One of the first things I had planned for my vacation was a trip to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wilshire. I've been there before for screenings and premieres, but I never realized they have a gallery in the building on the fourth floor. Some friends urged me to go, though, and thank god they did, because Toshi and Allen and I visited the Ray Harryhausen Exhibit, put together to celebrate his 90th birthday and his remarkable career.
God bless Sony for their Blu-ray releases of the Ray Harryhausen library, or at least as much as they own of it. We've already incorporated earlier titles like "20 Million Miles To Earth," "It Came From Beneath The Sea," and "Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers" into our regular rotation here in the house, and "The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad" caused a riot the first time we watched it. The last Harryhausen film we watched together was the 1981 version of "Clash Of The Titans," when Warner released it on Blu-ray, and again... instant love.
Through all of this, though, there's been one title I've been wanting to show them, and finally, SPHE has issued a gorgeous new high-definition transfer of "Jason and the Argonauts," one of the greatest works of film fantasy. As soon as it showed up and Toshi saw the skeletons on the back cover, it was just a matter of time until we were going to screen it.
The films that Ray Harryhausen contributed to rarely used movie stars, and dramatically they could sometimes be stilted, awkwardly structured, or filled with stiff performances. Unlike some films, those things never seem to derail his movies in the least. In many ways, I think of "Jason and the Argonauts" as the quintessential Harryhausen film, and revisiting it with my sons, I love it more than ever.