16 Days of Halloween: Ray Harryhausen

Posted on October 19, 2010


Today I’m going to share my top ten favorite movies from the amazing Ray Harryhausen. I’m doing it a little differently today though. I’m going to do a countdown. So without further ado:

#10. 7th Voyage of Sinbad. I LOVE all things Sinbad and Sinbad related. The stories, the settings, the action, the romance. I fell in love with Sinbad when the handsome hunk Douglas Fairbanks Jr played him opposite Maureen O’Hara in the movie Sinbad the Sailor. (Hey thanks to film even I could appreciate how handsome he was—so dashing and debonair.) Harryhausen added his stop motion animation and created some of the most wonderful creatures EVER:

#9. Mysterious Island This Jules Verne classic was made into a movie in 1961—Hollywood, proving once again their inability to come up with any new material, has remade it in 2005 with the ever charming and talented Patrick Stuart as Nemo, but despite Mr. Stewart’s acting, the movie was a complete flop in my opinion. You just can’t improve on a classic!

#8. Jason and the Argonauts. Another swashbuckling adventure about another age. It’s a wonderful and timeless tale that I truly love.

#7. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad finds our hero without a heroine once again. This time he’s found a golden tablet piece that he wears like a necklace, and he is hired by a strange man wearing a golden mask to help this man, the Vizier of the country of Marabia find a fountain that “restores youth, vitality and riches”.

#6. My next favorite is of course another Sinbad flick. Mr. Harryhausen produced a totally of 3 Sinbad movies for Columbia pictures and this one, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, was his third and final.
This movie stars Sinbad as a handsome and single sailor but by now he is a Prince of Baghdad. He has fallen in love with the beautiful Princess Farrah, played by the always beautiful Jane Seymour. But before he can marry her he must fight monsters and save the beautiful princess’s brother from a horrible curse.

#5. Now bear in mind I’m only putting these movies up because I enjoy the EFFECTS NOT because the stories are always awesome, wonderful or completely fabulous stories—which this movie unfortunately is NOT. The effects rock, but that’s about all I can say for the film. The movie is One Million Years BC. Itself is a remake of 1940 movie One Million BC. It stars Raquel Welch—who I’m certain (but have never read one way or the other) would consider this film her “why didn’t I just say no????” flop.

#4. As I presented yesterday, the combination of HG Wells and Ray Harryhausen can’t miss. The science fiction action film First Men in the Moon from 1964 is one of my favorite space flicks. Harryhausen’s effects put this one right through the goal post:

#3. No list of favorite Harryhausen films could be complete without the epic movie Clash of the Titans. (I DETEST the fact that Hollywood had to remake this film!) Can you tell I don’t hold with remakes? I completely prefer the originals. Always have, always will. Harry Hamlin as Perseus, This movie contained an all star cast list. The fact that ALL the effects were done LONG before CGI makes it even more of a treasure. No offense to CGI people (because admittedly there are some truly magnificent films that have been made possible thanks to CGI) but leave your stinking hands off classic films! From 1981 Clash of the Titans:

#2. Ray Harryhausen learned his technique from Willi O’Brien and helped with scenes in King Kong, (1933) In 1949 Harryhausen made his own Giant Monkey movie Mighty Joe Young. This movie will always hold a special place in my heart. For those of you who’ve never seen it, you don’t know what you’re missing. The remake wasn’t a total disaster but for the best telling, you should see the original, you won’t be disappointed. My favorite scene is the orphanage fire scene. THAT makes me cry every time.

#1. This movie is my all time favorite flick. The cast is made up of some pretty unfamiliar names. Even the first time I saw the movie there was only one actor I even remotely recognized. James Franciscus plays the hero. I personally LOVE the story but if someone were to pin me down on why I love it (as my mother has tried to do, LOL) I couldn’t give a definitive answer. Here is the Valley of Gwangi from 1969:

Tune in tomorrow for my favorite Giant Sized animals from Atomic disasters to exotic locales.

Thanks for popping in!