Swashbuckler Fest 2014

Swashbuckler Fest 2014

- Directed by Richard Wallace

Another delightful entry in my (much delayed) SwashBuckler Fest 2014. I’m really enjoying all the technicolor palette these films tend to have, and how well they use that to great effect. 

This particular version of Sinbad comes with one small mechanical creature, a mocking bird that basically spend the picture hanging out with Sinbad, giving him clues to his enemies doings that fly right over his smiling face. Sinbad is played by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. 

Fairbanks almost lives up to his Famous father’s level of swashbuckling. I’d say in every way except the weird lack of sword fighting show offery; almost all of the ‘fight scenes’ have abbreviated sword bits, but oh the leaping, and the bounding. This Sinbad really is more of a thief and a scoundrel, using his quick wits (and no planning whatsoever) instead of his sword, or fists. He almost has that same twinkle as His Pops. Almost.

The story sets itself up as being Sinbad’s untold ‘8th adventure.’ Sinbad narrates his adventures to a group of guys sitting around the docks waiting for someone to tell them outrageous stories, that they can scoff at, or believe. He tells them of meeting the lovely Shireen,played by Maureen O’Hara who was a great ‘Spitfire’ in “Against All Flags,” she’s the number one concubine in the Emir’s harem. 

The Emir is almost of course played by Anthony Quinn. Between Quinn and Fairbanks, the funky turbans and hats they wear would make Little Edie Bouvier jealous. O’Hara once again has  some firecracker lines, and seems to love/hate the leading man. Hmmm. will she go with him in the end? What do you think?

There is a lot to like in this flick with standout supporting roles also from Walter Slezak as  the wily ‘real villain’ of the piece, Melik. I especially loved the brief part of an auctioneer (Sheldon Leonard), who Sinbad cons out of  a legendary ship, The Prince Ahmed. Coincidentally, everyone in Basra and Daibul thinks that Sinbad is the almost mythical Prince of Deryabar, where Alexander the Great’s treasures are said to be hidden. 

Fairbanks seems a merciless ham at first, projecting so much of the Silent acting style that he grew up with; but it really is the character of this rendition of Sinbad... blowhard storyteller who is winking at you as he steals your sword and rests it under your chin.

The great Alan Napier (sadly, perhaps, most famous for the Batman TV show as Alfred the butler), playing old men old since time began, plays The last king and only resident of Deryabar in another stand out cameo, as he helps the jumping bean called Sinbad find his destiny. In the end, the scheming harem girl O’Hara of course goes off with Sinbad. the end of the Emir and his plots is a scene worth the admission. 

Hokey and as old fashioned and ‘innocent’ a movie as there might have ever been. I wish modern Pirate movies contained as much joie de vivre as the three flicks out of four in my SwashBuckler fest. My favourite parts were all the scenes with the bird, and The great repartee between the three leads, Quinn, O’Hara, and Fairbanks.

7.999999 Pirates pretending to be Princes who turn out to be Princes after all, outta 10


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