Cinema: Quick Cuts

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THOMASINE & BUSHROD are a couple of stickup artists who roam the West after the turn of the century, shooting up citizens, falling in love (with each other) and distributing the plunder of the territorial banks among the poor folk. According to their wanted circular, they are "known to have many friends among Indians, Mexicans, Poor Whites and Other Colored People." They are pursued by a rabid white marshal, and naturally they meet a violent end.

The plot, which is totally predictable whenever it manages to make sense, shuttles Thomasine (Vonetta McGee) and Bushrod (Max Julien) from caper to caper with small regard for continuity. Yet, there are some nice, funny, affectionate moments between the two lead actors. She is always at him about something, like holding up their getaway from a bank robbery so she can snap a photograph. He is very wry, very careful about her, and although one can see the last ambush coming a long distance away, it is still a wrenching moment. McGee and Julien (he also wrote the script and coproduced) have made it all matter at least enough for that.

THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD passes one crucial test for the matinee trade: go out for popcorn and you will probably miss something good. Among the movie's major attractions are a one-eyed centaur, a winged griffin, a six-armed bronze goddess who comes to deadly life, and a rather testy flying homunculus. These creatures have their origin in the imagination and the work shop of Ray Harryhausen, a special effects whiz. He brings them all alive in a process called Dynarama, which would appear to combine equal portions of stop-action photography, elaborate multiple exposures and a kind of gentle necromancy. Golden Voyage is really just an excuse to show off Harry hausen's commodious bag of tricks.

The actors (among whom are John Philip Law, as Sinbad, and Caroline Munro, as the flimsily dressed slave girl who is along on the voyage largely for scenic purposes) are not quite so animated as the mythic creatures surrounding them. The movie is short on talk, except for the windbag wizard (Tom Baker) who plays the villain, and long on action, quite the proper proportion for entertainments like this. Sinbad is light, silly fun, and kids will probably appreciate both the skillful technique of the fantasy and the fact that the film makers have had the good sense not to include a single—yecchh!—kissing scene. −J.C.