Thursday, November 29, 2018

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Wonderfully Bizarre History of The Magic Voyage of Sinbad

So there's this Russian film called Sadko (1953) that won a bunch of awards in Russia. Roger Corman's film company in the States went and bought the rights (or something, the history isn't exactly clear) to the film and the company remade it. According to Wikipedia Francis Ford Coppola helped write the new script. 

They changed it from a Russian adventure film with nothing to do with the Nights into a 1001 Nights Sinbad film, changing the dialogue and dubbing it into English. It's not clear how much of the plot they changed but the company did cut some of the original. The resulting film is The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, which didn't do well at all in terms of reception. It's sort of tolerated in B-movie/camp fans and was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

"The film was re-released in the United States in 1962 in an English-dubbed and modified form by Roger Corman's Filmgroup under the title The Magic Voyage of Sinbad. It retains the plot structure of Sadko but includes several changes: the total running time is reduced from approximately 85 to 79 minutes (most of the deleted footage consists of scenes in which songs are performed, though one song is retained and sung in English), voice-over narration is added, the protagonist "Sadko" is renamed "Sinbad," and other characters and places are renamed to disguise the film's Russian origin and transform the film into a story about Sindbad the Sailor (perhaps most significantly, the city of Novgorod is renamed "Copasand"). The English dubbing in this version arguably gives the film a slightly "campier" tone than the original version, in which the dialogue has a more polished and "literate" tone. Cast and credits were also altered to made-up "American-sounding" names. The "Script Adaptor" for this version of the film, uncredited, was a young Francis Ford Coppola.

This version of the film was featured in Season 5, Episode #505 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993, despite the fact that Kevin Murphy, voice of Tom Servo, has professed a love for the "breathtaking" visual style of this and other films by Aleksandr Ptushko in multiple interviews.[1][2] Paul Chaplin, another writer of the show, has also expressed admiration elsewhere, but not regrets for the mockery."

If you like, you can watch it here: