Friday, April 2, 2010

Original "Clash of the Titans" B-Movie Fun

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 98 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Clash of the Titans (1981)
Running time: 118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
DIRECTOR: Desmond Davis
WRITER: Beverley Cross
PRODUCERS: Ray Harryhausen and Charles H. Schneer
EDITOR: Timothy Gee


Starring: Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Laurence Olivier, Clair Bloom, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Sian Phillips and Neil McCarthy

Since the original, classic, black and white film, King Kong, special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen was known for his meticulous use of stop-motion photography. This was the method of photographing models one frame at a time, from 25 to 35 frames for every one second of film that gave the models the illusion of life. Before computer-generated imagery (CGI), this was how fantastic creatures were given life in films. The special effects crew of The Empire Strikes Back made extensive use of the method for several scenes on the ice planet of Hoth. Harryhausen’s most famous and best example of his use of the technique is the famous skeleton fighters from Jason and the Argonauts.

Clash of the Titans, a big-budget spectacular back from the early 80’s, was Harryhausen’s last film before his retirement from filmmaking. The tale borrowed liberally from Greek mythology, and the master Harryhausen brought many wonderful creations to life for the film, my favorite being the gorgon, Medusa.

Perseus (Harry Hamlin) must find a way to defeat the Kraken (another Harryhausen creation) before his betrothed Andromeda (Judi Bowker) is sacrificed to the creature for the appeasement of a jealous goddess. With his trusty winged steed, Pegasus (more Harryhausen), Perseus sets off to obtain the head of Medusa, whose face turns men who gaze upon it to stone. It is the only thing that will stop the Kraken from snacking on his virginal bride-to-be.

Though the effects look dated, Clash of the Titans is fun, family-oriented fantasy. It’s exciting and adventuresome in a quaint sort of way, and it has never lost its charm. The combination of Greek myth, a cast that includes revered British actors, fantasy and fantastic creatures, with a B-movie pace makes this a delightful film treat for the young at heart.

6 of 10

No comments:

Post a Comment