Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Ray Harryhausen

Raymond Frederick "Ray" Harryhausen passed away yesterday, he was 92.  A well-known and well respected animator, he created the form of stop-motion model animation known as "Dynamation"

In the glory days before CGI meant we could see anything and not believe a bit of it, his work - from "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" via several Sinbad, various Flying Saucers and dinosaurs - was never less than superb.  True, the films they appeared in might have lacked occasionally in terms of acting and directing but the effects, the real reason we watched them, were awe-inspiring.

He leaves behind a legacy that has informed cinema (and other branches of the arts) and will continue to do so.  His league of admirers is wide and varied and I’m one of those.  As a kid, I fell in love with stop-motion animation and that is still with me today, I awed at what Harryhausen brought to the screen and I marvelled at how wonderful it looked.

There are many different sequences that I could pick out to end this little memorial but I’ll go with the one that means the most to me.  In fact, I would be prepared to argue, with graphs and quotes and everything else, that the skeleton attack in “Jason & The Argonauts” is the single best special effects sequence in the history of movies. Bar none.

RIP good sir and rest assured of your legacy, awakening a love of thrills and fantasy and stop motion animation in generations of kids.

Ray Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013)

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