blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

How to Bridge a Gorge (1942, Ray Harryhausen)

How to Bridge a Gorge isn’t just an instructional video about how to, you know, bridge a gorge… it’s Ray Harryhausen showing off the possibilities for what the short calls “three dimensional animation.” In a lot of ways, the possibilities he suggests in this short–made to showcase stop motion to the Army during World War II–have never been realized.

There are no people in Gorge, there are no stand-ins for them. The objects move of their own volition, but some of these objects are recognizable vehicles–there’s an amazing plane too; there’s never the feeling Harryhausen’s being cartoonish. Instead, his craft is so strong, his proof of concept short transcends his ambitions for it.

The crisp color photography, the shot composition, the awkward bookends of narrative… they all contribute to making Gorge surreal. The technical methods are so obvious, they never factor into the viewing.

Gorge’s glorious.

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