JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) - Mania.com



Top 100 Films #31

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JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

By Craig Reid     June 08, 2001

When Tom Hanks announced to the world, during an Oscar ceremony honoring Ray Harryhausen, that he considers this film the best ever made, my heart rolled in glee because I completely agree. Apart from the fact that it's the first feature I ever saw in a movie theater, it's just plain ol' fun to watch. It's a jolly (and perhaps adolescent) adventure in which an assorted bunch of waggish Greek Gods on Mount Olympus help or hinder the fabled quest of Jason (Todd Armstrong) for the golden fleece. Although director Don Chaffey opted to cast a muscle-toneless Hercules (Nigel Green) and flabby looking guy in a mermaid outfit (as Neptune), it doesn't detract from the genius of what is arguably Harryhaussen's finest hour as a special effects artist. His mesmerizing creations run the gamut from the terrifying bronze titan Talos and harrying harpies to the fantastic color backgrounds and horrific hydra. But it's undoubtedly the swarming, scrappy army of sword-wielding skeletons that most memorably and imaginatively accents this sweeping adventure. Amidst the belligerent score of Bernard Herrmann, this grotesquely humorous and emotionally interactive fight between seven skeletons and Jason's argonauts is so electrically paced and unrivalled, that the word 'outrageous' is a gross understatement.

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