Jason and the Argonauts
  • Jason and the Argonauts
  • Jason and the Argonauts

Jason and the Argonauts

4.6 16
Director: Don Chaffey

Cast: Don Chaffey, Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond

     
 

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Greek mythology is done up brown by the special-effects expertise of Ray Harryhausen in Jason and the Argonauts. Jason (Todd Armstrong), rightful heir to the throne of Thessaly, is spared from death through the intervention of the goddess Hera (Honor Blackman). The other celestial inhabitants of Mount Olympus watch in amusement as Hera surreptitiously aidsSee more details below

Overview

Greek mythology is done up brown by the special-effects expertise of Ray Harryhausen in Jason and the Argonauts. Jason (Todd Armstrong), rightful heir to the throne of Thessaly, is spared from death through the intervention of the goddess Hera (Honor Blackman). The other celestial inhabitants of Mount Olympus watch in amusement as Hera surreptitiously aids Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece. Obstacles to this goal include a giant come-to-life statue named Talos, the screeching harpies plaguing blind prophet Phineas (Patrick Troughton), a set of huge clashing rocks, the seven-headed hydra, and an army of skeletons (this bravura climactic sequence assured Harryhausen's place in the hearts of 13-year-old boys of all ages). Supporting characters include Nancy Kovack as a pre-infanticide Medea and Nigel Green as a pacifistic Hercules. Bernard Herrmann's surging musical score was icing on the cake for this greatest of all Ray Harryhausen creations.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bruce Kluger
Greek mythology has been grist for the movie mill since the beginning -- from the 1918 Hungarian silent Aphrodite to Woody Allen's fractured fable Mighty Aphrodite in 1995. But what makes the 1963 screen adaptation of Jason and the Argonauts stand out from the pack is the special-effects mastery of Ray Harryhausen who, in a time before Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar, stood alone as the one-man-band of movie magic. Having already treated film fans to a smorgasbord of dazzling eye candy -- from the murky inhabitants of It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) to the soaring spaceships of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) -- Harryhausen pulled out all the stops for this popular Greek myth. Jason (Todd Armstrong), in an honorable quest for the Golden Fleece, receives aid from the goddess Hera -- portrayed by Honor Blackman, one year before her turn as Pussy Galore in the Bond thriller Goldfinger. Despite Jason's derring-do, it is Hera's divine intervention that spares him in a series of encounters with Harryhausen-inspired nemeses, including: a multi-noggined hydra, a statue-come-to-life and, in the film's most memorable segment, a septet of sword-fighting skeletons. Parents will admire the rich cinematic history of Jason and the Argonauts; kids will just find it a blast to watch.
Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
This entertaining screen version of the ancient Greek epic quickly became a staple for hordes of fantasy-minded moviegoers everywhere. Amid hordes of monsters and mythological evil, usurped heir apparent Jason (Todd Armstrong) battles his way to the ends of the earth to retrieve the infamous Golden Fleece and regain his father's throne. Like all entries in the fantasy genre of that period, Jason and the Argonauts offers plenty of campy pleasures, yet it is strong enough to stand on its own as a straight-up adventure tale -- the myth has stood the test of time, after all. The great Bernard Herrmann provides one of his typically evocative scores, and film buffs will enjoy hints of other Herrmann pieces that are weaved into it. The film's greatest claim to fame, however, is the special-effects wizardry of Ray Harryhausen, who also provided his fantastic stop-motion effects for the infamous Clash of the Titans and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. In Jason, watch for a splendid bit of swordplay between the heroes and a pack of fighting skeletons. Harryhausen's creations -- wonderfully detailed and very much alive -- are seamlessly integrated into the thrilling action sequences that have made Jason and the Argonauts a fantasy genre favorite.
All Movie Guide - Ryan Shriver
A quintessential Ray Harryhausen/Charles Schnerr fantasy adventure, Jason and the Argonauts also holds up relatively well as a representative genre film, considering the vast achievements in technological effects since the film's 1963 release. While the story and direction are ably accomplished, the real draw of this film -- as with any Harryhausen endeavor -- are the legendary stop-motion special effects that influenced scores of subsequent filmmakers and helped pave the way for the fantasy/science fiction blockbusters of the 1980s and beyond. On the other hand, the human cast of the film -- while delightful in their own little ways -- never comes close to matching the impressiveness of the effects, with acting that is more often than not overwrought and just plain silly. As an entertainment, however, Jason and the Argonauts remains a light and engaging diversion for the entire family, worthy of afternoon viewings even after all these years.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/06/2010
UPC:
0043396342323
Original Release:
1963
Rating:
G
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
ABC
Time:
1:44:00

Special Features

Director Peter Jackson and visual effects artist Randall William Cook ; Ray Harryhausen with film historian Tony Dalton; Original skeleton fight storyboards; Interviews with Ray Harryhausen by John Landis; Ray Harryhausen chronicles; The harryhausen legacy

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Todd Armstrong Jason
Nancy Kovack Medea
Gary Raymond Acoustus
Laurence Naismith Argus
Michael Gwynn Hermes
Niall MacGinnis Zeus
Honor Blackman Hera
Douglas Wilmer Pelias
John Cairney Hylas
Patrick Troughton Phineas
Andrew Faulds Phalerus
Nigel Green Hercules
John Crawford Polydeuces
Douglas Robinson Euphemus
Nando Poggi Castor
Jack Gwyllim King Aeetes

Technical Credits
Don Chaffey Director
Wilkie Cooper Cinematographer
Beverley Cross Screenwriter
John Dark Production Manager
Geoffrey Drake Production Designer
Ray Harryhausen Associate Producer,Special Effects
Herbert Smith Art Director
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Red Law Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Maxsted Art Director
Mario Nascimbene Musical Direction/Supervision
Syd Pearson Special Effects
Jan Read Screenwriter
Maurice Rootes Editor
Toni Sarzi-Braga Art Director
Charles H. Schneer Producer

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