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Death of a fantasy icon

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They were incredibly awful films in many ways, but who can forget them? How sad that the genius behind the early films that featured awesome creatures in battle has died.


Ray Harryhausen and his early stop action animation of tiny clay figures inspired many of today's greats like George Lucas. All good and creative things have to begin somewhere and Harryhausen took great risks on small budget films which soon won him the accolades in his industry.

Yes, the plots were corny, the beasts less than terrifying by today's standards, but in his time audiences screamed and were fascinated by this new form of entertainment. Genius is timeless, and he will be remembered for those he thrilled and those he inspired. And for those of you who don't know his work I give you this example:

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Such a great filmmaker, responsible for some of the greatest fantasy and sci-fi films of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. A giant. And some of his films, like Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, are known for their incredible music (done in this case by Bernard Herrmann):

Ray's autobiography, An Animated Life, tells some heartbreaking stories about some of the movies he didn't get to make, including some very sobering tales about getting short-changed by some fairly big Hollywood execs and directors. But he has a very positive attitude throughout, and was known to his fans for being very kind, receptive, and engaging. I got to meet him a couple of times, and he was really delightful and charming (though I got the impression he gets tired of being reminded he only used 5 tentacles on the octopus in It Came from Beneath the Sea).

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I met Ray when he gave a lecture here in Adelaide a few years ago. I was the technician on duty at the theatre and we all sat spellbound as he showed us some of the miniature beasts he used from his films and told us how he thought digital animation lacked a certain human quality of performance.

Pec is right, we found him charming, generous and passionate about his craft. He handed out signed photographs ( I got one) but he warned us they weren't worth much because he had been giving them away for years. :icon6:

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