17 Mar 2010

Jason and the Argonauts (1963) - Don Chaffey

Jason is prophesied to take the throne of Thessaly and he travels to Colchis to find the Golden Fleece with the assembled crew of the finest men in Greece, including Hercules. Their voyage is full of battles against harpies, a giant bronze Talos, a hydra, and an animated skeleton army, all brought to life by Ray Harryhausen.

Ray Harryhausen is a Creator of Special Visual Effects in this film.
He created six and half skeletons (the legs are missing on one), the Hydra, Talos and the Harpies for the film. And it is estimated, he executed 184,800 movements.

The construction of the famous skeleton fight scene took something about 4 and a half month to create and that lasted for just a bit longer than 4 minutes on the screen. It was alaborious work that demanded devotion to it.

But this devotion comes from strong passion for what he is doing. He tells himself that from the very early days he remembers being fascinated by dinosaurs and monsters and that the film King Kong (1933) influenced him enormously , in fact changed his life. From that point he started looking for answers - how the monster was brought to life, started constructing his own model and attending various classes toimprove his designs as well as the ability to produce his visions as accurately as possible.

"He had discovered ... that drawings helped visualise what was in the imagination. Without that visualisation people wouldn’t be able to understand what you were talking about. So Ray learned that this was just as important a part of the process of animation as animation itself. "

Watching the film I found the most fascinating , the animation of Talos, huge metal statue. I couldn't believe its just a 15 inch figure as I read after watching the film. You could tell from watching the animation that this is a enormous object made out of metal. It is the moves were so specific and believable - the performance was believable.

Also I thing the scene was successful because there were no interactions with people ( like in the scene with skeletons, where Jason and his crew seemingly fight with the air ).

So the performance of monsters in the film is convincing, even though if it is not as smooth as we are used to.

http://www.rayharryhausen.com/index.php - official website of Ray Harryhausen


  1. Yes, I found the statue of Talos quite creepy actually, mainly because it was so expressionless...

  2. Creepy indeed... Especially those first moves