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Sunken treasures await your re-discovery: Blog 2016
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
This Blog will be offering a colorful kaleidoscope of movie magic for cinema aficionados.
Crispy peanuts, colorful baloons and thrilling sensations on celluloid.
See offbeat goodies and magic crumbs ...weekly!
Photos beat content! Always!

The big fighting scenes on Arrakis, with a bunch of extras, were filmed under difficult conditions on the hot sand-swept plains 
of the Samalayuca desert, outside of Juarez (Mexico).
All the 'survivors' of the desert shooting had horror stories to tell, tales of nearly being choked by thick black smoke 
and blasted by sandstorms. 
Perhaps here and there a bit too exaggerated and imaginative ...We'll see!
To create the black smoke for the chaos of warfare the crew used burning car tires.
The tires were piled up to long walls, hidden out of camera range.
Previously, the desert was carefully combed by over a hundred props men to remove snakes and scorpions.
The tires were ingnited and the dirty tire fire releases a dark, thick smoke. 
Such fires produce much smoke, which carries toxic chemicals from the breakdown of synthetic rubber compounds while burning.
A wild toxic soup of pollutants.
Look at this! It is certainly no longer possible to do such hazardous (health, environment) shooting today.
Hundreds of different toxic pollutants are created by burning tires as well as a tremendous number of small 
particles that settle deep in the lungs.
The fire releases a dark, thick smoke that contains cyanide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and products of butadiene and styrene. 
Burning tires are heated, and, as they have a low thermal conductivity, they are difficult to cool down. 
Moreover, they frequently burn inside even if they are extinguished from outside, and easily reignite when hot.
The extras, many of them soldiers of the Mexican Army, and Stuntmen are wearing black heavy rubber suits and weapons in the 
burning sun of the desert, much too often surrounded by toxic black smoke.
This is the Hell of Samalayuca!
You can see a soldier flying through the air on the photo. 
This is a trained stuntman catapulted in the air by a special mechanism: AIR RAM.
Assistant Director José López Rodero (white hat) has great trouble with the smoke clouds.
He is the conductor, but his orchestra follows his own rules.
Well, the orchestration of smoke clouds is a tricky thing in a windy desert.
Also with the help of some wind machines, they are difficult to maneuver outside of a studio.
The crew often waited for hours for the smoke to flow properly.
On the left in the photo, Patrick Stewart (Gurney) and Kyle MacLachlan (Paul Atreides).
The two look completely exhausted.
On the right you see 'Kuki'  (José
López Rodero) talking with DOP Freddie Francis about the uncontrollable smoke clouds. 
Director David Lynch (yellow cap) looks quite relaxed, even though a little black around the nose!
Physical Effects Supervisor Kit West (1936-2016): 'You may wonder why my face is so black, in the photo with David Lynch,
it is because it was taken after shooting a battle scene, where we
use burning car tyres to create the black smoke. 
With the health and safety people, we would not be allowed to do that these days, although it was in Mexico.'
A great photo, unfortunately a little damaged.

'Three Graves for a Winchester' is an ill-mounted, cheesy Spaghetti Western under the amateurish direction of Emimmo Salvi (1926–1989). 
Not only is the movie dull, it lacks any sense of style. But there is a little flower in the dreary prairie, Milla Sannoner.
Milla shows how fast on the draw she is while on location in the Western Town of the Incir de Paolis Studios.
The actress Milla Sannoner (1942–2003) played in several B-Movies, low budget productions and TV series.
She was 'Ginette' in Cesare Canevari's 'A Man for Emmanuelle' (1969) and played in 3 episodes of Sergio Sollima's famous 
TV Mini-Series 'Sandokan' (1976).
Her two Spaghetti Western adventures, 'Massacre at Canyon Grande' (1964) and 'Three Graves for a Winchester' (1966) 
are located at the very bottom of the ladder. She did not fall and went bravely on her way.
See more of the Western Town of the Incir de Paolis Studios here: Kitty Swan.

