Ray Harryhausens Fantasy Scrapbook – Book Review

Look what Ray found in the garage

Release Date: November 2011
192 pages * £30
Authors: Ray Harryhausen, Tony Dalton
Publisher: Aurum

The understandable reaction on hearing that Tony Dalton has collaborated with stopmotion maestro Ray Harryhausen on a fifth book about the making of his films would be a weary sigh. What can there be left to say? Surely they’ve printed every picture? Mined every anecdote?

But thanks to Harryhausen clearing out his garage in LA recently – no they haven’t. And there’s a lot left to say.

Ray, it turns out, was a compulsive hoarder, and his garage was stuffed with cinematic treasures: on-set photos, scripts, concept art, maquettes and puppets, right from his teenage experiments (the photos of the cute monsters he was creating at this stage are worth the price of the book alone), all the way through to abandoned, post- Clash Of The Titans projects.

The title “scrapbook” is apt – and a knowing nod to fans who will remember Harryhausen’s seminal work of the ’70s, The Film Fantasy Scrapbook – as this tome is more pictures-and-captions-led than the authors’ previous collaborations. But the title also belies the amount of genuine new information on offer here. It’s thoroughly engrossing, whether you’re a Harryhausen fan or just a film fan in general.

It’s an absolute delight to browse through, and, crucially, captures the character of the man behind the monsters more vividly than any previous book.

Dave Golder

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