Monday, March 5, 2018

The FIFTIES SPECIAL EFFECTS WORK Of RAY HARRYHAUSEN

Today we take a look at the movies Ray Harryhausen worked his magic on in the fifties, and boy, what a great time it was!!.. So, sit back and enjoy the awesome monsters he helped create for us! Ray went on to make many more movies, but, I think the ones from the fifties had the most impact...

After working as an uncredited technician on MIGHTY JOE YOUNG in 1949, Ray assumes the role as lead effects technician on THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS in 1953, all about a dinosaur bought back to life by atomic bomb tests in the Arctic. Unbelievably, I saw this movie in 1953 at age five! What I remembered the most were the scenes with the roller coaster at the amusement park during the climax.

Up next is IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA from 1955, a tale about a giant pentapuss that appears in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Francisco. At the time, I had a huge crush on Faith Domergue, which made it all the more watchable for me!

In 1956, Ray brings us EARTH vs. THE FLYING SAUCERS and blows the competition out of the water!! This is what we were waiting for, an invasion by monsters from outer space!! You get classic flying saucers, awesome robots, death rays, spying orbs and a trip into space!

Then, we get a giant Ymir monster from Venus in 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH from 1957. I was lucky again to get to see this thrilling movie at the theater at the time, it definitely left a big impression on me! Ray had the best creatures around!

In 1958, Ray goes to England to work on special effects for THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X aka COSMIC MONSTERS starring Forrest Tucker! This flick is so damned whacked out that I love it to pieces!!.. The creepy giant insect scenes are something to behold!

Also in 1958, Ray kicks royal ass with THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD! Holy crap, this movie had it all, an evil sorcerer, a cyclops, a giant bird, a skeleton warrior and other great critters, making for a ton of fun for kids like me! Yeah, I got to see this great movie at the theater at the time too! In other words, I saw three of Ray's fifties movies, what a freakin' lucky kid I was!!

We're back on Wednesday with even more Wild 'n' Weird Dungeon Cargo, just for you!

7 comments:

KD said...

Even though it doesn't have a lot of fantastic monsters like the other films of his, my favorite of the listed films is without a doubt, EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS. That's one that I grew up with, was terrified by, and enjoy the hell out of any ol' time! The creepiest thing to me was the distorted alien voice (Paul Frees), followed by the horrible dumping of a man out of a saucer into a flaming (?) forest. Easily one of my top ten '50s sci-fi flicks! Thanks for the reminder, guys! :)

EEGAH!! said...

Pretty amazing KD since if I look up right now, the poster on the wall is "Earth Vs. Flying Saucers." It was barely holding together but I recently had it linen backed, so it will at least last for a while now.

KD said...

Hey, EEGAH! Wow, that's cool as can be! I have some old posters, but not many. I do have a linen-backed three-sheet of Mr. Pierce's THE COSMIC MAN...also an inset and a few lobby cards. Other than those, almost all of my posters are reproductions - nice repros, but repros.

I used to have a three-sheet of Ib Melchior's THE TIME TRAVELERS, a great poster, but it had a cigarette burn in the middle, and that became a growing rip that soon caused the poster falling apart. :{

I do have a nice half-sheet of Pierce's WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET, with the bogus flying saucer from THIS ISLAND EARTH instead of the chubby teardrop-shaped bronze ship in the actual film. Not Pierce's fault, of course. Most likely Jack Broder's publicity guy. But still an attractive and colorful poster.

Larry Scheflin said...

Nice retrospective and I didn't know about Strange World of Planet X. However, 7th Voyage of Sinbad only had one skeleton. Jason & the Argonauts had multiple skeleton warriors. Thanks for continuing to make this an interesting blog. Keep up the good work!

TABONGA! said...

Hi Larry, I will correct the skeleton count on the post, thanks for checking in and helping us keep things straight around here...

EEGAH!! said...

As a kid, Ray Harryhausen had a special affect on me!

KD said...

Ah, so EEGAH is a stop-motion creature then? LOL! ;)

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