Jason has been prophesied to take the throne of Thessaly. When he saves Pelias from drowning, but does not recognize him as the man who had earlier killed his father, Pelias tells Jason to travel to Colchis to find the Golden Fleece. Jason follows his advice and assembles a sailing crew of the finest men in Greece, including Hercules. They are under the protection of Hera, queen of the gods. Their voyage is replete with battles against harpies, a giant bronze Talos, a hydra, and an animated skeleton army, all brought to life by the special effects wizardry of Ray Harryhausen. Written by
Rick Gregory <email@example.com>
Presumably in order to capitalize on the success of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Ray Harryhausen originally conceived of the film as "Sinbad in the Age of Muses". The story would still have been set in ancient Greece and would have involved Sinbad joining Jason in the search for the Golden Fleece. See more »
Just before their fight with the skeletons, Jason and his two companions remove the leather straps they're wearing across their chests. In the immediately following close-ups of Jason, he's still wearing his. See more »
Zeus, king of the gods of the Greeks, brighten the ashes that I may read the future. I see... a great tree at the end of the world. And in its branches there hang the skull and skin of a ram. They gleam and shine for it is a prize of the gods, a Golden Fleece.
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Possibly. His first "Sinbad" film in 1958 had one moving skeleton for the hero to fight; this one has a whole platoon of them, each part painstakingly moved one tiny distance at a time personally by Harryhausen through stop-motion techniques. The seven-headed Hydra is another technical marvel. There are some other nifty creatures for Jason and his crew to battle, but for me, the most impressive of them all turns up first: the gigantic Talos, the Man of Bronze.
I was a kid when this came out, and I don't think I'll ever forget that moment when the huge, crouched statue came to life, turned his head towards the two men below him (his bronze head screeching with the tear of metal), climbed off of his pedestal, and proceeded to chase Jason and his men. Talos was giant like Godzilla, but as single-minded as the Terminator: all he wants to do is track Jason's crew down until he kills them all. This gave me nightmares. Bernard Herrmann's score is one of his best, making music to match Harryhausen's images. (Herrmann was coming off of other Harryhausen's, plus Hitchcock's "Vertigo," "North by Northwest" and "Psycho," and knew how to thrill you.)
Tom Hanks, who was also a kid when this came out, has said: "Everybody thinks that 'Citizen Kane' was the greatest movie ever made. But if you were young in 1963, you know the real answer is: 'Jason and the Argonauts.'"
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