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The Art of Ray Harryhausen Hardcover – April 1, 2006
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Fantasy-film geeks revere Harryhausen's technically dazzling, meticulously crafted movies employing the painstaking technique of stop-motion animation. This coffee-table volume showcases the material Harryhausen discovered in his archives while researching Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life (2004). Harryhausen stresses that this book isn't as much about animation as about the previsualization that precedes making the models that will be filmed; accordingly, it focuses on sketches, key drawings, storyboards, and preliminary clay models rather than film stills. Thematic chapters cover Harryhausen's early work, including his stint with animation legend Willis O'Brien on the King Kong quasi sequel, Mighty Joe Young; dinosaur movies, such as One Million Years B.C.; sci-fi flicks such as the 1953 War of the Worlds; and the series of films portraying the adventures of Sinbad of, more or less, the Arabian Nights. Like O'Brien before him, Harryhausen hugely influenced younger filmmakers. In the introduction, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson says he grew up wanting to become Harryhausen's apprentice and notes that the animator's films "have lost none of their ability to provoke wonder." Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"Ray has been a great inspiration to us in the special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much."
—GEORGE LUCAS PRODUCER/DIRECTOR
"The Lord of the Rings is my ‘Ray Harryhausen movie.’ Without that lifelong love of his wondrous images and storytelling, it would never have been made–not by me at least."
—FROM THE FOREWORD BY PETER JACKSON
"One of the world’s greatest manipulators"
—KERMIT FROG --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Chapter 3 Masks, mayhem and Monsters shows his experimenting with puppets and his mask making which he made with latex rubber and molds Chapter4 The Formative Years shows Ray experimenting with commercials like Kenny Key( his early work can be seen in RAY HARRYHAUSEN THE EARLY YEARS DVD VIDEO )Then he worked with Willis O Brian on MIGHTY JOE YOUNG. The full colour illustrations of Joe Young the gorilla show how expressive Ray was with his drawings!
In Chapter 5 Fairy Tales my Teething Rings Ray talks about his charming Fairy Tale shorts that are featured in RAY HARRYHAUSEN THE EARLY YEARS dvd video! Model sheets by Ray show Red Riding Hood and other characters before they are visuallised in 3 dimentions as stop motion puppets. As an animater myself I can only look at his work and realise the patience and persistance in animating these models one frame at a time! I find it enough work to animate hand drawn animation instead of models! The beautiful kodachome forest for Red Riding Hood to walk through is breathtaking to see! And the glistening gold in KING MIDAS is spectakular!
Chapter 7 ZEUS COMPLEX shows his visualisations of JASON AND THE ARGAUNAUTS and CLASH OF THE TITANS! I just watched JASON AND THE ARGAUNAUTS, THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD and GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD on DVD! The drawings of Medusa the Gorgan show how expressive Ray made her and also reveal a weakness in some of his work in that the monsters are much more alive and expresssive then the hero such as Perseus, acted stiffly by Harry Hamlin! Jason fares better with an army of skeletons and the Hydra both animated by Ray! Storyboards of Talos the giant statue towering over the ship, the Argo are powerful and intriguing! There are also storyboard drawings for sequences not used like Hermes taking Jason up to mount Olympus by a horse drawn Chariot and creature sketches for the unrealised FORCE OF THE TROJANS!
Chapters 8 and 9 depict THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD and THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD with the dragon from 7th VOYAGE with Ray holding it and full size drawing of one eyed cyclops centaur in GOLDEN VOYAGE menacing some men with a boulder!
The last chapter, chapter 11 Its fine stuff but it will rot in time" shows Ray preserving his models in bronse since his models were not made to resist the rigors of time! This book is beautifully illustrated , highly recommended!! R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen!
And though retired, we have Harryhausen now, still working away with his drawings ans sculptures into his 80's. A man who loves what he does.I can't recommend this book enough, save to say that the reproduction is excellent on all the art shown-pencil sketches, storyboards, charcoal drawings. It's so nice to see drawings as opposed to overrendered computer artwork of nowadays.
Of note is the "Inspirations" part of the book where we see some of the artwork by others that inspired Ray to follow his muse. It says much about the man.
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