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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jason And The Argonauts (1963)

Starring Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond, Laurence Naismith, Niall MacGinnis
Directed by Don Chaffey
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A young hero recruits a mighty crew, and they set off on a bold quest to bring back the fabled Golden Fleece, but must face many dangers and fearsome creatures along their path.

Special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen uses this classic tale from Greek mythology to showcase more of his brilliantly animated creations, including a mighty stone giant, malevolent bat-winged harpies, the legendary Hydra with seven snapping snake heads, and an army of sword-wielding skeletons.  The skeleton sequence in particular stands out as one of Harryhausen's greatest achievements, but all of them are memorable, and Bernard Herrmann's majestic music score adds unsettling motifs for each animated monster.  Armstrong is suitably proud and determined as Jason, and Nigel Green, although perhaps atypically cast as the well-known hero Hercules, makes the character his own and an interesting participant in the action.  Chaffey keeps the story moving efficiently between the creature effects, and the film's bright color palette makes it a vivid rendition of this famous tale.

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