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    PCR #318  (Vol. 7, No. 17)  This edition is for the week of April 24--30, 2006.

"United 93"  by Mike Smith
Clash of the Titans  by Mark Terry
Neil Young's Chrome Dreams  by Terence Nuzum
Fantastic Voyage....There's No Need To Fear....When You're Hot You're Hot....Uh, Guys, It's Only A Movie....My Favorite Films -- Part 17: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"  by Mike Smith
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My Second Toe Is Longer Than Yours  

Clash of the Titans

Last Wednesday I had the privilege to attend Hollywood's Master Story Tellers edition of "Clash of the Titans." The screening was in honor of legendary producer/effect master Ray Harryhausen. After the screening there was a Q&A with below guests.

  • Ray Harryhausen
  • Harry Hamlin (actor)
  • Ray Bradbury (author) "Golden Voyage of Sinbad"
  • Gordon Hessler (Director)
  • John Philip Law (actor) "Sinbad"
  • First we got to watch the film. I have never seen Clash in the movie theater before let alone in the Manns Chinese Theater. Seeing the film on the big screen provided some new insight on the film. It also made me re realize how good Ray Harryhausen really is and why every special effects guy looks up to him.

    Let me start with a little back story. I went to a screening with a buddy of mine and his wife. Let's just call my friend Dee for the time being. I will explain later why I don't want to say his full name. Dee is a collector of very rare film prints. He hopes to open a theater one day. Dee recently managed to get his hands on a Harryhausen print that was thought to be destroyed. The title of the film is "Animal World" which is about the evolution of the planet through animals. Guess who did the unreal Dinosaur sequences? The print was thought to be lost or un-findable. Dee is convinced he has the only print of this Harryhausen classic. Dee really wanted to ask Harryhausen about the film just to see his reaction. He would never dare say he owns it out of fear someone maybe able to take it from him.

    So the film finished and the Q & A started. Harry Hamlin who played Perseus in "Clash of the Titans" still looked to be in great shape over 20 years later. On the other hand, Ray Bradbury looked really old. I kind of felt bad for him because he kept slipping out of his wheel chair.

    Harry Hamlin had some of the most interesting stories of the night. The three stories that come to mind are as follows.

    1.) Before MGM took the movie a previous studio wanted to pick up the film but only if Arnold Schwarzenegger were to play Perseus Everyone in the crowd laughed pretty hard. Could you even imagine him playing the role of Perseus? It might have turned into the one of the most ridiculous and/or guilty pleasure movies ever. I am not saying that's a good or bad thing.

    See what a couple hundred feet of film and a good idea can get you.
    2.) Harry Hamlin seems to be an actor with a very strong focus. His next story was about how the producers originally wanted to kill Medusa. In the script they didn't want to make Perseus a straight up killer. They had a scene which Perseus threw his shield which inadvertently cut off Medusa's head. Harry Hamlin said he fought tooth and nail to get this changed. The producers wouldn't listen to him. So when that scene came up Hamlin realized 50% of the movie was already shot. He locked himself in his own trailer and told the producers, "If you want me to kill Medusa that way then you will have to find another Perseus." Hamlin knew he had the producers where he wanted them and thank god they agreed to change the scene.

    3.) After the scene Hamlin was still steadfast on making suggestions. He thought it would be a great idea to walk up after the Medusa scene and hold the head up in victory. I think since the producers were fed up with him or tired, they agreed. Hamlin said there were only a couple hundred feet left and they shot one of the most famous shots of the movie. Although Hamlin thought it was a great idea he was somewhat shocked to see that the idea actually ended up in the final print of the film.

    Many stories were told and at the end of the Q&A ,the moderator asked everyone what they were up to next. Hamlin works on the show "Veronica Mars", but John Phillip Law's answer was the one that really had my ears perk up. Real quick, other than Sinbad you might remember Law as the white hair Angel in "Barbellea." He said he works with his son who has local production company. His son shoots features on DV which was interesting. Then he hit me with the bomb. Law does a lot of international movie and he said his next picture is with the famous Italian horror director, Umberto Lenzi. I didn't even know Lenzi still directed. I have been saying for years that if I can remake two movies it would be "Clash of the Titans" and "Cannibal Ferrox" (Make'em Die Slowly). Guess who directed "Cannibal Ferrox?" I would have never thought those two movies would ever come up in the same night unless it was out of my mouth. Very weird.

    Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury take some pictures after the Q&A. Bradbury said he and Harryhausen met in Pasadena at age 18.
    After the screening Dee, his wife, and me made a quick bathroom stop. We didn't get a chance to have either of our questions asked. Whiling taking a pee next to Dee we were talking about how cool the movie was and this experience. I look over to my left and wouldn't you know Ray Harryhausen is taking a wiz right next to me. I hurried my pee as quickly I could and looked at Dee. Either he was afraid to go up to Harryhausen or not aware what was going on. I took it upon myself to ask Dee's question for him. Harryhausen had some people around him but he had to wash his hands. I had my window of time. Here is what was said and I am paraphrasing too:

    MARK: "Ray, that was a great show in there. I really had a good time coming out and hearing all of you speak. I wanted to ask you a real quick question. Do you ever think we will ever see "Animal World" come out anywhere?

    RAY: "That film will never come out because of the problems I had with the producers. All the prints are gone. However, you can check out some of the work I did on the film on Scorpion Video."

    After Ray was done washing his hands the people in the theatre whisked him away. I am not even sure Dee heard the whole conversation or not but when I told him his print is most likely one of a kind his eyes lit up. What a great way to end a one of a kind night.

    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2006 by Mark Terry.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.