Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Creatures of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

For The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Ray Harryhausen created his first stop-motion characters for a colour feature film.  They look fantastic and his animation work in this film is stunning.
The first creature to grace the screen in this film is the giant Cyclops.  This character, more than any other Harryhausen creation, has inspired movie-goers and filmmakers for generations.  He moves with life-like fluidity and his colouring is vibrant and memorable.
The magician Sokurah changes a lady in waiting into a dancing serpent woman.  Harryhausen did a great job of recreating the actress's facial features on his stop-motion puppet so the effect is seamless.
It must have been a great challenge to animate the giant mythological birds on the island of Colossa.  Harryhausen used real feathers on the Roc and its hatchling which would have been very difficult to control from frame to frame.
One of the most memorable sequences in the film involves Sinbad battling a living Skeleton Warrior.  Painstaking care had to be taken to memorize each move in the fight sequence so that the animation could be added later in the proper position.  This sequence would inspire the epic battle in Jason and the Argonauts a few years later.
Finally, for the epic finale of the film, a Cyclops battles a fire-breathing dragon to the death.  Harryhausen's skill in animating both of these creatures through their titanic struggle is incredible.  The fight terrified children and inspired a spirit of adventure that the film is remembered for.
Be sure to check out Ray Harryhausen's official website to discover more about the master and his work.

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