Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Patrick Trouton as Phenias
What was the cool factor of Jason and the Argonauts? Back when I was a kid growing up in the 1970’s the only film we wanted to remake ourselves was Jason. Yes we wanted to riff on other films, say Star Wars or Jaws or some other big film, But Jason was the only one where we wanted to recreate it as closely as a bunch of ten year olds with no budget could. We were so intent that we actually worked out how and where we going to do it…

…unfortunately we never went beyond the planning stage, but we gave it a game try. So game in fact that periodically I still run across notes from the attempt.

Retelling a version of Jason’s trip to steal the Golden Fleece the film is a rip roaring adventure of the highest order. There are heroics, monsters and romance. There is weight to what happens as heroes make mistakes (Hercules) and people die. The characters are well drawn and we care about what happens even after almost six decades, not because of the monsters but the people.

And of course the monsters are great, from the Telos to the skeletons it’s all good stuff that sparks the imagination and makes us dream.

I love this movie.

Interestingly, in the days before home video, when movies were run on regular TV stations with commercials sometimes things would get cut to fit a slot. For years I never knew about the sequence with the Harpies because some times during the 430 movie (where a 2 hour movie could take three or four days to be shown) they would remove the whole sequences with Phineas. (Kids today really don’t understand what seeing a cut film means)

If you have never seen this film you should. Why? Because it holds up in its own right- and more importantly it is a film that influenced everything after it. All of the effects guys love the film and once you watch the film you’ll be able to begi to spot all of the steals from it.

Highly recomended

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