Special effects legend Ray Harryhausen passed away yesterday, May 7, at the age of 92. Famed for a brand of stop-motion model animation known as “Dynamation,” Harryhausen brought to life cinematic creatures of all sorts, from monsters of Greek mythology in films like Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981), to prehistoric beasts in movies such as The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and The Valley of Gwangi (1969), to everything in between. Along with innovating new filming practices, Ray Harryhausen is credited with creating the physical looks and movements of dinosaurs, aliens and other creatures in movies. Many producers and directors remain inspired by Ray Harryhausen’s characters, models and drawings.
To remember the man and his magical movie legacy, Sony Movie Channel will be airing a tribute marathon this Saturday, May 11. The marathon begins with a documentary about Ray Harryhausen (which first premiered last month) called Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan, as well as several films containing some of his notable work. It is a tribute to his imagination and dedication that even in some of the films that overall are not particularly good in terms of plot or acting, every time one of Ray Harryhausen’s effects comes onscreen, you are mesmerized, and transported.
Sony Movie Channel’s May 11 Ray Harryhausen Tribute Marathon includes the following (all times ET):
Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan — 12:45pm. This documentary marks the first time that the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation has provided unprecedented access to all aspects of Ray Harryhausen’s career, spanning his early days in Hollywood to his 90th birthday celebration. It was filmed over several years and features interviews and tributes from acclaimed filmmakers who were inspired by his work. The documentary is also available on Sony Movie Channel’s VOD platform throughout May (for subscribers).
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) — 2:30pm. Sinbad (Kerwin Matthews) sails for the island of Colossa, where he hopes to obtain a piece of a roc’s eggshell, which will help restore to normal size the Princess Parise (Kathryn Grant), who has been shrunken by the magician Sokurah (Tarin Thatcher). The creatures on the island are Ray Harryhausen masterpieces: a cyclops, a two-headed roc, a skeleton brought to life by Sokurah, and a fire-breathing dragon, which gets into a battle with the cyclops near the end (a battle that thrilled and scared me watching it for the first time as a kid at a drive-in theater with my parents, and still resonates somewhere in the back of my imagination).
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) — 4:10pm. Sinbad is in search of a gold tablet that will restore a deposed ruler to his throne. Along the way, he encounters Ray Harryhausen creations such as a one-eyed centaur, a winged griffin, a six-armed statue come to life and more.
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) — 6:10pm. Another film that I saw at the drive-in as a young kid (possibly a double-bill with 7th Voyage). Patrick Wayne plays Sinbad, co-starring with Jane Seymour, and Sinbad’s voyage this time puts him in the path of Ray Harryhausen’s Minoton — a bronze colossus; a giant troglodyte; a massive walrus; a sabre-toothed tiger; and an “almost human” baboon.
Sony Movie Channel’s Ray Harryhausen Tribute Marathon airs May 11 starting at 12:45pm ET.