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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

GOODBYE, RAY HARRYHAUSEN...


For so many people like myself growing up as children of the seventies and into the eighties, those incredible stop-motion animation films of the late Ray Harryhausen, who sadly joined the Force yesterday, were and remain well-written and produced, magical thrill rides of family entertainment excellence which I keenly awaited whenever they made their way to my local cinemas during the summer holidays- each one full of exotic lands, beautiful princesses and swashbuckling heroes fighting the most diabolically evil sorcerers/witches and their horrific yet intriguing monsters. The ultimate eyes and mind candy for this kiddo!

From the incredible skeletal sword fight of Jason and the Argonauts (Jason and the Argonauts: Battle with the Skeleton Army. - YouTube - possibly my all-time favourite stop-motion sequence from his painstaking, one frame at a time, hand-crafted work over thirty years)- a fascinating macabre concoction/showcase of swordplay and dark humour  that's also one of the most complex, violent and original sequences ever committed to celluloid (backed up by that epic Bernard Herrmann music), to the one-eyed people capturing cyclops of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, to the hypnotically deadly multi-limbed, sword-wielding Goddess of Kali threatening John Phillip Law's incarnation of the legendary sailing hero in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, to the unleashed dinosaur rampaging against his cowboy trappers in The Valley of Gwangi, to the beauty and wonder of the flying horse Pegasus, followed by the darkness emerging from the superb confrontation between the heroic Perseus and the snaked haired, slithering Medusa in Clash of the Titans (Harryhausen's sadly final movie)-all this from a man who truly made the impossible possible before the birth of STAR WARS and the arrival of George Lucas, inspiring the then 33-year old film maker, and so many others, into seeing in a fresh new period of creativity and film-making excellence for the special effects industry. And beyond...


Ray Harryhausen, we thank you and salute you.


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