Author Topic: Ray Harryhausen  (Read 1723 times)

Ray Harryhausen
« on: August 11, 2021, 10:57:17 AM »
Inspired by this post:

I watched the original Clash Of The Titans and Jason & The Argonauts over the weekend and really enjoyed them. On a real nostalgia trip lately, just watching anything that feels of a different era.

I'm downloading the Sinbad movies, but does anyone have similar recommendations

I have fond memories of watching Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad films at my nan's and recently picked up a couple on Blu-ray. This led me to learning more about Ray Harryhausen and his story and work is clearly amazing. None of this will be surprising or novel information to most people here, but nevertheless, I didn't know until recently.

The Indicator label has done some brilliant Blu-ray releases of Harryhausen films and there's a rumoured mega boxset coming.

https://www.powerhousefilms.co.uk/collections/harryhausen


Jason and the Argonauts is also available via the HMV Premium collection, great release.

https://store.hmv.com/store/film-tv/blu-ray/jason-and-the-argonauts-(hmv-exclusive)-the-pr-(1)


I also remember CJ from the Twin Humanities podcast talking about the Harryhausen influence on Dark Souls, both in enemy designs and animation. I didn't know what he meant really at the time but I can totally see that now, especially stuff like the skeletons and standard 'dreglings'. Very Harryhausen, indeed.


Going back to the quoted post in the OP, I think my minor obsession with all things Godzilla over the last mad eighteen months has been based in a similar hankering for a more innocent, otherworldly charm. I would genuinely recommend many of the Japanese Godzilla films for similar thrills. Please ask if you want specific recs.

Anyone like Ray Harryhausen?

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2021, 12:21:49 PM »
He was an absolute hero of mine in childhood.  Learning that one of his films was due to be on the telly was a thrill of anticipation that beat everything except Christmas. 

It was thanks to him that I first learned how it feels to see one of your passions become outdated, irrelevant, ridiculous: when I first saw Star Wars I realised that the essential and unashamed modesty of his productions would no longer be acceptable.  I was 9.

A few years later I read how Phil Tippett had invented Go-Motion to compensate for the jerky effect of Harryhausen-style stop motion.  I was aghast.  The jerkiness was the whole bloody point!  Who wants monsters that move 'realistically'?  Harryhausen's creations weren't anything so mundane - they were fantastic, in both senses of the word.

I sent him a birthday card for his 90th birthday (got his address from Directory Enquiries when I worked there).  He didn't reply, the bitch.

Butchers Blind

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2021, 12:42:47 PM »
Remember them on TV as a child, usually a Sunday afternoon, and absolutely loving them. That scene in Argonauts where the skeletons come to life was mind blowing to my 8 year old self.

Blumf

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2021, 12:51:25 PM »
20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) is perhaps my favourite Harryhausen stop motion work, proper monster rampage action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8cpR6KjZMM

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2021, 02:35:04 PM »
20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) is perhaps my favourite Harryhausen stop motion work, proper monster rampage action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8cpR6KjZMM

The first time I ever cried at a movie when Ymir dies. I was about six though.

Some of my favourite Harryhausen moments are in First Men in the Moon (1964). The Lunars, in particular.





This might be of interest. I visited this exhibition at MOMI many years ago. Also saw the original Mighty Joe Young (1949) model, Ray's first feature job.

https://www.nationalgalleries.org/exhibition/ray-harryhausen-titan-cinema

https://ocdviewer.com/2014/02/10/mighty-joe-young-july-27-1949/

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2021, 02:45:08 PM »
I love his animations, but usually find the films around them to be pretty dull.

surreal

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2021, 04:05:58 PM »
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was the first movie I think I was taken to the cinema to see, I checked and it was 1977 which would put it just ahead of Star Wars which I also remember.  There is something very watchable about them.  I also remember being slightly obsessed with Clash of the Titans which I think was covered a lot in the Tiger and Speed comics I was reading at the time (or maybe the Eagle, I don't recall)

28 I was, etc.

bgmnts

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2021, 04:08:46 PM »
The Talos statue in Jason and the Argonauts is still one of the coolest fucking things I've ever seen. Proper hypnotic. I wish there was still a place for those effects, they look more real than even the smoothest of CGI.

Harryhausen is amazing anyway.

surreal

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2021, 04:19:28 PM »
The Talos statue in Jason and the Argonauts is still one of the coolest fucking things I've ever seen. Proper hypnotic. I wish there was still a place for those effects, they look more real than even the smoothest of CGI.

Harryhausen is amazing anyway.

