Art of Ray Harryhausen

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Overview

Filled with incredible reproductions of drawings and models relating to a long and frenetic life in filmmaking and stop-motion animation, this beautifully presented pictorial history documents the influential director and artist's creative process?from sketch to motion picture realization. Illustrating how Harryhausen was inspired in his youth from seeing the groundbreaking animation in the 1933 version of King Kong, this remarkable collection showcases Harryhausen's immense talent?and ...

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New York, NY 2006 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. (35-13) Oversized Hardback art book is brand new in Near Mint condition with dj in Near Mint condition. Sewn binding. Paper ... over boards. 230 p. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Filled with incredible reproductions of drawings and models relating to a long and frenetic life in filmmaking and stop-motion animation, this beautifully presented pictorial history documents the influential director and artist's creative process—from sketch to motion picture realization. Illustrating how Harryhausen was inspired in his youth from seeing the groundbreaking animation in the 1933 version of King Kong, this remarkable collection showcases Harryhausen's immense talent—and the processes undertaken to produce revolutionary milestones in filmmaking, such as Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts—and is an essential resource for cinephiles and collectors of classic film memorabilia.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Harryhausen arguably is film's most important animator, edging out even his mentor, Kong pioneer Willis O'Brien, on the sheer weight of his work. This companion volume to his 2004 bio, An Animated Life (LJ 4/1/04), focuses on Harryhausen's career as an artist, and the book sports almost 300 images of his illustrations, clay sculptures, and wax models for the beasties that fueled the daydreams and nightmares of countless moviegoers, including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson (who provides a foreword), and many nameless FX artists, all of whom are Harry-hausen's creative stepchildren. So much of what viewers still see, from The Terminator's murderous robotic skeleton to the prehistoric terrors of Jurassic Park to Hellboy's demonic nasties, was spawned from childhood fantasies inspired by Harryhausen's work on Mighty Joe Young, Jason and the Argonauts, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Mysterious Island, etc., etc., etc. Harryhausen discusses each of his projects, detailing his creations from initial conceptual art through the construction of the underlying armature to the completed model ready for animation. The text is fun and informative, but the main feast here is the art, and the reproductions of the concept drawings and photos of the models are superb. Harryhausen is a living legend with a dedicated following ranging from Hollywood heavyweights to fawning fanboys, all of whom will love this book and want it on their shelves. Make sure it's on yours. Highly recommended.-Michael Rogers, Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of drawings, storyboards and photographs of models crafted by the stop-motion animation expert. Billed as "cinema's greatest master of fantasy" in an appreciative preface by Lord of the Rings director/King Kong remaker Peter Jackson, Harryhausen was already making puppets in junior high, shooting short animated films in his late teens. (Mom made the costumes and Dad built the sets for his early efforts.) He apprenticed with Willis O'Brien, legendary animator of the original King Kong, but after WWII found ways to adapt Obie's expensive techniques to the lower-budget films that were becoming the fantasy norm. His brief but informative text frequently notes compromises made to reduce costs: Cerberus having two heads instead of three, photos used instead of hand-painted backdrops for Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and One Million Years B.C. Wistful references to never-made projects, including War of the Worlds and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, remind readers how often a movie artist's dreams go unrealized. Harryhausen had a better track record than most, partly because he knew how to sell an idea; many of the dramatic charcoal and pencil drawings handsomely reproduced here were created for pitch sessions with the money men. Though drawings predominate, fans will particularly relish the less frequent color photos of the intricate models-usually latex rubber covering a metal armature, supplemented by a few bronze casts-of Harryhausen's most famous monsters: the snaky Medusa in Clash of the Titans, the many-armed Kali and the giant Cyclops from two of the Sinbad movies, the hydra and the amazing skeleton warriors in Jason and the Argonauts. The organization is thematic ratherthan chronological, putting all the aliens in one chapter, dinosaurs in another; a marvelous section entitled "Masks, Mayhem & Monsters" features a hilariously creepy photo of 21-year-old Harryhausen, wearing a Mr. Hyde mask he designed himself, flanked by a heavily made-up girlfriend with a rope around her neck. A nice companion piece to Harryhausen's autobiography, An Animated Life (2004).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823084005
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Harryhausen is universally revered as the grandmaster of special effects in the pre-computer age. He received an honorary Oscar in 1992 and a star on the Hollywood walk of fame in 2003. Tony Dalton has known Ray for more than 30 years, having met him when he was first working at the British Film Institute. He was involved in the publicity for Star Wars, Towering Inferno, and The Omen, and now runs his own archive research company. Together they wrote Ray's autobiography, An Animated Life, and A Century of Model Animation.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2006

