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The Stop-motion Filmography: A Critical Guide to 297 Features Using Puppet Animation [Paperback]

Neil Pettigrew

Price: 60.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Dec 2007
This is a major McFarland reference work providing in-depth analyses of all puppet animation sequences in every film that has featured the process, including "King Kong" and "Jason and the Argonauts". The focus is on how effective the sequence was and how it was executed. In addition to the analysis, each entry provides title, year of release, cast and production credits including producer, director, screenplay, director of photography, art director or production designer, music, stop-motion animators, armature builders, puppet makers, stop-motion cameramen, sequence supervisors, and more. Ratings of the film and of the effectiveness of its stop-motion sequences are also given. Replacement volumes can be obtained individually under ISBN 0-7864-3127-X (for Volume 1) and ISBN 0-7864-3128-8 (for Volume 2).

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"[an] amazing achievement...thousands of details.... Everything is covered...anyone interested in stop-motion work will want t

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate sourcebook....almost 19 Nov 1999
By Madison Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
This HUGE (almost 850 pages) tome is the ultimate reference guide to the motion pictures that utilize the fine art of stop-motion photography. From the obvious (King Kong, Jason and The Argonauts) to the obscure (Winterbeast, Frostbiter), this covers them all. Almost. I did notice a few omissions, most notably the Lou Ferrigno HERCULES movies from the early 80's, both of which I believe employed this process. Also missing was Godzilla Vs. Destroyah, which used the process briefly, and Godzilla Vs. Biollante, which had test footage in this process (the book covers other films that stop-motion was only used as test footage for). It also misses a couple of movies that utilized footage from Planet of Dinosaurs (Galaxy of Dinosaurs and Time Tracers). But other than these minor gripes, the book is fascinating, full of great pictures of all the monsters you forgot about (remember the stop-motion creatures from Coneheads? Howard the Duck? Didn't think so. But you SHOULD.). A great buy at it's high price tag, and well worth every penny.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Animation Bible 6 Dec 2007
By C. Cervenka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding|Verified Purchase
There are reviews pointing out that this book missed a few films but what it does include makes it one of the most detailed book on stop motion animation films. I grew up on Harryhausen, Danforth and the like ( I am a director/producer and originally wanted to be a stop motion animator) so this book is not only informative but nostalgic. Great resource.
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive book on the subject so far 18 Oct 2007
By Richard Svensson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
Like the previous reviewer said; this book isn't complete, but it is full of incredibly obscure films. Pettigrew's research is scrupulous. He's interviewed all the concerned animators (the ones still alive) or people who knew them. So much is revealed about how tricks were accomplished and what materials were used. There's actually a lot to read about general film history, not just special effects history. One of the more impressive aspects is perhaps the fact that Pettigrew has waded through hours of pure crap in order to get to the stop-motion sequence to be reviewed. Some of the best animation in the world is contained within really, really bad movies. That's a heroic feat in itself. The only slight annoyance is Pettigrew's ratings of films and their special effects, which are very subjective. He constantly makes excuses for faults in his personal favourite films. Apart from that this will remain the ultimate book on stop-motion for quite a while, and is actually worth the hefty price tag. This book is a treasure-trove of information.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost an Essential Reference 26 Jan 2012
By J - Published on Amazon.com
At $75.00 I suspect the publisher intended this filmography as a reference book purchased mainly by libraries and serious film students. As such, the book is a failure. Don't get me wrong. When the author analyzes the stop-motion effects in each picture, he is detailed, objective, and often fascinating. This is the point of the book, and he should have just left it there. But he doesn't. The author insists on using an idiosyncratic rating system, treating each film to a review with all the subjective nonsense one encounters from Roger Ebert or Leonard Maltin. These ratings are often off-the-wall, especially considering their existence in a stop-motion filmography.

For example, a stop-motion masterpiece such as Ray Harryhausen's Clash of the Titans is given a 2 and a half star rating. Other films getting 2 and a half stars? Jaws 3-D, Class of Nuke 'Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown, Son of Blob, Subspecies III, Nightmare on Elm Street V, Killer Klowns from Outer Space...the list could go on. Films rated higher than Clash of the Titans? Joe's Apartment, Ewoks - The Battle for Endor, and Caveman (yes, the one with Ringo Starr). Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but this type of editorial silliness does not belong in a book priced as though it were an academic reference book.

Another strange quirk of the author is to accuse just about every movie released after 1977 of being a Star Wars rip-off. Sticking with Clash of the Titans, for example, he accuses Bubo, the mechanical owl, of being "clearly designed to cash in on the craze for cute robots inspired by R2D2." Elsewhere he says the owl's personality is "a blatant steal." It would never have occurred to me that Ray Harryhausen was ripping off R2-D2. Then again, it would never have occurred to me to give an Ewoks movie a 3-star rating.

As it stands, I cannot recommend this book. It should either do away with the film review format or it should be priced at $5.99 like a book by Leonard Maltin or Roger Ebert.
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