[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Dinosaur Films

       Looking back at the history of dinosaur adventure films, I believe 
there's a common denominator at work determining whether or not they are 
successful. The story and script are, of course, important, but I believe 
passion about the subject must be present. Willis O'Brien, Ray Harryhausen, 
and Phil Tippett form a school or clade, if you will, of artists who have 
been deeply involved in creating the most successful examples of this genre 
which include some of the classic films of all time. Willis O'Brien was a 
fossil hunter in his early days. He consulted with Barnum Brown. His 
collaboration with Marcel Delgado resulted in dinosaur figures that still 
haunt and astonish. It's heartbreaking to see the late photos of O'Brien in 
front of his gorgeous watercolor renderings of amazing dinosaur sequences he 
was trying to sell to 20th Century Fox during preproduction for the 1960 
version of "The Lost World" which was ultimately filmed with live lizards. He 
loved this stuff. Same thing with Harryhausen. The influence of Chas.R.Knight 
is always present even in his mythical creatures. Phil Tippett at Berkeley 
constantly consulted with folks like Mike Greenwald, Jaques Gauthier and Rob 
Long. Working with Randy Dutra (who's making quite the name for himself in 
wildlife art circles these days), Tippett brought dinosaurs in film into the 
modern age in "Prehistoric Beast" and "Jurassic Park". I believe I've said 
before that Tippett was an early collector of Doug Henderson's art. All these 
artists LOVED dinosaurs. When people who didn't got in charge the films were 
stillborn. It became a matter of just turning the crank. DV