A wonderful old-fashioned film directed by Billy Wilder ('Some Like It Hot').
Robert Stephens is a brilliant Sherlock Holmes , Colin Blakely a great Dr.Watson.
Christopher Lee, Clive Revill and the beautiful Genevičve Page as german spy, are among the excellent cast.
The movie was originally intended to run over three hours, but was drastically shortened before release.
One notices the massive cuts in the somewhat bumpy and fragmented course of the story.
Even the Special Effects crew of Cliff Richardson and Wally Veevers lost a good deal of their effects by 
the time the final version was ready.
Unfortunately we never saw the forty-five feet long ocean liner model of Wally Veevers in action on the real sea.
But some great handmade effects are still to be admired in the film.
An almost invisible effect that probably escapes the attention of most viewers is the falling ashes in the scene with the cigar.
Special Effects genius Cliff Richardson worked long hours to arrange this trick.
Towards the end a true glorious highlight, Sherlock Holmes visits Loch Ness.
And of course, the special effects boys have built something suitable for the famous Loch Ness 'monster fever'.
A light-hearted Holmes not only for Sherlockian enthusiasts.
I would love to see a reconstructed version of the movie with all the lost footage (if available somewhere).
The prop crew and effects technician under the supervision of Wally Veevers built a great lookin' full-size Loch Ness monster.
The idea was to build 'Nessie', with humps and long neck, to fit on top of a small two-man submarine.
The whole kit should then be filmed in the real Loch Ness, but that did not work at all and 
'Nessie 1' has sunk to the bottom of the lake.
What went wrong?
Well, for a much too long time the 'Nessie' crew had no relevant specifications of the sub, supplied by Vickers.
The mini-sub came from Canada and had not been built to carry out external loads (the 'Nessie' prop!).
Close to impossible to bring both, 'Nessie' and the sub, together. And the monster should swim and move!
Director Billy Wilder did not like the humps and they were removed. 
That has changed the swimming behavior of the monster/sub kit.
Wally Veevers experimented with pontoons to support the monster if necessary.
But that did not help in the end, 'Nessie 1' sank to the bottom during a test run.
'Nessie' had a moving neck and a moving head, driven by compressed air. On cue, steam came out of her mouth.
All the work and effort, submerged in seconds.
The above screenshot shows a movie scene filmed in the MGM British Studios with the new monster, 'Nessie 2'.
Genevičve Page, Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely in a rowing-boat on Loch Ness.
After the fiasco with the life-size 'Nessie' prop and unfavorable weather conditions on the real Loch Ness, 
the crew decided to film the scenes in the safe setting of the MGM British Studios in Borehamwood.
So this is not Loch Ness, its a Pinewood pool, 1969.
In the spring of 2016 there was a sensational news in the press. A marine robot for submersible investigations spotted 'Nessie'!?
The Munin AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle), operated by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime 
to investigate what lies in the depths of Loch Ness, located the long lost 'Nessie' prop of 'The Private life of Sherlock Holmes' 
near Castle Urquhart in the 755ft deep water. Wow!
Munin is carrying a multi-beam sonar with no less than 400 beams and flying close to objects of interest, 
very high resolution images are obtainable.
Sonar image of the 'Nessie' prop of Wally Veevers. One can clearly see the long neck of 'Nessie'.
Colin Blakely (left) and Director Billy Wilder watch as 'Nessie' is prepared for the next scene.
'Nessie' was built out of wire mesh covered with a plastic crocodile skin.
The new studio 'Nessie', just a long neck and the head, moved on a track. 
What a pity that they did not manage it on the real Loch Ness. 
Despite all the problems, the studio scenes are successful and convince by a good atmophere. 

Your comments are always welcome!

Parts of 'The Son of Captain Blood' (1962) crew attended the San Sebastian Film Festival in 1962.
I could not find any information that the film was shown there. However, promotion for the movie was certainly made.
In the context of the Festival, Sean Flynn and Fernando Sancho visited a bullring in a small practice arena near San Sebastian. 
Actor & Director Robert Hossein, a member of the jury of the Festival, was also sighted in the enthusiastic little audience.
The crowd wanted to see Sean Flynn and he was courageous enough to try it out.
Sean Flynn the bullfighter. 
Fernando Sancho has a few last tips before going to the arena.
Eye to eye with the young bull, known as 'El Loco' in the great Arenas of Spain.
Sean is well prepared and not bad at all as 'Matador'. But even such a young bull already has proper horns.
Just do not become cocky! Otherwise, the little one gets angry...
At first everything looked quite good, but then the tide turns...
The young bull no longer wants to play a Hollywood show.
The bull throws Sean in the dust and pokes him with his horns. Oh, that hurts!
Doc Sancho examines the bloody scratch. After just two rounds, everything was over.
Winner by Knockout, the young bull 'El Loco'.
San Sebastian, 1962.

