A Tribute To Harryhausen

As part of their focus on special effects artist in general and Ray Harryhausen in particular, the Cinémathèque Québécoise offers three events on Saturday, April 20, 2013.

The first event, at 5 p.m., is free. Phil Boot, who manages the Harryhausen Project Collections at the National Media Museum, in
Bradford, England will give a talk with the title From the Movie to the Museum: Ray Harryhausen as Artist and Collector.

At 7 p.m. there will be a screening of The Mysterious Island, directed by Cy Endfield, 1961, 101 min, 35 mm, English with French subtitles, starring Michael Craig, Michael Callan and Joan Greenwood.

From a review site called Antagony & Ecstasy: “. . . if you have any heart beating in your chest at all, you will respond on at least a “well, that was neat!” level to Harryhausen at his best. And Mysterious Island is undoubtedly Harryhausen at his best. It’s already there in the storm and balloon sequence that opens it; you can absolutely tell how it has been faked if you’re looking, but having seen the film on Blu-Ray and a fairly clean 35mm print in my life, I will positively state that you have to be looking, and what remains otherwise is just real enough to leave us in the film, while being sufficiently unreal to add atmosphere. . .

“But when we who love the man refer to Harryhausen visual effects, we don’t mean the mattes, or the general cinema trickery; we mean the stop-motion creatures, here the giant birds and the giant bees and the giant crabs and the giant nautiluses. They are perhaps the least fantastic creations in his bestiary. . “

At 9 p.m., it’s Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, directed by Fred F. Sears, 1956, 83 min, 35 mm, In English, with Donald Curtis, Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor.

Rob Humanick of Slant Magazine says: “Sputnik was only a year away when alien invaders descended on Washington D.C. with their terrifying death rays in Fred F. Sears’s Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, one of countless pieces of ’50s pulp to come out of a social fabric defined equally by interest in the unknown and mounting Cold War paranoia. Here, however, such social significance takes a backseat to pure B-movie matinee fun, albeit without losing any of its implicit self-examinations of moral questions in the process; the film lacks the weight of works like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Thing from Another World, but its thrills never want for intelligent examination of human behavior under duress. . . “

” . . .the titular flying saucers descend on the U.S. capital in Ray Harryhausen stop-motion glory, an incredible mixture of animation, miniature work, stock footage, and location shooting. . . .Infused with personality. . . they are a joyous creation to behold as they spin and pivot throughout the sky. I can only hope the human cast will forgive me for saying that the saucers are the most expressive characters in the entire film.”

Both films will be introduced by Phil Boot.

Cinémathèque Québécoise, 335 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E.