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Harryhausen Fans...Have You Seen THE ANIMAL WORLD footage?

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Harryhausen Fans...Have You Seen THE ANIMAL WORLD footage?

Old 10-20-03, 09:44 PM
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Harryhausen Fans...Have You Seen THE ANIMAL WORLD footage?

THE ANIMAL WORLD was a documentary produced in 1955 by Irwin Allen, for which he employed the services of Willis O'Brien and Mr. Harryhausen. The latter was employed to animated (on table top) numerous prehistoric animals in a ten-minute sequence intended to represent the Jurassic era. The remaining 70-ish minutes contained incredibly dull footage of modern wildlife throughout the world. After this film's brief 1956 run, it vanished, never to be reissued or run on t.v. or released (commercially) to video. All that remained was a delightful set of 21 3-D images of Harryhausen's (or Marcel Delgado's) models on a View Master set, plus a few 16mm school prints. I imagine the latter led to the few bootleg VHS tapes which turn up at conventions and on eBay, but they look atrocious, and can't even hint at the power of those ten minutes when seen on a big theater screen with proper color. The finale of the sequence shows a volcano erupting and screaming dinosaurs being eaten up by the cracks appearing beneath them, all bathed in a horrifying (to this 6-year old child, at least) bright red. I've been a fan of dinos and Harryhausen ever since.

Well, if you've never seen this footage, rejoice! Warner Bros. is including it as an extra on the BLACK SCORPION DVD, introduced by the master himself. A screenshot I saw from this release would indicate that it has been restored and looks great. The rest of THE ANIMAL WORLD is apparently tied up legally due to the numerous individual owners of the animal footage, but it doesn't matter - it's all terribly pedestrian and doesn't hold a candle to the worst of the Walt Disney True Life Adventures. But this sequence is worth the price of the DVD, even if you don't like BLACK SCORPION.

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