Monstervision Host Segments for

Clash Of The Titans (1981)


"Clash of the Titans" Intro

Okay, what's wrong with this list? Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith, Claire Bloom, and Ursula Andress. Those are the gods and goddesses of heaven in tonight's movie, Clash of the Titans, one of THE most requested movies on "MonsterVision," something of a cult classic, also starring Harry Hamlin in his film day-butt, as Perseus, with his magic sword. Lord Olivier, Dame Maggie, and Claire Bloom were combining their 150 years of classical stage experience while Harry and Ursula were making a baby! They had a kid together, right? Harry Hamlin was making USE of that magic sword.

owl flapping All right, let's do the drive-in totals and get it going. We have:

48 dead bodies.
One dead wolf.
No breasts.
Tidal wave.
Grecian voodoo.
Burning at the stake.
Giant vulture transport.
Winged horse wrangling.
Mutant axing.
Hand rolls.
Head rolls.
Claw rolls.
Arrow to the back.
Two-headed wolf attack.
Giant scorpion attack.
Sword wielding.
Kraken crumbling.
Blatant day-for-night.
Whip Fu.
Greek statue Fu.

Two stars. Roll film.

[fading] This is another Ray Harryhausen flick, and it's either one of the greatest achievements in stop-motion animation special-effects filmmaking, or else a cheap grade-B camp classic. Fortunately, at "MonsterVision" WE DON'T CARE WHICH.


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #1

"Welcome to Joppa, Prince Perseus." The great Burgess Meredith, in a very winning role. Now, if you were with us for the first movie, you'd know that this is known as a Ray Harryhausen film. Even though it's directed by Desmond Davis, and it's written by Beverley Cross, and it stars Laurence Olivier, the real stars are the giant sea lizard and the tidal wave and the many other special-effects creatures we will see later.

It was the first time that Ray Harryhausen had a REAL big-studio budget. The film cost about $16 million. It was supposed to be Ray's great epic at last, where he had real actors and a real budget, and he wasn't just doing set-pieces with dinosaurs, but the special effects were really a part of a compelling story. And so fantasy fans everywhere were waiting for the release of this movie, and it was a minor hit in the summer of 1981. But it turned out to be the last film Ray Harryhausen made, and the last film of his long-time producer, Charles H. Schneer. I think what happened is that they perfected stop-motion animation about five years too late. After Star Wars, it just wasn't as thrilling as it used to be. Technology had moved on. Harryhausen and Schneer had a whole bunch of other films planned for the future, but they never did pan out. In 1992 the Motion Picture Academy gave him a special Oscar for his life's work, pretty much signaling that this kind of film was a piece of history. Critics are divided on whether it's a great film or a cheesy film. You can't be CYNICAL and watch this movie, I'll put it that way. Okay, back to the movie--time to trot out Ray Harryhausen's famous Vulture. Roll it.

[fading] Dynamation, he called this process. Later changed to Dynarama. He didn't like to tell anybody how he did anything. Very secretive guy. He thought animators should be like magicians--don't tell any secrets that would spoil the illusion. What Ray doesn't understand is that none of us really WANT to know the secrets. You gotta be a major techno-geek to wanna find that stuff out. "Uh, Ray, did you shoot at 48 frames per second and add a flicker effect on that giant crab shot?" I mean, please.


