For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.

Harryhausen @ 90

"Children of the Hydra ... Happy 90th Birthday Ray Harryhausen, god of stop motion animation," tweeted Simon Pegg earlier today. The occasion marks the opening of the exhibition Ray Harryhausen: Myths and Legends at the London Film Museum and an announcement from the National Media Museum that it'll likely be acquiring Harryhausen's archive of drawings, storyboards and models: "Examples in the collection include the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts [1963] and the Medusa and the Kraken from Clash of the Titans [1981]. It also features rare work by the pioneer special effects designer Willis O'Brien (1886-1962), the creator of King Kong, with whom Harryhausen worked early in his career and who was a major influence."

"To mark his birthday, tributes were made to Harryhausen over the weekend at an event in London organised by Bafta and the British Film Institute, hosted by the director John Landis," notes Mark Brown in the Guardian, where Landis himself writes: "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, which became a tremendous box office success for Columbia, was the first colour movie he worked on, and he was credited as an associate producer. That is an important moment in the history of the movies: Harryhausen, a below-the-line special effects technician, had become his own genre. In fact, Ray is truly unique in the history of movies as a special effects technician who is really the auteur of his films. The stop-motion creatures and vehicles Ray created were not only the stars of those movies, but the main reason for them to exist at all."

"Harryhausen has always been something of an outsider," writes James Mottram in the Independent. "He recalls a review in The Hollywood Reporter of his 1958 adventure The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, the precursor to his 1963 masterwork, Jason and the Argonauts. 'It said, "Every Hollywood technician should see this picture." And I think that queered me with Hollywood.' Two years on he had left LA for London, where he has lived ever since."

The BBC's Tim Masters notes that "Harryhausen is cited by the likes of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Peter Jackson as an inspiration.... Aardman animator Nick Park was inspired to make his first model after seeing Harryhausen demonstrate one of his dinosaurs on TV. 'I couldn't believe that someone had brought dinosaurs to life — it was a magical moment for me,' he says." Park then talks about his three favorite moments from Harryhausen's films.

David Cairns has a list, too: "The Top Ten Sexy Ray Harryhausen Monsters." Phelim O'Neill reports on the BFI evening for the Guardian; David Cairns had a fine time as well. Bert Rebhandl writes up an appreciation in the Berliner Zeitung (and in German). More congrats — and a slide show — from Dan North. Harry Knowles sends birthday greetings; check out the AICN animation in the upper left hand corner. Back in April, the worldwide launch of Louis Leterrier's remake of Clash of the Titans sparked a round of interviews with Harryhausen and Lawrence French's for Cinefantastique was one of the better ones. Earlier: Glenn Kenny's "Brief History Of Big F**king Scorpions In Cinema."

Update, 6/30: Viewing (5'49"). German animator Carsten Sommer calls on an alien trio to transmit his birthday greetings.

For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow The Daily Notebook on Twitter and/or the RSS feed.

Please to add a new comment.

Latest News