Thursday, 9 March
JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS 1963
Directed by Don Chaffey
Back in conservative America of the early 1960s, a weird genre of films became immensely popular that were based on, of all things, Greek mythology. This one is based on Jason's search for the golden fleece... but let's be clear; this is no trustworthy translation of the Greek story, it's more of a fabrication conjured up by the Hollywood dream machine. But these flicks offered something else rather than accuracy to their Greek source—they were bold, dashing, clashing, bright adventures shot in jaw-dropping Technicolor. And there was another thing that made them glow with magic—they featured hand-crafted stop-motion effects by the legendary wizard Ray Harryhausen. What Harryhausen was able to achieve through painstaking work created a kind of poetry. He conjured up the kind of artwork that seeps deep into your dreams and haunts you for life.
How is the acting of this grand epic? Wooden and hammy as hell... and the cast is made of total unknowns, except for actress Honor Blackman (Goldfinger). But the real stars are of course the fabulous creations—the giant bronze statue of Talos that comes to life, a battle with two mind-blowing harpies, the tempting mermaids, a nasty seven-headed Hydra, and an army of skeleton warriors that rise from the dead. And of course there are the Greek Gods who play with us mere humans as if we were puppets. It was all shot around some beautiful Mediterranean location (Yugoslavia?) and set to a thunderous score by Bernard Herrmann (Psycho).
Lastly, there is one other aspect that has endeared this film to so many—its homo-erotic content. Many viewers picked up on the hidden gay relationship between Hercules and Hylas, including otherwise senseless cross-fades to "goldenly sinewed men thrusting and sweating." This led one viewer to conclude that it was "So gay, I feel like I watched something softcore."
This will be a high-definition screening.
Date & Time:
- MARIONETTE THEATRE