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The Flying Claw-Interesting Trivia






Recently, I read a book about Ray Harryhausen which stated that he was initially considered to do the SFX for GIANT CLAW (which originally was titled THE FLYING CLAW).

For whatever reasons, it didn't happen. I suspect money was the main issue.

Weird, b/c the film begins quite dark, suspenseful and even scary, that is until the Big Bird makes its campy appearence.

A pity, b/c it isn't really that bad for a 50's B Monster Flick. It's just those shots of the ridiculous bird that kills any mood or suspenseful atmosphere.

Otherwise, it could have been a far better film.

Obviously, Mr. Katzman couldn't come up with the extra cash.

I believe most "fans" agree it was the frustrating case of "If only the producers had a bit more money . . "

Does anyone else know of this?



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I didn't know of this until I read your post just tonight, but as a Harryhausen fanatic, I do wish it had worked out that way. I believe Ray would have created a winged terror that would have been even more effective than Toho's RODAN (and I like that movie a lot).

You know, in a way, Harryhausen did work on CLAW. If you'll watch the scenes of city panic carefully, you'll see a number of shots from THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS inserted to save money (especially in the "running in the streets and down the stairwell" scenes), as well as the rather grisly-effective "Washington Monument falling on fleeing tourists" effect from EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS.

Ah, if only Ray had handled all of the effects. Steve V.

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I thought the same thing. It is no worse a story than most of the Scheer/Harryhausen productions. No one can get past the bird (Holy cow -- it looks like one of the flying creatures in a Three Stooges short!).

Perhaps some enterprising producer like Wade Williams would purchase the rights and re-do the cheesy special effects and design a new Claw.

One problem, if the SFX were better, I wonder if anyone would even remember this movie.

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escalera-2

A very late response.

'if the SFX were better, I wonder if anyone would even remember this movie.'

If Harryhausen had done the FX (as was originally intended), it most certainly would be remembered and revered.


As a previous poster stated, Imagine that great winged terror from the skies that Ray could have come up with. Then, this would easily had been grouped amongst the better 50's Sci-Fi. I also was surprisingly impressed by the quirky chemistry between Jeff and Mara, even her sweet kinky innuendo.


THUS, THE GIANT CLAW (or FLYING CLAW, which actually tells more of it than 'giant')would be that fondly remembered minor classic with that bird monster that gave you nightmares. The script wasn't bad, and the build-up was suspenseful, then the rest was history. The giant claw could have been a larger version of Harryhausen's planned, but aborted Elementals.

Another missed opportunity that fell into MST parody. They should have scrapped hard for the extra bucks. Would have made more at the Box Office. What could have been. A remake could only improve the interesting failure.




The lesser of two evils is still evil.



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Certainly I agree with you, Deluge69-663991830.

It is well reported that the principal actors were appalled when they first saw the scenes of the monster they had been reacting to.

"In Bill Warren's definitive study of 1950s Science-Fiction films, Keep Watching the Skies, he relates a tale told to him by Jeff (Mitch McAffee) Morrow's daughter.

"With the special effects farmed out to a Mexican company, there was never a cast viewing of the film after it was completed. Morrow lived in a small town, and the local theater would run the films of the town's resident "movie star." Morrow attended opening night, as was his habit, after which he'd hang around and talk with his neighbors.

"Well, needless to say, when the Claw made its first comical appearance on screen (again, the first time Morrow saw the special effects inserts), the audience started laughing.

"Morrow was so mortified by what he was acting terrified of on the screen that he slunk out of the theater and met his family in the parking lot when the movie was over, from whence he hastily retreated to his house."

(quote from this link: [b]http://www.jabootu.com/acolytes/brandiweed/GiantClaw.htm)

That story is pretty well known but I think worth repeating. Obviously the actors were never in scenes with the monster (maybe I am wrong -- I have not seen this title in a while) and how easy it would be to create a new flying terror and replace new scenes with the old. I don't like fiddling with movies like that, but I'd like to hear audience response to a version with a more satisfying monster.

Many movies have had the budget slashed, movies with good scripts at that.

I think the monster bird could have worked, just as the "fake-looking" shark did in Jaws (1975), had it been photographed better and maybe a different roar, like in Rodan (1956), instead of the screech that we hear in The Giant Claw (I do like your title better).

I don't want to de-rail this thread, but I must make mention of The Beast With A Million Eyes (1955). Cheapjack budget, limited time and some lazy directing throws it in the same bag as our instant title. The script had some good ideas going for it. Too bad the director overlooked them.

Thanks for posting.



"Please use elevator, stairs stuck between floors."

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I had read Warren's KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. He really did his research. Wasn't there a new and updated release?

It must have been a real bummer for Jeff Morrow, having to sneak out of there. The pain of fame.

You made an excellent point about BEAST WITH 1,000,000 EYES. The potential was there. Heard that Hitchcock wanted to do a story that 'BEAST' was derived from, but chose THE BIRDS instead. Now, that would have been something to deeply ponder. Can't recall the original title of the source material or the author.

I said this so many times that my keyboard is wearing out, but I've always felt that those 'interesting failures' should be remade. Wouldn't be "ruining classics". So many B movies that had some promising ideas and set-ups which could be improved.

One, in particular was JOURNEY TO THE 7th PLANET. It had a unique premise of the unseen alien menace that began taking them over by turning their thoughts, fears and desires into reality. Was quite original at the time. Imagine if it had a bigger budget, more time to rework the script, and if Harryhausen had done the SFX. We might have had another classic.

It also predated SOLARIS, and a few STAR TREKs

There were a number of those old B Films that had the potential of being much better for the reasons listed.

Good hearing from you.

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Regrettably, often the scripts go through re-writes and bear no resemblance to the original. It would take some determination on the part of a filmmaker to make maybe only minor changes and leave the body of the work alone.
I suppose it has to do with getting screen credit.

(I also thought of Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962) the first time I finally watched the original 1972 American release version of Solaris. I like both films.)

I'll have to watch The Giant Claw again some day soon. I suppose I saw it in the mid-60's and as a young teen and I probably started to scoff at certain things and sought to ridicule it instead of looking past the short-comings.

I actually enjoy some of those B and the so-called Z movies. They have things to say now and then.


"Please use elevator, stairs stuck between floors."

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