powered by AFI
As depicted in the film, Omar Khayym was a Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer, best known for his poetical work Rubiyt. Contemporary sources add the following information about the production: Prior to production, Ursula Thiess, Louis Jordan and Keith Andes were announced as cast members but did not appear in the final film. At the start of principal photography, Sally Forrest replaced an ailing Piper Laurie in the role of "Ameer." Maurice Anka was cast, but his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Dale Robertson from Twentieth Century-Fox and Mari Blanchard from Universal for the production. In January 1953, RKO announced that the desert scenes would be shot in Death Valley, CA, but it is not known whether any location filming actually took place there. The picture was shot in 3-D, without SuperScope, but was released theatrically in flat widescreen. Modern sources note that one of the film's negatives was adapted to SuperScope. Son of Sinbad was writer-producer Robert Sparks's last film for RKO, the studio with which he had been associated since 1947, and also marked Kim Novak's first screen role. Although The French Line is generally considered to be Novak's first film, as it was released before Son of Sinbad, Son of Sinbad was made first. Novak is listed in the CBCS as Marilyn Novak.
Because of censorship problems, Son of Sinbad was not generally released until June 1955. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, while the script met with only minor objections, the shot film was condemned by the PCA. In a January 27, 1954 memo, PCA director Joseph I. Breen noted that the picture was "unacceptable" by "reason of indecent dance movements and too scanty costuming." Breen particularly objected to dance footage appearing under the opening titles. On February 11, 1954, Breen notified RKO of its decision not to grant the film a certificate. According to an April 1954 Daily Variety news item, RKO considered releasing the picture without a seal, as it briefly had done with its 1954 release The French Line . Although the PCA file includes reports from Ohio and Kansas censor boards, dated March 1954, it has not been determined whether the film actually had any public screenings at that time.
To obtain a PCA seal, RKO cut and resubmitted Son of Sinbad, finally eliminating the title dance sequence and shortening other offending numbers. Although Breen issued the film a certificate in March 1955, the Legion of Decency gave the picture a "C," or condemned, rating in mid-May 1955. In particular, the Legion complained about a dance performed by Lili St. Cyr, a former stripper. Because of the Legion's rating, RKO announced that the picture's Los Angeles June 1, 1955 opening was to be canceled. The film did open in Los Angeles on June 1, 1955, and with the exception of Memphis, all state and municipal censor boards passed the edited picture, with only some minor eliminations. In mid-August 1955, however, Hollywood Reporter reported that the film, which had already netted over $1,000,000 at the box office, was being withdrawn, presumably to be recut and resubmitted to the Legion. In 1961, the film was re-released by Excelsior Pictures under the title Nights in a Harem. For information about other films featuring "Sinbad," see the entry for the 1947 RKO film Sinbad the Sailor in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50.