retort: "The people are scum."

The Critics Rave:
"Overlooked fantasy with some great special effects ... almost as good as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad." - Michael Weldon, Psychotronic Video

Lofty praise... but this film rates it. It's really a marvelous, imaginative kid's show (filmed in Germany) and rates seeking out. Warner Archive, get us a Blu-ray of this one!