Fantastic Photo: War Eagles (1939)

Some of you more pronounced geeks might be aware that KING KONG producer, Merian Cooper, was going to oversee a massive Technicolor fantasy for MGM entitled WAR EAGLES, about an aviator discovering a valley of lost warriors, rampaging dinosaurs and giant eagles that would culminate in an aerial battle with zeppelins over New York. The special effects were to be done by maestro Willis O’Brien, who enlisted Marcel Delgado to help him build sets and models, resulting in a color test reel thought destroyed in the 1955 vault fire that burned up LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. A few stills survive and the memory of a dude named Harryhausen, who was present when the test was shot. One of the war eagle armatures recently sold at a Hollywood auction and there’s now a very cool in-depth book about the project’s history, including the original script by Cyril Hume (FORBIDDEN PLANET). We can only sigh at how awesome WAR EAGLES would have been under the tutelage of Cooper and O’Brien, but here’s an image to wet your stop-motion dreams.

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