Show & Tell: On Ray Harryhausen’s Fairy Tales

Red StareIn regards to every well-worn fairy tale, “It’s not the tale, but how it’s told” is the order of the day. Parents and other creative adults well-versed in story time voices and acting have this mantra branded on their brain cells and know how to make any yarn they spin keep kids at rapt attention. Still, for many of his longtime fans, Ray Harryhausen’s incredible stop-motion versions of Mother Goose stories and five classic fairy tales are some of the most memorable versions ever created.

Save for The Tortoise and the Hare (which was incomplete until its 2002 premiere), I can recall some of these films along with his earlier Mother Goose shorts being shown during assembly hall sessions or in the occasional class where a regular teacher was out sick and the substitute called in hadn’t time to whip up a proper lesson plan. While most of these 16mm shorts were part of my childhood, I’d imagine plenty of today’s little (and more tech savvy) whippersnappers haven’t a clue who Harryhausen was or what made (and still makes him) him great and such a huge inspiration of countless filmmakers and visual effects artists to this day.

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Random Film of the Week: The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

(Thanks, ClassicTrailerGuy!)
 

TToB PosterStill one of the best and most thrilling fantasy films ever made, The Thief of Bagdad is a perfect movie that’s stuck with me ever since I first saw it as a child. After years of experiencing it in black and while, I didn’t even realize the film was in glorious Technicolor until sometime in the 1980’s when I finally saw it after a few years and fell for its charms all over again.

Considering at least three and as many as six people directed the film and production went from England to America due to a little world war breaking out, the film is even more incredible. Yes, some of you have seen this countless times, but if you know someone who hasn’t, it’s time to change that. Sit them down with this gem when it pops up on TCM or just plop down the cost of whatever this costs on DVD and prepare to be transported into a fantastic fairytale world… Continue reading

“Once Upon A Time…” Is Soon To Be A Well-Read (and Seen!) Verse Again…

FTB RapunzelWell, well welly-well well! It seems that there’s yet another blogathon I get to be a part of and yes, you’re invited for the ride as a reader OR writer if you want to huff and puff and show your stuff. Movies, Silently is hosting The Fairy Tale Blogathon from November 9-11, 2014, so zip on over there on your magic carpet to check out the rules and see what’s already been snapped up.

Given that the blogathon is open to such a wide range of films, TV shows and commentary on them, I’m betting a bunch of you can join in and post your own two gold eggs about a favorite fairy tale adaptation. I won’t reveal what I’m doing just yet, but if you’re clever enough and look in the right place, you’ll figure it out really quickly. Okay, the image on the left is a BIG giveaway and that’s all I’ll say.

Um, and they lived happily ever after, the end? I guess that’s how it usually goes in that sunshine, birdies and rainbows world some of you expect. Usually. But I say expect some surprises if you think ALL fairy tales end this way!