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #2

Judi Bowker as Andromeda. Whoa! She's supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the world--and she IS. You may have noticed that Harry Hamlin and Burgess Meredith are pretty much the only Americans in the cast. Otherwise, it's a Brit Fest. The reason is that Ray Harryhausen and Charles H. Schneer, the producer, had gone to England in the late fifties to make movies over there, and they just never left. They lived two doors away from each other and planned their movies every single day. And they liked to use the British screenwriter Beverley Cross. Beverley was a big fan of Greek mythology, spoke Greek, and spent his summers on the island of Skiathos in Greece, which is where he got the idea for this movie. Skiathos is one island over from Seraphos, the island where Perseus is supposed to have washed ashore in a trunk. More important, Beverley Cross was married to Maggie Smith. So one day he threw the script on the bed and told Maggie to read it, and he convinced her to ask Laurence Olivier if he would be in it. Laurence Olivier was in the mood to be in ANYTHING in those days, because he had become very sick, he couldn't act on the stage anymore--he had dermatomyositis, and leg thrombosis, both of which sound very painful--but he wanted to make a bunch of money to leave to his offspring before he died. So he took this role the same year he took a role in "Inchon," the big movie that the Moonies did over in Korea--it's one of the worst movies in the history of film. And once HE agreed to do it, then Maggie Smith herself wanted to be in it, and then Claire Bloom agreed to be in it, and everybody else fell into place. They called Ursula Andress in Rio, where she was dancing all night in discos, and asked her if she would be the goddess of love, Aphrodite, and she said yes--she wasn't currently IN LOVE, so she would take the role. She only took acting roles when she was NOT in love. And then, of course, she got hooked up with Harry Hamlin while they were making the movie, and pretty soon she had a little rug-rat on her hands. One of the goddesses CONSORTED with Perseus, as they say. But that's another story. Let's get back to the camp classic "Clash of the Titans."

[fading] Harry Hamlin's a tiger, isn't he? Got married to Nicolette Sheridan. Then she went off with Michael Bolton, right? Then Michael Bolton went off with Claudia Schiffer. Then Claudia Schiffer went off with David Copperfield. Remember when Harry Hamlin kissed Michael Ontkean square on the lips in that movie about hunky gay guys, "Making Love"? How would you like your girlfriend to see THAT? Maybe it works. Maybe it makes you a "sensitive guy." It wasn't one of those tight-lip jobs either--it was a SLOPPY one.


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #3

The SNARLING Calibos. One of the great sequences in the film, with the fetid marshy swam p-- what does "fetid" mean?

I always wanted to use "fetid" in a sentence.

I don't know what it means, but I think that swamp is "fetid." And, of course, those scenes with Pegasus are among the most beautiful sequences Ray Harryhausen ever created. Have you noticed that Harry Hamlin GAPES a lot in this movie? A lot of open-mouthed staring. This was NOT his movie debut, by the way. I was wrong when I said that earlier.

He was first seen in "Movie Movie" in 1978. But it was his first starring role. He had starred in a TV miniseries called "Studs Lonigan." And then later, of course, he would go on to "L.A. Law" and get mired in TV-land.

All right, time for Perseus to go solve the riddle and try to win the hand of Andromeda, as "The Clash of the Titans" continues.

[fading] What would you guys do if you could have the most beautiful woman in the world, all to yourself, and she was a virgin, and all you had to do was solve a riddle, BUT, if you didn't solve the riddle, they would burn you alive? You know what I would be thinking? I would think, "All right, I'm gonna risk my life, I'm gonna solve the dang riddle, I'm gonna get the most beautiful girl in the world--and a year after we get married, she's gonna get pregnant, put on 40 pounds she'll NEVER get rid of, and start nagging me to slay some dragon so we can move to a bigger kingdom."

I'm just way too cynical for these movies. But underneath the cynicism, maybe I'm just a wounded romantic.


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #4

Just when you think Perseus has got the girl, all HELL breaks loose. The head of the goddess Maggie Smith falls on the ground and cracks open and speaks.

Perseus has to kill the Kraken. There's something about Stygian witches. Calibos steals Pegasus. Now these soldier guys are going off on safari with Harry Hamlin. Oh yeah, there's something I've gotta read you guys. In the press kit for this movie, the wardrobe people were REAL proud of all the authentic Grecian costumes they used. But listen to how they describe em:

"Thallo and the soldiers wear cheese-cloth under-tunics and over-tunics of leather sprayed a terracotta color and hand-studded with bronze. Ammon the poet, who is given to flamboyance in dress, wears a gilded mask of the Greek muse of tragedy and his cloak is covered with hieroglyphics copied from the designs on contemporary vases. All the decoration and detail on the dresses and robes are hand-painted in gold-leaf."

