20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH
All of Ray Harryhausens early films (mentioned above) are monster or alien invader movies and in the case of 20 Million Miles to Earth both. Perhaps signifying an underlying thematic connection of 1950s science-fiction films, monsters and alien invaders are interchangeable as threats in these early Harryhausen films. (With The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Harryhausen would abandon social threats and discover mythic adventure, which would thereafter become his predominant thematic interest). These early Harryhausen films often give the impression of having been conceptually constructed around a set-piece in which the particular menace of the show threatens a famous landmark the rhedosaurus trampling New York and Coney Island in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; the octopus tearing down the Golden Gate Bridge in It Came from Beneath the Sea; the alien invaders trashing various Washington D.C. landmarks in Earth Vs the Flying Saucers. It certainly has been in the case of 20 Million Miles to Earth. The entire film has been construed around the Ymir (although the creature is never named such in the film) being shot down at The Coliseum. (This does at least make for one of the few occasions in 1950s science-fiction where a country other than the USA gets invaded).
Ray Harryhausens effects are highly impressive. These represent the blossoming of him as an animator from the point he was merely creating monsters to where he started to craft them into characters. There are some excellent scenes with The Ymir fighting a dog and battering a farmer 20 Million Miles to Earth is a surprisingly violent film in some regards. The films great set-piece is the Ymirs fight with an elephant in the streets of Rome and the shootout with the Army atop The Coliseum. It is a magnificent effects set-piece. Here you can measure as the point that Ray Harryhausen started to move beyond merely being a special effects man and became an artist.
Ray Harryhausens other films are: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), the granddaddy of all atomic monster films; the giant atomic octopus film It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955); the alien invader film Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956); The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958); The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960); the Jules Verne adaptation Mysterious Island (1961); the Greek myth adventure Jason and the Argonauts (1963); the H.G. Wells adaptation The First Men in the Moon (1964); the caveman vs dinosaurs epic One Million Years B.C. (1966); the dinosaur film The Valley of Gwangi (1969); the two Sinbad sequels The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977); and the Greek myth adventure Clash of the Titans (1981).
Nathan Jurans other genre films are: the horror-adventure film The Black Castle (1952), the giant bug film The Deadly Mantis (1957), Ray Harryhausens The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), the classic bad films The Brain from the Planet Arous (1957) and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), Jack the Giant Killer (1962), the Ray Harryhausen film The First Men in the Moon (1964) and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973).