It does look great - it works because the slightly jarring movement and that squealing scraping noise really sold that this was a big fuck off statue coming to life.

Someone recently posted online the animations "smoothed out" by CGI, not impressed tbh: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCw0YRMFHY

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2021, 04:29:43 PM »
Enormous fan of the man and his work. Was once lucky enough to meet him when he made an appearance in Norwich and he was marvellous, friendly, every bit as lovely as I'd hoped.

One of my favourite YouTube reviewers, Brandon Tenold, did a fond and knowledgeable tribute to him a few months after his passing in the form of his personal Top Ten of Harryhausen's films, and it's well worth watching to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX2aoJyVnxc

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2021, 04:40:16 PM »
As a kid I thought it was literally impossible for any Harryhausen film to be bad.  Then I saw It Came From Beneath the Sea (the one with the octopus) and had to accept that it was all too possible.  An hour of dreary 50s B-movie cliches before the creature takes centre stage, and I had already seen most of the footage with the monster in clips on Tiswas and other shows.

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2021, 06:37:29 PM »
I always loved Jason and the Argonauts but I remember some kids at school thinking it was fake and shit in the early 90s. Philistines.

BUT. you know actually what is thing that doesn't quite land about those scenes? It's not the animation, it's the actors. They have no idea what they're doing, just waving their swords about. It just wasn't in film direction then how to fight with things that aren't there.

There's also the slight blurriness of them which comes with the back projection technique. But it's still wonderful to appreciate how he animates those skeleton models to interact with the raw footage of actors waving their swords about.

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2021, 06:46:06 PM »
I disagree, I think the co-ordination of the actors with the skeletons is fantastic.

Wonderful trivia: of the two non-Jason swordsmen, the one with the beard is Andrew Faulds, who became a Labour MP in 1966, staying in parliament until 1997.

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2021, 07:44:12 PM »
One of my favourite YouTube reviewers, Brandon Tenold, did a fond and knowledgeable tribute to him a few months after his passing in the form of his personal Top Ten of Harryhausen's films, and it's well worth watching to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX2aoJyVnxc

This is great and something I forgot to link in the OP. I really like this guy's channel. Can seem snarky but often makes me laugh and then stuff like this, you can really see the warmth and love he has for cinema. His Godzilla stuff is what got me me into him, really entertaining.

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2021, 10:57:55 PM »
Someone recently posted online the animations "smoothed out" by CGI, not impressed tbh: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCw0YRMFHY
That's not just stupid because it's obviously stupid, but they also misunderstood why the animation might be perceived as 'jerky'. It's not because of the framerate, it's the lack of motion blur.

bgmnts

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2021, 11:11:24 PM »
It does look great - it works because the slightly jarring movement and that squealing scraping noise really sold that this was a big fuck off statue coming to life.

Someone recently posted online the animations "smoothed out" by CGI, not impressed tbh: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCw0YRMFHY

Yeah this is true.

And that is why I find the harpies a little bit ropey. The skeletons look amazing for the same reasons you listed for the Talos statue, you'd expect them to be like a bit rigid and rickety but the harpies just look a bit jittery and naff to me.

Harryhausen is a hack.

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2021, 11:32:51 PM »
Is it Jason where the guy is fighting a giant wasp? That was a classic scene. Also the Medusa fight scene is fantastic stuff.

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2021, 11:36:17 PM »
Is it Jason where the guy is fighting a giant wasp? That was a classic scene. Also the Medusa fight scene is fantastic stuff.

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger has a giant wasp, but it's a pretty redundant scene.  Better is the enormous honey bee in Mysterious Island.

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2021, 11:41:00 PM »
Delighted to hear I'm inspiring threads!

That giant Talos statue, the creaking noises and the way it moves, there's nothing like it. The scale of it on the beach, those little soldiers... magical.

Love The Gods watching down, moving chess pieces, being all smug.

Always wanted my own Bubo



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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2021, 08:18:50 AM »
Someone recently posted online the animations "smoothed out" by CGI, not impressed tbh: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCw0YRMFHY
That's not just stupid because it's obviously stupid, but they also misunderstood why the animation might be perceived as 'jerky'. It's not because of the framerate, it's the lack of motion blur.

Having a look around after I posted that and someone's actually done it with added motion blur here. It looks miles better than adding frames.

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2021, 08:41:03 AM »
He was an absolute hero of mine in childhood.  Learning that one of his films was due to be on the telly was a thrill of anticipation that beat everything except Christmas. 

