The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
Sinbad from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. With his spear in hand Sinbad is ready to hurl it at the Cyclops.
It took Ray Harryhausen 11 months to complete the animation sequences for the film.
Harryhausen gave the cyclops a horn, furry goat legs and cloven hooves, an idea based upon the concept of the Greek god Pan. He lifted much of the creature’s design (for example the torso, chest, arms, poise and style of movement) from his concept of the ymir (the monster from 20 Million Miles to Earth). He used the same armature for both creatures.
He researched the cobra-woman sequence (when Sakourah entertains the Caliph and the Sultan) by watching a belly dancer in Beirut, Lebanon. During the performance, Harryhausen says “smoke was coming up my jacket. I thought I was on fire! It turned out the gentleman behind me was smoking a hookah!” The cyclops is the film’s most popular character, but Harryhausen’s personal favorite was the snakewoman, a combination of Princess Parisa’s maid, Sadi, and a cobra.
The film’s original script had a climax that involved two cyclopes fighting. However, in the final version, the climactic battle featured a cyclops versus a dragon. The model of the dragon was over three feet long and very difficult to animate; the fight took two to three weeks of Harryhausen’s time. Originally it was planned to have the dragon breathing fire out of its mouth during the sequence, but the cost would have been too high. For the scenes where the dragon does breathe fire, Harryhausen used a flamethrower against a night sky and shot it out about 30 to 40 feet, then superimposed the shot in the area close to the dragon’s mouth.
The sword fight scene between Sinbad and the skeleton proved so popular with audiences that Harryhausen recreated and expanded the scene by having an army of armed skeletons fight the Greek hero Jason and his men in Jason and the Argonauts.
The term “Dynamation” was first used for this film.