|Master of Stop-Motion: A
Tribute to Ray Harryhausen In Person
never had patience with people; thats why I never became a director. My characters
always did exactly what I told them to do!"
Like the Greek sculptor Pygmalion, legendary visual effects artist Ray
Harryhausen has spent his career breathing life into a succession of wondrous
creatures, born out of ancient myth and modern technology: the living skeleton and the
giant Roc in THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, the harpies and the hydra in JASON &
THE ARGONAUTS, the marvelous dinosaurs in THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, VALLEY OF GWANGI
and ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. Famed for his astounding visual imagination, along with his
painstaking attention to detail he did the lighting, camera work, sets and
animation himself for almost all his stop-motion creations Harryhausen has always
been quick to point out he did more than visual effects on many of his films: "20
MILLION MILES TO EARTH, THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD
are all based on outlines I made, plus my drawings. Our films were not directors
films in the European sense of the word -- I always worked with the writer, and the
producer, and sometimes the director wouldnt come in until the picture was ready to
Born in Los Angeles in 1920, Harryhausen got his first taste of
movie magic when he saw KING KONG at Graumans Chinese Theatre as a boy. He soon
began experimenting with his own stop-motion shorts in his parents garage, and after
graduating high school, landed a job with George Pal on his "Puppetoons" series.
After a stint in the Army during WWII (where he worked under Frank Capra in the Motion
Picture Unit), Harryhausen returned to Los Angeles, where he began producing a series of
highly imaginative fairytale shorts, including "Little Red Riding Hood" and the
then-unfinished "The Tortoise & The Hare." KING KONG animator Willis
OBrien gave Harryhausen his first feature work on MIGHTY JOE YOUNG in 1949, and by
the early 1960s, he had been responsible for an astonishing series of fantastic
creations on films such as 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD
and JASON & THE ARGONAUTS. Although he retired from full-time filmmaking after CLASH
OF THE TITANS in 1981, Harryhausens work continues to inspire and dazzle generation
after generation of movie lovers.
Were thrilled to welcome legendary
visual effects artist Ray Harryhausen to the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian for
this retrospective of his work, to coincide with Harryhausen receiving a Star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame - !
Friday, June 13 7:30 PM
Ray Harryhausen In Person Double Feature!
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, 1963,
Columbia, 104 min. Dir. Don Chaffey. Hercules, harpies, the bronze giant Talos and
an army of living skeletons what more could you ask for?! Heroic Greek warrior
Jason (Todd Armstrong) travels to the farthest ends of the earth in search of the
legendary Golden Fleece, in this glorious adventure featuring some of Ray
Harryhausens most memorable visual effects, along with music by Bernard
Herrmann. Co-starring Nancy Kovack, Laurence Naismith, Nigel Green.
CLASH OF THE TITANS, 1981,
MGM (Warner Bros.), 118 min. Dir. Desmond Davis. The last feature (to date) with effects
by the great Ray Harryhausen, CLASH OF THE TITANS follows the epic trials and
tribulations of young Perseus (Harry Hamlin) as he battles giant scorpions, two-headed
dogs, the ferocious Calibos and the giant Kracken, with a little help from the gods and a
magical, winged horse named Pegasus! Co-starring Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Ursula
Andress, Burgess Meredith. Plus, an encore screening of the short "The Tortoise And The Hare"
(10 min.), a lovely, stop-motion animated fairytale for children which Harryhausen began
in 1952 -- and finished 50 years later with the help of two local animators, Mark
Caballero and Seamus Walsh!! Discussion between films with
visual effects artist and producer Ray Harryhausen and actor Harry Hamlin (schedule
Saturday, June 14 2:00 PM
MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, 1949, RKO
(Warner Bros.), 94 min. Inspired as a boy by the pioneering stop-motion work of Willis
OBrien on KING KONG, Harryhausen got the chance to work with his hero years
later along with KING KONG co-director Ernest B. Schoedsack on this
marvelous adventure/fantasy story about a beautiful young woman (Terry Moore) and her best
friend, a giant, kindhearted gorilla named Joe - ! In the end, Harryhausen wound up
handling the majority of the visual effects for the film, including spectacular scenes of
Joe destroying a nightclub. Academy Award Winner for Best Visual Effects. Discussion following with actress Terry Moore.
Saturday, June 14 5:00 PM
Ray Harryhausen In Person!
VALLEY OF GWANGI, 1969, Warner
Bros., 96 min. Dir. James OConnolly. One of Harryhausens most rarely-screened
gems, GWANGI stars James Franciscus as a brash young cowboy who stumbles across a
hidden valley teaming with prehistoric life. Trouble ensues when Franciscus captures one
of the lost dinosaurs and tries to exhibit it in a traveling circus. Co-starring Richard
Carlson, Gila Golan, Laurence Naismith. Discussion
following with visual effects artist and producer Ray Harryhausen and screenwriter William
Bast (schedule permitting).
Saturday, June 14 7:45 PM
Ray Harryhausen In Person -- Double Feature:
THE BEAST FROM 20,000
FATHOMS, 1953, Warner Bros., 80 min. Dir. Eugene Lourie. A giant prehistoric
creature called a rhedosaurus is awakened from his icy slumber by nuclear testing and
travels to New York City, where he takes his bad temper out on the stunned population.
Based on a short story by longtime Harryhausen pal Ray Bradbury (they met years
earlier as members of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, along with Forrest
Ackerman!) Starring Paul Christian, Paula Raymond, Kenneth Tobey, Steve Brodie.
EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS,
1956, Columbia, 83 min. Dir. Fred F. Sears. Classic 1950s drive-in stuff:
Earths scientists cant figure out why all the rockets they shoot into space
until a fleet of flying saucers appear over the White House!
Harryhausen collaborated on the original story for the film with famed sci-fi writer Curt
Siodmak (THE WOLF MAN). Starring Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor. Visual
effects artist Ray Harryhausen, writer Ray Bradbury and co-screenwriter Lou Morheim to
introduce screenings (schedule permitting).
Sunday, June 15 5:00 PM
Ray Harryhausen In Person Double Feature:
ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., 1966,
20th Century Fox, 100 min. Dir. Don Chaffey. Prehistoric goddesses Raquel
Welch and Martine Beswick compete for audience attention with some of Ray
Harryhausens most realistic stop-motion dinosaurs, in this surprisingly
convincing fantasy adventure. With expert cinematography by longtime Harryhausen
collaborator Wilkie Cooper (7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, JASON & THE ARGONAUTS,
FIRST MEN IN THE MOON).
FIRST MEN IN THE MOON, 1964,
Columbia, 103 min. In director Nathan Jurans extremely entertaining
adaptation of H.G. Wells novel, turn-of-the-century British inventor Lionel Jeffries
enlists Edward Judd and fiancee Martha Hyer in his scheme to reach the moon using
anti-gravity paint. Once the trio hits the lunar landscape, theyre captured by a
weird subterranean insect race, the Selenites, and were treated to some of Ray
Harryhausens most enjoyable special effects. An infectious blend of Victorian
sci-fi, sweet humor and high adventure.
Discussion between films with visual effects
artist and producer Ray Harryhausen (schedule permitting).