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Starlog #10 — Ray Harryhausen interview

 
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Bud Brewster
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Joined: 14 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 11:47 pm    Post subject: Starlog #10 — Ray Harryhausen interview Reply with quote



Enjoy this fine Starlog interview with the great Ray Harryhausen.

Click on each page here to see a large, easy-to-read version you can zoom in on. Click on the large version again for the maximum size!










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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15383
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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If you haven't had a chance to read this article yet, I'm glad you waited, because this was one of the first articles I posted and I hadn't yet learned just how much I could improve the look of the pages.

I redid it today and enhanced the jpegs considerably. Very Happy

The article includes some very interesting facts. Ray talked about how supportive his parents were of his desire to explore stop motion and develop his skills. I’ve always felt a personal debt of gratitude towards Ray’s parents for the help they gave him. His father, for example, actually machined the parts of the metal armatures Ray used for his early animation models, and he continued doing this for decades, well into Ray’s professional career.

And in those early days, Ray’s father helped him build sets, while his mother sewed costumes and paint the models.

In other words, Harryhausen’s work is sort of “family business”! Very Happy

How often have we read about successful people who had to defy their parents’ wishes when they went into some career the parents disapproved of?

The description of Ray’s struggle to find studios in the early 50s who were interested in backing his projects is well told in this article. But he was always having to deal with producers who wanted to make low budget films — and do them quickly. Stop motion can NOT be done quickly! Shocked

I was surprised by Ray’s statement that The Golden Voyage of Sinbad was “enormously more costly” than 7th Voyage of Sinbad, just because of the passage of time and the changing film industry. To me, Golden Voyage looks cheaply made, even though the production was done in Spain to save money!

On the positive side, Ray talks about how film stock improved over the years, so that the blizzard of grain that mars some composite shots with the Cyclops in 7th Voyage weren’t as much of a problem in later productions. I actually replaced my 7th Voyage of Sinbad Blu-ray with the standard DVD because the increased sharpness of the Blu-ray made the grainy scenes much worse! And since the movie’s overall sharpness is less than today’s films anyway, the Blu-ray advantage was not that apparent.

The article covers some interesting subjects about Harryhausen, but I wish the author had encouraged Ray to explain how he manages to visualize specific movements of his creations in real time and then convert them to the tiny movements he has to make the animation models.

Having done some 8mm claymation of my own in 1960s (click here), I know that a simple “swing of an arm” has to start with small movements of the model (to make slow movements on screen), then increase to larger movements (speeding up the swing), and finally reverting the small movements as the swing slows at the end.

But how the hell does ray keep all the motions of the various body parts straight in his head . . . for hours and hours . . . and even for days at a time?

I mean, damn! Shocked

In addition to reading the article, you'll enjoy this eleven minute interview with Ray. Youtube has eight videos of interviews with Ray Harryhausen, and I intend to watch them all! Very Happy
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_________________ Ray Harryhausen Interview


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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2022 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) had a reported budget of $650,000 according to Wikipedia.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) had $2,000,000.

I never felt that Golden Voyage appeared to look "cheaply made."

Ray had wanted to shoot at the Alhambra Palace in Spain for Golden as he had done for 7th Voyage. The Granada authorities threatened to charge a very high rental fee for shooting.

The production ended up filming at the Palace Generalife Palma, Majorca instead. Ray felt that after some modifications this locale was superior to Alhambra.

Plus, it was a brand new fresh location instead of one we had seen in the earlier Sinbad movie.

The Caves of Arta that stood in for the interior Temple of the Oracle, also on Majorca, were used as Sokurah's cave in 7th Voyage. However, I never picked up on that.

The caves where the Griffin and the Centaur battle were eerie and impressively huge.

If I recall, the Temple of the Oracle exterior model when it crumbled did have an artificiality to it.

But overall, I think it was fine looking production for that limited budget and era.
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