It was thanks to him that I first learned how it feels to see one of your passions become outdated, irrelevant, ridiculous: when I first saw Star Wars I realised that the essential and unashamed modesty of his productions would no longer be acceptable.  I was 9.
Same here. I was 19.

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2021, 10:20:46 AM »
That's not just stupid because it's obviously stupid, but they also misunderstood why the animation might be perceived as 'jerky'. It's not because of the framerate, it's the lack of motion blur.

Having a look around after I posted that and someone's actually done it with added motion blur here. It looks miles better than adding frames.
that looks great. And there are some great bits of acting and direction where he kicks the sword out and stuff. It's difficult because now you have someone with a tennis ball on a stick for them to look at, back here you had to have totally clean wide shots of them acting with absolutely nothing

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2021, 06:40:35 PM »
Some of my favourite Harryhausen moments are in First Men in the Moon (1964). The Lunars, in particular.





I bloody love that movie, did so as a child and was worried I might not feel the same way on a (vaguely) recent rewatch, but it's still enormously entertaining stuff.

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) is perhaps my favourite Harryhausen stop motion work, proper monster rampage action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8cpR6KjZMM

I watched that today and liked it a good deal:

20 Million Miles To Earth (1957) - An American space craft crashes in the sea near Sicily and young Pepe notices a mysterious object containing a strange creature, and soon the creature is dashing about all over the place scaring animals and injuring humans. With effects by Ray Harryhausen the first hour is entertaining but by the numbers, but the final twenty minutes are really great with a battle between the alien and an elephant a highlight, but the whole section is packed with some great action scenes. 7.3/10

The elephant battle really is impressive stuff, if it had been 90 minutes of that I'd have given it a rare 10/10!

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2021, 01:29:09 AM »
I disagree, I think the co-ordination of the actors with the skeletons is fantastic.

Wonderful trivia: of the two non-Jason swordsmen, the one with the beard is Andrew Faulds, who became a Labour MP in 1966, staying in parliament until 1997.

one for the pub quizes, great bit o'trivia

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2021, 06:32:51 PM »
I was in the mood for more Harryhausen today, and he delivered and then some:

Jason And The Argonauts (1963) - Another action packed slice of Ray Harryhausen where Jason's searching for the Golden Fleece while the gods watch him on tv and occasionally help and occasionally mock. The various quests he ends up involved in are varied and never less than very entertaining (a brief appearance from Triton being my favourite, but the skeleton filled ending comes a very close second) and this is a well paced, very enjoyable romp. 8.0/10

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2021, 12:03:04 PM »
I finally made it up to the Ray Harryhausen - Titan Of Cinema exhibition in Edinburgh last week and can report it's fucking brilliant and well worth a must-see if you are a fan. It covers everything from his influences, early puppets and models, rough sketches and storyboards etc in great detail as well as all the fabulous models themselves.  It runs until Feb next year I think, so plenty of time to catch it still.










Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2021, 01:41:22 PM »
A owl?

surreal

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2021, 08:42:54 AM »
I finally made it up to the Ray Harryhausen - Titan Of Cinema exhibition in Edinburgh last week and can report it's fucking brilliant and well worth a must-see if you are a fan. It covers everything from his influences, early puppets and models, rough sketches and storyboards etc in great detail as well as all the fabulous models themselves.  It runs until Feb next year I think, so plenty of time to catch it still.

Oh that looks awesome... I thought that finished in September but if it is on until February I might have to take a trip up to Edinburgh to see that when I have a few days off.

Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2021, 11:37:55 AM »
Oh that looks awesome... I thought that finished in September but if it is on until February I might have to take a trip up to Edinburgh to see that when I have a few days off.

Just double-checked and it's definitely on until Feb 20th (although you can only book up until the end of November at the moment). They are doing some sort of virtual online viewing thing for a tenner if you can't make it but it's certainly worth the trip up in person - we spent a good 2 hours or so in there (including a few minutes fighting skeletons in the green screen room and watching the short film) and even our daughter, who is 12 and hates everything, loved it. The obvious big-hitters like the Kraken, skeletons, Talos etc are all spectacular close-up, but there was plenty of things I had no idea about, like the planned adaptation of War of the Worlds.

There's an accompanying Titan of Cinema book that can be picked up on Amazon for about 20 quid that's pretty good, focussing on 100 objects from the exhibition with a little story for most from someone who worked with Ray on it.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Ray Harryhausen
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2021, 08:01:24 AM »
This old DVD I've got is a delight but I've just seen how much it goes for online. Strewth!


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