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Jason and the Argonauts

Harryhausen’s effects look as good now as they ever did…

Distributor UCA Catalogue | Certificate U | Price £9.99

Nostalgia junkies of a certain age might remember Jason and the Argonauts from Saturday morning matinees in those far-off days when smoking was still encouraged in cinemas. Of course, the original classic film dates back to 1963, and it’s required viewing for any serious fantasy buff.

The reason? Ray Harryhausen and his special effects. The stop-motion maestro created some of the most memorable animation in pre-CGI days, and he regards Argonauts as his finest film.

Rightly so, because without him this would be little more than a confused romp through various Greek myths, featuring a largely British cast (with a token American or two for box-office draw). It’s an old-fashioned adventure tale, as Jason and his crew battle all manner of famous monsters in the search for the golden fleece. Most notable of these is Talos, the enormous, blind bronze warrior, which scared the bejesus out of kids at the time. And the coup de grace, is a climactic skeleton battle which took Harryhausen and his crew three months to complete.

Anyone used to seeing Argonauts on telly at Christmas will be pleasantly surprised by the picture quality of this transfer: it looks superb, even though the enhanced resolution makes some of the matte and composition effects all too obvious. Indeed, production values throughout the film are high, with an excellent score by Bernard Herrmann (of Psycho fame) and some lavish scenery. Throw in a documentary and interview with Harryhausen and this disc is a bargain.