The Harryhausen Chronicles (1998)
Article 5573 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Richard Schickel
Featuring Ray Harryhausen, Leonard Nimoy, Ray Bradbury
What it is: Documentary
The life and career of special effects artist Ray Harryhausen are explored.
At the moment, I’m going through my DVDs and watching everything I can on them, and though I’ve seen quite a few documentary extras on them, I usually don’t review them; mostly, they’re interesting enough and tell me a few things I didn’t know, but most of them aren’t really special in any way. This one is an exception. It is both the story of and a tribute to Ray Harryhausen, and it features a lot of footage of Ray himself talking about some of his creations, as well as interviews with other special effects artists and lifelong friend Ray Bradbury. The movie clip footage is well-chosen and useful, and it features rare footage of special effects from projects that were never completed. I can honestly say my respect for the man and his work has gone up a few notches, especially when I gain an understanding of the difficulty of filming such sequences as skeleton battle from JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS or the animation of the seven-headed hydra. The fact that most of his work was a one-man operation only makes the accomplishment greater. I’m really glad to have caught this one, and highly recommend it.