Sunday, 17 January 2010

Ray Harryhausen

There are many great artists out there in the world of film, and not only directors. Ray Harryhausen is one of these artists. Stop-motion model animation is his speciality, and although most of the films he's been involved in are either cheesy or just plain bad, his work is almost always worth the prize of admission.

Harryhausen, who turns 90 this year, has been celebrated a lot over the last decades. This is my own celebration.

Stop-motion means that you photography an object which on its own can't move, and betweeen each photo you move the object a little bit, so that when the images are seen in a sequence, they give the illusion of movement. This was not something invented by Harryhausen, and he was certainly not the only one doing it, but he was doing it with great style, intelligence and warmth, and the result is just great. Look at this bit of lethal skeletons, raising from the earth, in Jason and the Argonauts (1963):


And here's a big ape from Mighty Joe Young (1949):


And last but not least in this little parade is a screen test for a version of War of the Worlds that was never made, although it was a pet project for Harryhausen:

2 comments:

  1. That's fantastic. I'd never heard anything about Harryhausen having plans for a War of the Worlds movie. If only it had come off. Tha Martian looks a bit like the Kraken and I'm not sure about it wiping sweat from its brow but still... :)

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  2. Yes, it's sweet, isn't it! If you're in London over the weekend you can meet the man in person, at BFI Southbank: http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/bfi_southbank/film_programme/regular_strands/film_funday/jason_and_the_argonauts_introduction_by_ray?utm_source=20100617sb&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20100617sb

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