    A True Legend and Genius

    The word genius has become one of the most overused and improperly used words in our society, easily passed out to those who are often undeserving. But in the case of Ray Harryhausen it is the only word that fits. It's not just his body of work over the past sixty plus years that earns him this title, but also his many pioneering achievements in filmmaking. In 'The Art of Ray Harryhausen' the old master takes readers on a journey that begins with his earliest influences in film, art, and storytelling. Throughout the fascinating journey he explains many of the techniques that he either devised himself, or improved upon. Ray's first great influence on film was the stop-motion work of his friend and eventual mentor Willis O'Brien. Ray discusses how he first contacted O'Brien at the film studio and arranged to meet him at O'Brien's home where the friendship blossomed and Obie...as Ray calls him...took him under his wing. Harryhausen also talks about some of his formal art training in the 40's at schools in L.A. and New York. Aspiring filmmakers or special effects fans are going to love this book. Ray devotes an early chapter to how his famous models were made including the building of the metal armatures, to the coverings made with cotton and latex, to the final painting of the models, many of which are still intact today including a wooly mammoth made in 1938, his oldest surviving (and working) model. This chapter provides up close and detailed photos of some of Ray's most famous creations including the Skeleton warriors from 'Jason and the Argonauts' and Ymir from '20 Million Miles to Earth'. The entire creative process is demonstrated in photographs beginning with concept sketches and storyboards, to the building of the models and the actual animation. While Harryhausen is best known for his stop motion animation and wonderfully detailed models, these were not his only talents. Ray is a fantastic, natural artist and the book features literally hundreds of Ray's rough sketches, storyboards, pencil and charcoal illustrations, and color paintings. His remarkable illustrations conjure up those bold, adventurous scenes involving his animated creations and it all started with a simple drawing. Ray also made his own masks and puppets. In the early 50's he made a series of short films based on fairy tales for which he made the models and animated them as well. The book includes rare photos of these creations which most of us have never seen before. Other chapters are segmented by film genre type such as his Sci-Fi films that covers works like 'First Men in the Moon' and 'Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers' and his Greek films 'Jason and the Argonauts' and 'Clash of the Titans'. Again readers are treated to numerous works of Harryhausen art for these films as well as photos of the models. Ray admits that 'Jason' remains his favorite film and how he was inspired by Greek mythology. Talos, the iron golem, was inspired by the legendary Colossus of Rhodes, a giant bronze statue of the Sun God Helios that was erected around 282 BCE and stood for decades until an earthquake toppled it. The legendary statue was supposed to have straddled the harbor to Argos as a guardian and Ray pays tribute to this by having Talos block the harbor as Jason's ship tries to flee. Of course, we cannot forget one of Ray's very first jobs, working on 'Mighty Joe Young', which gave him not only the chance to work with his mentor Willis O'Brien, but also the chance to work with Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack the Directors/Producers of King Kong. One can only imagine the thrill it was to work with the men who inspired his own career in film. Peter Jackson provides a foreward to the book and offers his own tribute to Harryhausen and the inspiration that he provided to the 'King Kong' remake director. At 230 pages and in a coffee table sized, hard cover format, this is no fluff piece. It is a fantastic companion to 2004's Ray Harryhausen: An Anima

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    lavish visual appreciation of this influential movie animator/illustrator

    In his 'Foreword,' the famed director Peter Jackson remarks, '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.' For decades this master of special effects has been bringing to life movies such as Jason and the Argonauts, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, One Million Years B.C., and Mysterious Island. Whether dinosaurs, mythological beasts, or macabre skeletons, Harryhausen's figures have a vividness of detail and imaginative edge that is unmistakable after one is exposed to them. It is his figures and related special effects which have played a large part in making fantasy movies into the major genre of popular movies they are today. Though Harryhausen worked in the years before digital animation, his artistry has influenced this newer movie art. It is not an overstatement to say that his work with earlier tools with less potential than digital animation continues to rival and usually surpass what is found in most of today's movies in the genre he had such a large role in bringing to maturity and prominence. The full range of the illustrator-animator's finished creations as well as the many different details and skills necessary for such incomparable art is evidenced in sketches, storyboards, scenes from movies, highlighted individual figures, and bronze and other statues of certain Harryhausen figures now in parks or homes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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