All I can say is, I hope they invited Ru Paul to the set. Okay, back to the movie.

[fading] There's something about a man in tunic. Um um um.


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #4

The Stygian witches--led by the great British character actress Freda Jackson. I don't know what mythology book Beverley Cross was reading when he wrote this story--he's supposed to be an expert on Greek mythology. But these witches--this is pretty much straight out of "Macbeth," right? It's just a way to force Perseus to go fight Medusa. The Kraken, the giant sea monster, is a Norwegian myth. Calibos, Lord of the Marsh, is something kinda borrowed from Caliban in "The Tempest." That obnoxious little mechanical owl, Bubo The Owl of Brass, seems out of place in the film--too R2-D2 for a flick like this. But it's actually a steal from the book "The Tin Woodman of Oz," by L. Frank Baum. One of the sequels to The Wizard of Oz

The Vulture -- I think he just made that up. Dioskilos the Two-Headed Wolf Dog is coming up--I don't think that's from mythology. There's Cerberus, the THREE-headed dog. They asked Ray Harryhausen why he didn't use a three-headed dog, and he said it takes too much time to animate the extra head.

I don't know if he was kidding or not. Back in the fifties he animated an octopus that only had six legs. And they asked the producer, Charles H. Schneer, why you would have an octopus with six tentacles --and he said "Cause Harryhausen charges $10,000 per tentacle." Anyway, it's a mess, but it's a FUN mess, right? Time for the Burgess Meredith campfire exposition flashback, in case we all FORGOT the story of Medusa. Roll it.

[fading] It's all a bait-and-switch, right? You must KILL the Kraken! But first you must kill the Medusa who is HARDER to kill than the Kraken! But first you must go to the Stygian witches and find out how to kill the Medusa! But first you must SOLVE THE RIDDLE! See, these mythological stories always reveal deep psychological insights. What were the great writers of mythology trying to tell us here? Whatever you THINK you have to do to end up in bed with the girl -- there are a hundred OTHER things you don't know about yet.


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #5

Now that's a dog-fight. One great sequence after another. That one was the two-headed wolf dog Dioskilos. And as Harry Hamlin and his cohorts head inside to fight the Gorgon, we're gonna take just a minute here for our weekly feature called "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless," in which we listen to the comments and criticisms of you, the loyal and often DISloyal fans of "MonsterVision," and to help us out is the TNT Mail Girl, [enters] making her way out here right now, bearing missives from America. What's this?

MAIL GIRL: Happy anniversary. [beat] It's been a year since I've been bringing the mail.

JB: Right, of course. I knew that.

MG: Open it.

JB: [opens gift] This is beautiful! Thank you, Rusty.

MAIL GIRL: You're welcome.

JB: I got you something, too. I got you . . . this Medusa doll.

MAIL GIRL: Isn't this part of the set decoration?

JB: It was TEMPORARILY part of the set decoration. Until I could give it to you. Happy anniversary, Rusty.

MAIL GIRL: You forgot, didn't you?

JB: What are you talking about? I didn't forget. [Rusty is silent] Look, just give me a little advance notice next year. Gimme a little reminder the week before. Then I'll remember.

[Rusty, sulky, gives him a letter]

Okay, now I get the silent treatment.

"Dear Joe Bob Briggs,

"On August 29, 1998, Dr. Vail Reese was on your show as a guest. I always watch your show. That night I became very mad at what you said. I am a 57-year old black woman. When you said what black women name their children, I did not like what you said or how you said it, in any way. Then you said something about colorless children. Who in the hell do you think you are? I would like for you to write to me and apologize to me on your show.

"Valrice Bell,
Brownsville,
Pennsylvania."

I remember that night.

