Stop-motion: Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

  1. Overview
  2. Description
  3. Fact Sheet

An exceptional documentary for an exceptional creator.

Ray Harryhausen passed away in London, a little over a year ago on 7th May 2013. The closeness of his death to the dates of the Festival made it impossible for us to pay him a tribute last year. So we are using this stop-motion programme to take a look back over the career of this remarkable giant.

Born in Los Angeles on 29th June 1920, he started out with George Pal, who hired him for the Puppetoons in 1941 (particularly as animator on Tulips Shall Grow), then followed on with special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien, joining him on the set of Mighty Joe Young (1949). During the 1950s, he concentrated on developing his Dynamation process, enabling special effects to be inserted into a live action scene. The method reached its peak in Harryhausen's effects for Nathan Juran's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958). Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963), One Million Years BC (Don Chaffey, 1966) and The Clash of the Titans (Desmond Davis, 1981) were to follow, making him the undisputed master of special effects.

To celebrate Ray Harryhausen's contribution to the history of cinema, we wanted to screen the documentary by Gilles Penso, Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan, in which filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Tim Burton, Nick Park, Terry Gilliam and Guillermo del Toro talk about their admiration for the artist.

The film

  • Film identity

    Original title: Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

    Directed by: Gilles PENSO

    Country: France, United Kingdom

    Year of production: 2011

    Running time: 01 h 35 min

  • Technique

    Category: Feature film

    Techniques used: live action

    Process: Colour

  • Credits

    Directed by: Gilles PENSO

    Production: FRENETIC ARTS, Alexandre PONCET