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Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection


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Product Details

  • Directors: Ray Harryhausen
  • Format: AC-3, Animated, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Digital Sound, Dolby, Full Screen, Restored, Subtitled, Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sparkhill
  • DVD Release Date: February 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 233 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00079RC00
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,395 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For over a half century, Ray Harryhausen has amazed and inspired countless filmmakers and fans around the world with his breathtaking motion picture effects and stop-motion animation. presented here for the first time ever is the authorized collection of his earliest work, along with hours of supplemental features.

Review

"... a treasure trove of very rare items". -- Harry Knowles, AIN'T IT COOL NEWS, January 5, 2005

"...The most amazing stopmotion animation...This DVD set is a portrait of the artist as a young man..." -- Chris Baker, WIRED MAGAZINE, January 2005 | Issue 13.01

"...one-of-a-kind compilation" -- Fred Hunter, Classics on DVD, 1/20/05

"A lavish DVD tribute to a legend of fantasy filmmaking." -- Leonard Maltin, February 2005

"An extraordinary treat! Fans of Ray Harryhausen have good reason to rejoice..." -- Fred Hunter, Classics on DVD, 1/20/05

"Ray Harryhausen's film work on DVD reaches its zenith with this handsome DVD set. 4 Stars." -- Cinefantastique, February/March 2005

"an eye-opening, affectionate tribute to a great filmmaker. " -- The Digital Bits, February 2, 2005

"the voluminous extras are what make this two-disc set indispensible for fans" -- Entertainment Weekly, February 18, 2005

Customer Reviews

The ones available after I bought my copy cost even more!
Jonhayashi1
These short films, based on well-known fairy tales like "Little Miss Muffet," were made simply with low budgets, using in-camera effects.
AnimatedAdventures.com
Extras include featurettes, tributes, and image galleries.
Zillamon51

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Fred on January 16, 2005
Format: DVD
Odds are that if you're reading this you already know who Ray Harryhausen is and you've heard about this DVD. If that's the case, then you may as well click on "Add to Shopping Cart" or "Pre-order this item" right now (depending on when you're reading this).

If you don't know who Ray Harryhausen is, he made (amongst other things) "Clash of the Titans" and the Sinbad films that you probably saw when you were a kid (that's Sinbad the sailor, not the comedian :-) ). He's also the main inspiration to virtually *everyone* who's currently in the Hollywood visual effects industry.

This 2-disc set has some items that have appeared elsewhere, but the versions here are more complete, visually better (most coming from the original negatives), and for those that didn't have a musical score (such as tests and experiments) one has been created (by noted film composers Bill Stromberg and John Morgan). It also contains the complete Mother Goose and Fairy Tales series, including the recently completed "Tortise and the Hare."

This is a unique and highly recommended set.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Zillamon51 on January 30, 2005
Format: DVD
This 2-disk set is a comprehensive collection of the early works of legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. It includes restored versions of his Mother Goose Stories and Fairy Tales, military training films, commercials, and tests and experiments for unproduced projects. These films are both important for their historical value, and entertaining in and of themselves. The development of Ray's artistry both as an animator and as a storyteller is displayed here. Extras include featurettes, tributes, and image galleries. [...]
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 3, 2005
Format: DVD
Remember the cartoon movie, Monsters, Inc.,where the coolest nightclub in town was called Harryhausen's? That choice of name was homage to this brilliant innovator in animation and movie-making, Ray Harryhausen. Maybe he didn't invent stop animation, but he pushed the technology to heights no one could have imagined.

These are samples of his early work, from the days before he was "discovered," while he was developing his techniques and building a portfolio. The first part of this collection includes eight of his realizations of fairy tales and Mother Goose stories. They are all very charming stories, even if the stories and visual style look naïve by today's standards. In part, that was deliberate - he cleaned up some of the more violent moments, like the woodsman's rescue of Red Riding Hood and Grandma, to suit the tastes of his audiences of the 1940s and 1950s. The ninth piece in this set is an interesting collaboration. Decades after Harryhausen set "The Tortoise and the Hare" aside, unfinished, some fans contacted him about it. He still had the original puppets, which he let them use in completing the work. I'm glad he consented, since the product came out seamlessly.

Harryhausen also prototyped some ads and WWII training films, trying to interest potential employers in his work. The commercial work didn't hold my interest but "How to Bridge a Gorge" and a tribute to the Guadalcanal victory certainly did. Those two employed similar style, with no human characters shown but with bridges and buildings mysteriously assembling themselves. The rest of the set includes very brief experimental segments and historical notes. They're a mixed bag, in terms of topic, style, and degree of interest.

This collection might not be for the mainstream movie fan. If you're a Harryhausen devotees or someone interested in the history of moviemaking, it's a valuable contribution.

//wiredweird
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Gentile on February 17, 2005
Format: DVD
This collection is a love letter to Ray Harryhausen from his fans. In the wonderful documentary "The Harryhausen Chronicles", we see snipets of the fairy tales, the lost projects, War of the Worlds animated Martian, Army films, etc. The first DVD has all the footage for all of these subjects. The second disc contains interviews, tributes, Harryhausen in Hollywood, a reunion with Rad Bradbury. The running time is almost 4 hours for both discs, and is well worth the price. I'm preaching to the choir here, because if you don't know Harryhausen, you should get to know him by watching his films. Start with Jason and the Argonauts and work your way through to Clash of the Titans. When you consider ALL OF THESE EFFECTS were done by hand by one man, Harryhausen puts today's computer programmers to shame. I enjoy computer animation in films as much as the next person, but it's not as impressive when you consider the human touch is all but lost.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tryavna on February 9, 2005
Format: DVD
If you're a big fan of Ray Harryhausen -- and what movie lover isn't? -- then you've probably already heard about and maybe even picked up this excellent 2-disc set dedicated to his early (pre-1953) work. If you haven't picked it up yet, then I urge you to do so immediately. As the other two reviewers have noted, this set's centerpieces are Ray's charming Mother Goose Stories and Fairy Tales, along with experimental training films for the army and some commercials. These shorts have been restored beautifully and are accompanied by brief but informative intros from the master himself.

Taken as a whole, however, the set is also a retrospective -- sort of a companion piece to Ray's own recent autobiography. There are plenty of extras (interviews and such) from the last five years, demonstrating just how fully Ray has been receiving his well-deserved kudos. If that isn't enough, then check out the brief snippets of projects that Ray left incomplete for various reasons, including test footage for an alien from War of the Worlds. (And how tantalizing and compelling are those sketches and test footage for The Elementals? What a shame it was never picked up! It looks like it might have been Ray's darkest and most stylized film.)

No real complaints. Just be aware that the 50-odd-year-old 16mm shorts show a little wear and tear, despite the restoration work. (A couple of credit sequences appear to be cropped, but it doesn't show in the films themselves.) There's also a little repetition in some of the extras, but the extras themselves focus pretty consistently on the material in the set. This was obviously a labor of love for everyone involved (especially Harryhausen himself), and it promises to be the best special interest DVD of the year! Very highly recommended!
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