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Jason and the Argonauts is a 1963 fantasy adventure film based upon the characters Jason and the Argonauts of Greek mythology. The film has impressive special effects created with stop motion animation.
Directed by Don Chaffey, in collaboration with animation legend Ray Harryhausen, this film is famous for its fantastic stop-motion animated monsters including harpies, the bronze giant Talos, the crashing rocks, and the many-headed Hydra that guards the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece was given from Hecate who was the guardian goddess of Colchis. The thrilling final sequence wherein an army of seven skeletons, created by sowing the Hydra's teeth, rise from the Earth to attack the heroes is still widely considered to be among the greatest achievements of 20th century motion picture special effects.
For lovers of film music, this movie features a score composed by film composer Bernard Herrmann, who is also notable for other of Harryhausen's fantasy films including Mysterious Island and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and his famous collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock.
The cast included Todd Armstrong as Jason, Nancy Kovack as Medea (high priestess of Hecate), Gary Raymond as Acastus, Laurence Naismith as Argos, Niall MacGinnis as Zeus, Honor Blackman as Hera, Michael Gwynn as Hermes, Nigel Green as Hercules, John Cairney as Hylas, Douglas Wilmer as Pelias, Jack Gwillim as King Aeëtes, Patrick Troughton as Phineas, and Andrew Faulds as Phalerus.
 Mythological Elements
- It took Ray Harryhausen 4 months to produce the skeleton scene, a massive amount of time for a scene which lasts at the most 3 minutes.
- After the success of Sergio Leone's Il Colosso di Rodi (1961) (U.S. title: "Colossus of Rhodes"), it was decided to change the character of Talos into a living bronze giant. It would become one of Ray Harryhausen's most famous creations.
- Ray Harryhausen regards this as his best film.
- Presumably in order to capitalize on the success of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) Ray Harryhausen originally conceived of the film as "Sinbad in the Age of Muses". The story would still have been set in Ancient Greece, and would have involved Sinbad himself joining Jason in the search for the Golden Fleece.
- The previous Ray Harryhausen films were generally shown as part of a double feature in "B" theatres. Columbia was able to book this film as a single feature in many "A" theatres in the United States.
- The character of Jason, as played by Todd Armstrong, was re-voiced by British actor Tim Turner. Turner's voice was well-known as the narrator of the '60s Rank series Look At Life. He was also the narrator of trailers in many British films in the '50s, '60s and '70s, including the one for this movie, and provided the voice of Dr. Peter Brady, the titular hero of the popular late '50s British TV series, The Invisible Man (1958).
- A brief scene was cut from the skeleton fight where the decapitated skeleton is seen feeling around for its head.
- While filming footage of the Argo off the coast of Italy, shooting was interrupted when a replica of the Golden Hind sailed into view. The British television series Sir Francis Drake (1961) happened to be filming in the same location. Producer Charles H. Schneer shouted, "Get that ship out of here. You're in the wrong century!" at the British crew, dispelling any tensions that arose from both shots being lost.
- In the early stages of story development the twin monsters Scylla and Charybdis, a centaur, and the three-headed dog Cerebrus were intended to appear.
- Although this is a story from Greek mythology, there is an error. The character Hercules is true to the Greek mythology except the film uses the wrong name. The film uses the Roman version which is Hercules rather than the actual Greek version, Heracles.
- The skeleton-men sequence was reused in the music video for "Bones", the second single from The Killers' second album Sam's Town. The video, directed by Tim Burton, is skeleton-themed.
 See also
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