From a press release:
Ray Harryhausen spent his career turning ancient myth and modern technology into a succession of wondrous creatures, including living skeletons in THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, harpies in JASON & THE ARGONAUTS and dinosaurs in ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. Born in Los Angeles in 1920, Harryhausen got his first taste of movie magic when he saw KING KONG as a boy, and it was that film’s animator, Willis O’Brien, who gave Ray his first feature work, on MIGHTY JOE YOUNG in 1949.
Over the next four decades, Harryhausen’s dazzling sequences were highlights of such films as THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, THE VALLEY OF GWANGI and CLASH OF THE TITANS.When the legendary visual effects artist died in May, legions of moviemakers – particularly those working in the sci-fi and fantasy genres – were quick to acknowledge their debt to the master. “I had seen some other fantasy films before, but none of them had the sort of awe that the Ray Harryhausen movies had.”George Lucas said. “Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in [the] special visual [effects] industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much. Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no STAR WARS.”Famed for his astounding visual imagination, along with his painstaking attention to detail (he did the lighting, camerawork, sets and animation himself for almost all his stop-motion creations), Harryhausen’s work went well beyond special effects.
As he once noted: “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 director’s films in the European sense of the word – I always worked with the writer, and the producer, and sometimes the director wouldn’t come in until the picture was ready to go.” This month, Ray Harryhausen’s greatest creations return to the big screen in a tribute that also includes MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, FIRST MEN IN THE MOON and an afternoon of his early short films including some WWII Animation Tests made for the Frank Capra unit and work based on the work of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, classic fairytales and Greek mythology. Several of the films are celebrating significant anniversaries this year, including JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (50th anniversary), THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (60th anniversary) and THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (40th anniversary).