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Jason and the Argonauts (1963) - Illustrated Reference

jason-and-the-argonauts-1963-illustrated-reference
Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen

Poseidon - art by Ray Harryhausen

Poseidon - art by Ray Harryhausen

Jason and the Hydra - art by Ray Harryhausen

Jason and the Hydra - art by Ray Harryhausen

The Skeleton Fight - art by Ray Harryhausen

The Skeleton Fight - art by Ray Harryhausen

Jason and the Argonauts was directed by Don Chaffey and premiered on 19th June 1963. Starring Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond, Laurence Naismith, Niall MacGinnis, Honor Blackman, Michael Gwynn, Douglas Wilmer, Jack Gwillim, Patrick Troughton and Nigel Green. Screenplay by Jan Read & Beverly Cross. Music by Bernard Herrmann. 104mins.

Jason searches for the fabled Golden Fleece in the land of Colchis.

Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013) was 13 when he saw King Kong (1933) on the big screen, he was mesmerised by the magic of the special effects bringing Kong to life. He went back and saw Kong again and again, over 200 times according to various interviews.

Harryhausen read everything he could about the making of Kong and became very interested in the art of stop-motion animation. He got his first job at Paramount after presenting them with a demo reel of some stop motion dinosaurs he created. He started working at George Pal’s Puppetoon series of shorts.

Willis O’Brien, the special effects master on King Kong, hired Ray as his assistant on a film he was working on at RKO, Mighty Joe Young (1949). Ray ended up doing most of the stop motion animation on the film which won an Oscar for its visual effects, picked up by Willis O'Brien..

It was the appearance of King Kong again that would kick start Ray’s solo career in special effects. Kong was re-released successfully in 1952 and Warner Bros Studios wanted to make a monster movie, they hired Ray to animate The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). The film was a hit inspiring the Japanese to make their own giant sea monster, Godzilla (1954).

For his next film It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) Ray started a partnership with producer Charles H. Schneer (1920-2009) which would continue throughout his career. Two science fiction films followed – Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956) and 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), which featured the Ymir, a monster from Venus.

Ray’s first movie in colour was the Arabian Nights fantasy The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), the film featured two Cyclops, a snake woman, a fire-breathing dragon, two-headed Roc, a sword fighting skeleton, a genie and a wicked sorcerer, it was Ray’s biggest hit of the 50’s.

He followed Sinbad with The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960) and Mysterious Island (1961). But for his next film Ray looked at the myths of Ancient Greece for inspiration.

jason-and-the-argonauts-1963-illustrated-reference
jason-and-the-argonauts-1963-illustrated-reference
Todd Armstrong

Todd Armstrong

Nancy Kovack

Nancy Kovack

Todd Armstrong & Nancy Kovack

Todd Armstrong & Nancy Kovack