Today! Because the Kraken is invulnerable. A hundred men could not fight him, an army could not kill him –
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Directed by Desmond Davis
Starring Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Jack Gwillim, Claire Bloom, Burgess Meredith (x2), Judi Bowker, Sian Phillips, Pat Roach, Susan Fleetwood, Tim Pigott-Smith, Neil McCarthy
This pile of Ray Harryhausen wonderment adorned with super high end actors was another staple of the household growing up. We even had a puzzle of the above poster that I remember being a real ballbuster to put together – there’s a lot more water in the bottom part of the picture than appears here. But as a pure adventure movie, this thing basically holds up. Sure, those stop-motion effects look a little creaky in anything nowadays, but they are still relatively seamless with the movie as a whole. And there’s a bunch of well-realized mythological creatures populating the goings on. Pegasus! Medusa! The Kraken! Dude!
When the speechifying starts, it’s not the greatest. Even Olivier and Maggie Smith, with epic godly back-lighting, have a hard time making that dialogue work, but seriously, the plot in this thing doesn’t matter. There are monsters for Harry Hamlin’s Perseus to battle, for Chrissakes! His quest is basically gather up weapons, consult some witches, try not to turn to stone, fight giant sea creatures, rescue damsels, and keep that hairdo looking tight. Fun, mindless action!
I don’t know how well it’s aging, or how it’s regarded – I guess okay enough to commission that thoroughly unnecessary remake in 2010, plus a sequel to that – but in its day it wasn’t exactly an awards darling. It was the eleventh highest grossing movie of 1981, though, so I guess that justifies selling tie-in puzzles? But where was the award for Best Mechanical Owl? It’s not every movie that rolls out a robot bird, especially a film set in ancient times. But hey, when you got flying horses and snake coiffures, I guess you can get away with a lot.
For some odd reason, I picked up a long running childhood nickname from this movie – around the house, anyway – that of “Calibos.” I don’t know how or why this started, but my dad would intermittently call me Cal or Calibos for years. Is it because he was a cute-as-a-button toddler, like yours truly?
Another member of the Italian Stallion troupe lands on the Two-Timers list today, as Mick himself Burgess Meredith – still in the franchise in #356’s Rocky III – joins Stallone, Weathers, Young, Shire, and Burton in the club! Spotlight!