Watch fantastic '40s footage from Ray Harryhausen's never-made War of the Worlds movie

Contributed by
Jul 11, 2016, 6:21 PM EDT

Ray Harryhausen is the undisputed heavyweight special effects artist when it comes to pioneering creature design and stop-motion animation techniques, having created a monstrous menagerie of ravenous dinosaurs, invading aliens, roaring minotaurs, sword-fighting skeletons, lumbering leviathans and flying mythical beasts in his storied Hollywood career.  From The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms to Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, this legendary creator used the meticulous magic of his "Dynamation" to imbue his armatured creatures with life.  

His work became inspirational material for generations of filmmakers and special effects artists, like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Stan Winston, Tim Burton, Henry Selick and Wallace and Gromit's claymation genius, Nick Park.   Harryhausen was involved with dozens of commercial and industrial projects that never made it to screen, and he remained active throughout his 50-year love affair with monsters, constantly pushing his craft in new directions and experimenting with different forms of animation.


Though this complete Harryhausen test footage for a proposed War of the Worlds movie was first posted several months ago, it escaped our vigilant eye, and we present it to you now for your inspection.  Years before director George Pal delivered his 1953 adaptation of H.G. Wells' invasion thriller, Harryhausen brought this 16mm test footage and concept art to Hollywood to try and persuade the powers that be at RKO to finance his vision of War of the Worlds.  This vintage scene of a dying alien escaping his craft has a creepy, otherworldy quality to it and seems quaint in these CGI-obsessed times, but it's important to be reminded that this stop-motion animation sequence was considered state-of-the-art for its time.  

Have a look at this cinematic gem from 1949, matched with audio from the infamous 1938 radio broadcast for War of the Worlds, and tell us if you think Harryhausen deserved a shot.


(Via Den of Geek)