Dr. Reese was talking about "alopecia." And I said "What's Alopecia? Sounds like one of those names for an African-American woman." I don't know what it's like up there in Pennsylvania, hon, but down in Texas we have a great tradition of very colorful African-American names. I like to think that EYE have a colorful name, too. What am I supposed to apologize for, Valrice? I didn't make fun of the name "Valrice"! I think that Alopecia is a better name than, say, Clarissa. Also, remember on that same show, Dr. Reese was talking about albinos, and I said do they have their own NAACP--National Association for the Advancement of Colorless People? We're just pokin fun at everybody around here, hon, we don't leave anybody out. Right, Rusty?

MG: No comment.

JB: Okay, playing it safe. Anyhow, Valrice, I'm sorry you got mad. Next time you might think about using a pseudonym, though. And speaking of mad, [to Rusty] you still don't believe I remembered our anniversary?

MAIL GIRL: No.

JB: Look, I also got you this Twinkie. As a little anniversary snack.

MAIL GIRL: There's a bite out of it!

JB: That's the way it works.

I take a bite, and then you take a bite. It's like sharing a champagne glass. [tries to hook arms]

MG [exiting]: Just forget about the whole thing.

JB: Or I take a bite, and then EYE take a bite. [bite]


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #6 animated Medusa

Perseus slays the Medusa, in the animated sequence that some people consider Ray Harryhausen's very best. It's been shown at art museums, it's so complex. And one of the things that made it complex is that he animated every one of those TWELVE snakes that make up the upper part of the Gorgon's body. But we've got giant scorpions and a lot more still to come, so Harry Hamlin's quest is not over yet. This movie was directed, by the way, by Desmond Davis, a British guy mostly known for his TV work. And at the time this movie came out, he'd been away from the big screen for 12 years. He'd never made anything remotely resembling this movie. In fact, he was known mostly as a women's director, he did serious dramas like "Girl with the Green Eyes" and "The Uncle." That's why the acting is a little better in this picture than the average Ray Harryhausen movie.

Of course, it also helped that he had FOUR Oscar-winning actors in his cast-- Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith and Claire Bloom (as Hera). Anyway, of all the animated movies Ray did, this one has the best integration of the acting with the monsters.

All right, Perseus has gotta get back to his BRIDE. Roll it.

[fading] Claire Bloom came out with that book a few years ago where she talked about how depressing and dismal and bleak and weird her marriage to Philip Roth was. Like we all wanna read THAT. She was married to Rod Steiger for ten years. Then Hilly Elkins for seven years -- Hilly Elkins is a well-known manager and producer in Hollywood. Philip Roth for four or five years --the novelist who wrote "Goodbye, Columbus" and "Portnoy's Complaint" and makes himself the main character of every novel he writes. I mean, Claire, what were you thinking? He was gonna have a CO-star?


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #7

Well, the cute little mechanical owl is REALLY startin to get on my nerves. Otherwise, great movie. The giant scorpions were outstanding. And now, all that's left, I think, is the final attack of the Kraken. Five years in the making, 12 years from the time the story was written until it finally hit the screens in the summer of 1981, "Clash of the Titans" does deliver in the final reel. Let's watch.

[fading] The critics didn't care much for it, but the fans love it. I should mention that Neil McCarthy plays Calibos in the non-animated scenes, and he's normally not NEARLY that ugly.

God, he's ugly. Normally you gotta go to the State Fair Midway and pay two bucks to a guy named Hiram to see something that ugly.


"Clash of the Titans" Commercial Break #8

It's a lizard! It's a whale! It's a three-handed Godzilla! It's a toothy slimy Kraken! And it's history as "Clash of the Titans" concludes with the wedding of Perseus and Andromeda, and with Burgess Meredith promising to write a poem or a play. Doesn't he talk about 16 jillion things he MIGHT write during the course of that movie?

Great movie. Kinda grows on you. And we seem to be done.

