The largest exhibition ever devoted to the American filmmaker credited with shaping the face of modern cinema opens to the public in Scotland today.
The celebration of Ray Harryhausen’s pioneering work in Hollywood special effects is being hosted at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh for the next 11 months.
It was to have opened in May, only to be delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but is now open to celebrate the artist, designer, visual effects creator, writer and producer who created a form of stop motion model animation known as ‘dynamation’.
Harryhausen elevated stop-motion to an art-form between the 1950s-1980s and his movies inspired a generation of the world’s greatest living filmmakers, among them Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Sir Peter Jackson.
He was responsible for some of twentieth century cinema’s most magical moments and the exhibition will showcase the original models at the very centre of classic moments.
They include the iconic skeletons from 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts, the Cyclops from his Sinbad series of the 1950-70s and his landmark aliens from the 1956 film Earth vs the Flying Saucers.
The landmark exhibition is part of the late filmmaker’s centenary celebrations, alongside the specially commissioned publication of Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema, written by Mr Harryhausen’s daughter Vanessa.
Ms Harryhausen, who is trustee of The Ray and Dianna Harryhausen Foundation, said: “Our plans to celebrate dad’s centenary at the National Galleries in Edinburgh are so exciting.
“If he was still around, he would be so enthused by all the centenary celebrations and plans.
“It’s wonderful that we are able to display so much of dad’s collection.
“The space at the galleries gives us great scope to display as many of his models and artworks as possible, as well as personal items which have never been exhibited before.”
Visitors will find a young Harryhausen’s very first models, including his marionette inspired by the gorilla from Willis O’Brien’s film King Kong, as well as models from Mighty Joe Young, the first film he and Mr O’Brien worked on together – and the movie which effectively launched the former’s career.
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker’s life, work and boundless imagination, meanwhile, will be told through an immersive showing of sights, sounds and shadows.
Ms Harryhausen added: “We at the foundation are thrilled to work with the National Galleries on displaying dad’s collection and celebrating his legacy.
“He established the foundation in order to encourage future generations to enjoy stop-motion animation and we hope the celebrations and activities in Edinburgh will encourage fans of all ages to be inspired by his creativity.”
The exhibition runs until September 5, 2021.