Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema Exhibit Celebrates the VFX Legend

Modern Two’s Upcoming Show Highlights Ray Harryhausen’s Legendary Work

I shudder to think where the film industry would be if not for the work of Ray Harryhausen. He’s the visionary special effects guru who blazed a trail for the genre cinema that dominates multiplexes today. His work in movies like Jason and the Argonauts and Mighty Joe Young set the bar for genre movies’ VFX. Today’s most visionary filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, and Tim Burton all bow down at the shrine of Harryhausen.

Harryhausen died in 2013, but his legacy lives on. June 29, 2019, would mark the legend’s 99th birthday. And the National Galleries of Scotland and Harryhausen’s daughter Vanessa (on behalf of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation) have a special treat. They’re celebrating his life and his work with a show titled Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema. The exhibition will run next year, kicking off on May 23 and wrapping up Oct 25, 2020.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema, is the largest and widest-ranging exhibition of Harryhausen’s work ever seen. The models will join newly restored and previously unseen material from Harryhausen’s matchless collection and archive.

Film Director John Landis (Thriller, An American Werewolf in London) had this to say:


The 8-year-old me was no longer sitting in my seat at the Crest Theater in West Los Angeles, I was on the beach of the island of Colossa and as awe-struck and fearful as Sinbad and his crew when the first Cyclops made his appearance. I was spellbound by Sinbad’s adventures and marvelled at the Cyclops, the Two-headed Roc, the fire breathing Dragon and the Skeleton brought to life by the evil magician Sokurah. Only later did I learn that these extraordinary beasts were really brought to life by the magician Ray Harryhausen.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was a truly life-changing experience for me. Thrilled by the movie I went home and asked my mother, “Who does that? Who makes the movie?” She replied, “Well a lot of people honey. But I guess the right answer is the director.’ And that was that. I would be a director when I grew up. All of my energy went into that goal, and I read everything about film I could get my hands on.

That Shelf got our hands on some juicy new images featuring Harryhausen’s restored work. Check them out below.

Original Skeleton model armatured skeleton with Medusa shield from Jason and the Argonauts
Original Skeleton model. armatured skeleton, with Medusa shield, from Jason and the Argonauts, c.1962 and Original Skeleton model; octopus shield by Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013).


Medusa model from Clash of the Titans
Medusa model from Clash of the Titans, c.1979 by Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013).


Model of Kali by Ray Harryhausen
Model of Kali by Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013) from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, c.1973.


Ray Harryhausen 1920-2013 animating Skeleton model The 7th Voyage of Sinbad 1958
Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013) animating Skeleton model (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 1958).

Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema will take place next summer at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two) from Sat 23 May-25 Oct 2020.

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