I wanna remind you that next week on "MonsterVision" we have two flicks by the great filmmaker Tobe Hooper, Funhouse, in which a group of horny teenagers get sliced and diced on a carnival ride, and the always classic Poltergeist, and coming up next on 100% Wierd is Harryhausen's earlier version Jason & The Argonauts with THE best skeleton army ever filmed.

Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that sex on television can't hurt you, unless you fall off.

You guys hear the one about the frog that hops into a bank, jumps up on the counter and says to the teller, "I want a loan." The teller says, "You'll have to see the loan officer. Her office is down the hall and the name on the door is 'Patricia Wack.' Go see her. So the frog hops off the counter, and down the hall to Mrs. Wack's office. He jumps up on her desk and says, "I want a loan." Mrs. Wack is puzzled, so she gives the standard line, "We must have something to secure the loan, some collateral." The frog pulls out a ceramic lion, puts it on her desk and repeats that he wants a loan. So Patricia picks up the ceramic lion, goes in to the bank president's office, puts the ceramic lion on his desk, and tells him, "I have this frog in my office who says he wants a loan, and this is what he has to secure it. I don't even know what this thing is." The bank president looks at the ceramic lion, looks at Mrs. Wack, looks back at the ceramic lion, and says: "It's a knick-knack, Patty Wack. Give the frog a loan."

Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.

[fading] Mahatma Ghandi walked barefoot everywhere, to the point that his feet became real thick and hard. He was also a very spiritual person. Even when he was not on a hunger strike, he did not eat much and became very thin and frail. Due to his diet, he ended up with very bad breath. He came to be known as the "Super callused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis." Super callused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis [no reaction from crew].
"Release the Kraken!"

"Clash Of The Titans" is available on video, and on DVD from Amazon.com

Weekly World MonsterVision ... Week of March 22, 1999
Saturday, March 27, Joe Bob's Last Call
Clash of the Titans (1981) at 12:45 a.m. ET/PT
High atop Mount Olympus, the Gods toy with the fates of mere mortals down below. Harry Hamlin, in his first starring role, plays Perseus, the son of Zeus and the sword-welding hero. Before he can be united with the fair princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker), he must prove himself in battle with such formidable creatures as the Medusa, the Kraken (a scaly monster from the deep sea), and Calibos, the Lord of the Marsh. The last in a long line of unique stop-motion fantasy features by Ray Harryhausen. Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Ursula Andress, Burgess Meredith, and Maggie Smith are just a few of the toga-clad superstars featured in the cast.
100% Weird
Mr LimpetThe Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964) at 3:35 a.m. ET/PT
It's a musical. No, it's a cartoon. No, it's a World War II adventure tale. Actually, it's all these things and more. Don Knotts plays a timid bookkeeper who harbors a secret desire to live underwater...and gets his wish. Ever seen a dolphin wearing wire-rim glasses? You will in this oddball fantasy about the Navy's secret weapon. You'll also get to hear Mr. Knotts sing "I Wish I Were a Fish."
Rating: TV-G.
Watch for these great titles on MonsterVision in the upcoming months in 1999:

Funhouse
Poltergeist
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
Two classic episodes from the classic sci-fi series, The Outer Limits

TNT promo for Harryhausen Night on Monstervision
(click 2 or 3 times to play clip)
Fun fact:
Ripley's Believe It Or Not reports that an octopus in an aquarium in Blackpool, England, was born with just 6 tentacles, just the right number for Ray Harryhausen!

"Call out the giants and the werewolves and the spirits of those trees who are on our side. Call the ghouls, and the boggles, the ogres, and the minotaurs. Call the cruels, the hags, the spectres, and the people of the toadstools." If you like Lord Of The Rings or Star Wars, check out The Chronicles of Narnia...Aslan is on the move


Back to Monstervision or Scifans.com


Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl "Here there be monsters"

Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest (with the Kracken from Davy Jones Locker)

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
Plato

Host segment transcript for 10/23/99 broadcast
1999 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved
Release the Kraken!