Interview: Ray Harryhausen

Stop-motion animation has been around since the silent-movie days, but no one has put a personal stamp on the technique like Ray Harryhausen. In 16 movies from 1949’s Mighty Joe Young to 1981’s Clash Of The Titans, Harryhausen gave life to an entire zoo’s worth of fearsome monsters, including the giant octopus which destroys the Golden Gate Bridge in It Came From Beneath The Sea, the carnivorous dinosaurs of One Million Years B.C. and The Valley Of Gwangi, and, from his most memorable film, Jason And The Argonauts, the colossal guardian Talos and the homicidal, sword-wielding skeletons. It’s rare for a special-effects artist to be the real driving force behind a movie, but Harryhausen’s contributions often dominated the shaping of his films. He achieved this while working mostly alone and under the pressures of low-budget filmmaking—Titans’ $16 million budget was more than the total cost of his previous collaborations with producer Charles Schneer, his partner for the bulk of his career. Just before embarking for America, where he’ll be touring through early May, Harryhausen talked with The A.V. Club about his life and his new book The Art Of Ray Harryhausen, which looks back at his career from his high-school days building mammoths out of his mother’s discarded fur coat to his latest work as a bronze sculptor.

Published in The A.V. Club, March 21, 2006. Read the rest of the article on the original website.


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