Ray Harryhausen’s “War of the Worlds” Test Footage (1949)

Ray Harryhausen - War of the Worlds
I’m a big fan of George Pal’s ‘War of the Worlds’ film from back in 1953 but after having found this clip of stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen showing the test footage of his own unrealized feature film from 1949 I’m torn. Harryhausen’s version of the film looks like it would have stuck to the Martian Tripod aspect as in the original H.G. Wells story whereas the Pal version features flying Martian vehicles.
War of the Worlds - George Pal
According to the The Art of Ray Harryhausen the animator had begun working on the idea of a War of the Worlds film early in 1942 and was influenced by the Orson Welles Radio broadcast on October 30, 1938. Harryhausen would have moved the location of the film from England to America, basing the events of the film around the New York area. The main character would have been a newspaper reporter named Randy Jordan who would follow Professor Pierson and bear witness to the destruction of such landmarks as the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge by the Martian Invaders.
[Via] McTodd Rides Again


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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5 thoughts on “Ray Harryhausen’s “War of the Worlds” Test Footage (1949)

  1. Oh great – spoiler alert! The martians died from disease? Thanks a lot Vic I hadn’t seen that one yet! :)

    Cool find – thanks for sharing it. The original War of the Worlds is one of my favorite classic Sci-Fi flicks. The more recent remake was pretty good too.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous animation by the master (not to mention those stunning concept illustrations)! If only this had come to fruition…

  3. @Patrick J. Doody Absolutely!
    @MadPlanet Arrrgh! I should have thought about that spoiler tag, my friend! ;)
    @Daniel XIII We can rank this up there with the Merian C. Cooper ‘War Eagles’ theatrical film!

  4. Spotted Feather says:

    I always find it funny that Harryhausen only has one face for every one of his monsters. This is the Kraken’s face, as well as the 20 Million Miles To Earth face.

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