Tim Burton Interviews Ray Harryhausen

22 Sep

First things first, I did not put these videos up on youtube.  I didn’t even find them.  I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.  I first saw these on the always amazing Cinematical.  If you’ve never been there, you should go.  They found them on another blog that I am just beginning to enjoy call Austin Translation.  It is the personal blog of amateur paleontologist and Pixar animator Austin Madison.  So, everyone should watch these videos and then go check out those other sites.

Ok, now we’ve got that out of the way.  Ray Harryhausen is a genius.  The special effects techniques that he developed were groundbreaking and are probably one of the biggest reasons special effects are where they are today.  Harryhausen’s first major film work was the original Mighty Joe Young.  He, along with Willis O’Brien, won an Oscar for their efforts.  This was followed by such films as The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and 20 Million Miles to Earth.  This was all before the 50’s had even come to a close.

In the 1960’s Harryhausen really perfected his signature work of claymation monsters.  This can especially be seen in such films as The Valley of Gwanji, Mysterious Island, One Million Years B.C., and, what is perhaps his most famous film, Jason and the ArgonautsJason and the Argonauts shocked audiences with a fight sequence between three actors and seven animated skeletons.  This was truly on a totally different level from anything else that was happening at the time.  Many years later, when Tom Hanks was presenting Harryhausen with an honorary Academy Award, Hanks said, “Lots of people say Casablanca or Citizan Kane is the greatest film of all time… no way, it’s Jason and the Argonauts!


The years after the 60’s saw fewer and fewer Harryhausen effects.  1974 and 1977 brought us The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.  But 1981 saw what was to be the last Ray Harryhausen effects to grace the screen in Clash of the TitansClash of the Titans is one of my favorite films.  I first saw it a time in my life when I was completely obsessed with Greek mythology.  And there is no better movie for a child obsessed with Greek mythology.  We get to see Pegasus, Medusa, the Kraken, all of the gods, everything you could wish for.  And almost every single one of them was thanks to Mr. Ray Harryhausen.


I will forever love Ray Harryhausen.  So, naturally, I’m thrilled that these interviews exist.  The fact that we can witness a conversation between two such legends is pretty great.  Watch them and enjoy them.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


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