HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
   
 
Newest Articles
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
   
 
  Jason and the Argonauts Hydra-phobiaBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Don Chaffey
Stars: Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond, Laurence Naismith, Niall MacGinnis, Douglas Wilmer, Jack Gwillim, Honor Blackman, Nigel Green, John Cairney, Patrick Troughton, Andrew Faulds
Genre: Historical, Fantasy
Rating:  8 (from 6 votes)
Review: Pelias (Douglas Wilmer) has been told by his soothsayer that he will inherit the kingdom of Thessaly, and it is Zeus's will, or so he believes. But he takes it by violent means, and ensures that the second half of the prophecy, that he will lose the kingdom to the son of the ruler he has deposed, will not come to pass by killing his offspring. However, in the temple where baby Jason, the son, is being kept safe from him, Pelias is visited by a mysterious woman he does not recognise to be the goddess Hera (Honor Blackman), and she informs him he will lose out when he is killed by a stranger wearing one sandal...

Arguably the best of the Ray Harryhausen special effects spectaculars, this fantasy depicted a world where men have only their wits and ingenuity to use against the Gods who see them as pawns in their game of life which are there to worship them above all else, and the supernatural creatures who represent almost insurmountable dangers. Despite the lavish look of the film worked up on a medium-sized budget, it's a harsh place to survive in and it's interesting that the gods are not depicted as particularly laudable or even worth the praise and dedication they expect - even Hera is looking out for Jason (Todd Armstrong) so she may win her game of strategy with Zeus (Niall McGinnis).

It is the special effects that are the true joy to watch, among the finest of the 1960s. Ray Harryhausen was the man toiling for months over his tiny models, and his monsters really put the "Aargh!" into the Argonauts with Jason and his shipmates battling against the giant bronze statue of the Titan Talos (my favourite), a couple of harpies, the many-headed Hydra and, in one of the most famous sequences in cinema, the skeleton warriors grown from the Hydra's scattered teeth. Even in these days of superadvanced computer graphics, the work here is still impressive for having the kind of personality and touch of particular skill that they lack, and the novelty value alone is enough to engage mightily.

As for the loyal Argonauts themselves, they are all manly men who shake hands in that gripping-each-other's-forearm way, laugh heartily when impressed and fall in the water a lot. There's not much of a sense of humour on display, but when you consider the comic relief in Clash of the Titans, that's probably all to the good. Pelias sends them on their way to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece, which is rumoured by legend to contain magical healing properties, without Jason realising that Pelias is the king who has stolen his throne. It's only halfway through the voyage that Hera, in the form of the ship's figurehead, lets on and he twigs that he's on a mission that he is not expected to return from.

This is stirring stuff, and successful in that it takes its fantasy so seriously, treating the Gods of Ancient Greece as living, breathing entities who may be aloof and cruel when it suits them, yet are aware their days are numbered when they can be bettered by brave morals such as Jason. You never see Jason get back home to tackle the wicked king, however, and the film ends as if it were setting itself up for a sequel which never arrived, though considering the following behaviour of Jason's new girlfriend Medea (Nancy Kovack, who gets her own dance sequence complete with back-up dancing girls), perhaps that's not such a bad thing. I suppose nothing could top the skeletons, but this is still the richest of the Harryhausen movies with plenty food for thought to accompany the thrills and spectacle. Majestic music by Bernard Herrmann.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 11095 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Chaffey  (1917 - 1990)

British director best known for directing fantasy favourites Jason and the Argonauts and One Million Years B.C, both of which featured groundbreaking Ray Harryhausen effects. Chaffey also directed Hammer’s Viking Queen, but much of his work was in television, both in the UK (The Prisoner, Man In a Suitcase) and, later, the US (Charlie’s Angels, CHiPs, Airwolf). Also made kids’ favourites Greyfriars Bobby and Pete's Dragon for Disney.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: