Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (’77) was the third and final Sinbad film. VFX by Ray Harryhausen, of course. Shot in ’75, the release was delayed two years due to Harryhausen’s exacting visual standards. And yet all of Harryhausen’s creatures used the exact same body language and exaggerated gestures. And who came up with that cyclops “erp” sound?

I’d never seen so much as a snippet of footage from this film until tonight. Clearly a bargain basement effort. It’s the visual equivalent of eating french fries at a Burger King

Directed, believe it or not, by distinguished stage and screen actor Sam Wanamaker (The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Death on the Nile, Private Benjamin, The Competition, Raw Deal), who was in his mid 50s in ‘75. Talk about a paycheck gig.

The film stars Patrick Wayne (36 at the time), 22 year-old Taryn (daughter of Tyrone) Power, 24 year-old Jane Seymour and Patrick Troughton.

Stop-motion creatures were riveting in their early to mid 20th century heyday (early 30s to mid 50s). From the ‘60s onward it seemed as if Harryhausen alone kept this increasingly passé but surreal-seeming technique going…the exotic unreality, the rareness of it…an odd-bird visual realm that was neither “real” nor animated nor CG’ed.

And yet Harryhausen’s Sinbad films were curiously arresting as far as they went, and even the stiff and hokey Clash of the Titans (‘81) had its brief diversions. I still love the shadowy, torch-lit confrontation scene between Harry Hamlin and the Medusa serpent with the bow-and-arrow.

The constant problem, of course, was the difficulty of blending live-action humans with these creatures. They were almost always in separate shots. And of course, the action was always about the same choices — run or fight and possibly be killed ad infinitum.

I had never seen this scene from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger before Wednesday night, and I’m sorry but I felt immediately underwhelmed. That midday, too-much sunshine visual palette, for one thing. And I instantly recognized those Spanish boulder-strewn hills from the battle scenes in King of Kings (’61). And what was the horn-headed cyclops looking to accomplish exactly?