Special Effects Supervisor Kit West had only the best memories of the shooting of the two 'Bulldog Drummond' movies in the Sixties,
'Deadlier than the Male' and 'Some Girls Do'.
During our conversation about 'Deadlier than the Male' he told me that he very much enjoyed the summer in Lerici, Italy.
Look at the photo of actress Elke Sommer and Sylvia Koscina and you can understand why.
Kit was responsible for the dangerous toys for the two hot looking bikini clad killers.
In this case, he prepared Spearguns for the girls.
The film offered him a whole range of tasks. 
Mechanical gadgetry (a giant chess game), unusual weapons (shooting cigars), wild explosions and various great old school effects.
Sadly, Kit West died in April 2016 before we went into detail. 
He would certainly have answered my many questions with pleasure, great patience and expertise.
Two pretty girls get out of the water, just clothed with a bikini and a speargun. Deadlier than the male.
Mr.Wyngarde (John Stone) sees his dreams come true...
Bang! The Dream is over.
Penelope (Sylvia Koscina): 'Oh, poor Mr.Wyngarde.' 
Director Ralph Thomas (1915–2001) speaks with Elke Sommer and Sylvia Koscina (1933–1994). 
On Location somewhere between Lerici and San Terenzo, Italy, 1966.
Elke exercises the movements with the Speargun. Kit West (1936–2016), standing on the right, is preparing the weapon for Sylvia.
Kit had a british team of Sp/Fx boys on 'Deadlier than the Male'. Garth Inns, Wally Armitage and Jimmy Ward.
For the filming of 'Some Girls Do' in Spain (Cap Sa Sal Hotel) he was happy to work with his old spanish buddy 
Antonio Parra and his crew again.
Director Ralph Thomas, Elke Sommer, Sylvia Koscina and Kit West (Sp/Fx).
What happens when I press here? Accidents!
Holiday in Paradise! Lerici was the main location for 'Deadlier than the Male'.
For the explosion of an office in a skyscraper Special Effects maestro Kit West used a very effective innovation of his old
mentor Les Bowie (1913–1979), the doyen of British special effects.
The credo of Les Bowie was to keep the effects work simple. 
He used large photographs with an explosive squib attached to the back of it for such an explosion.
Possibly, Les was involved in the film for this particular effect!?
The explosion of the building in 'Deadlier than the Male' was done by blowing up a four feet tall photograph.
A quite suitable scene of an exploding skyscraper, achieved without using an actual building or a miniature.
On this screenshot of the scene you may recognize the two-dimensional character of the building (photo). 
Due to the well-made explosion, however, this is hardly noticeable while you enjoy the film.
A cheap and simple technique that is not immediately obvious.
It's all a matter of clever editing so that the scene seems credible.
If you wait too long, you're lost.
The scene with the explosion of the Boeing aircraft, for example, does not work credibly.
You can clearly see that they filmed the detonation of a squib separately, instead of a real model miniature explosion.
The fast cut does not really save the scene.
Maybe the whole budget was already spent on the huge robotic chess game at the Pinewood Studios.
What an elegant set! You want to see this?, no problem: Pinewood Chess.
Elke (Irma Eckman) on a Safari in London!
The pistol shoots small arrows, with a special poison, that paralyzes all men.
Director Ralph Thomas tries out the 'paralyzing gun'. One of the weapons used in London location scenes.
Assistant Director Simon Relph (1940–2016) watches the strange activity.
'Deadlier than the Male' is a stylish and relaxed spy flick of the Sixties!
A swinging adventure with cool sets and effects work, hot babes (Kitty Swan!), tailored suits (Richard Johnson, Nigel Green) 
and roughnecks (Milton Reid).
A pretty convincing entertainment package! 
Available on blu ray.

Marie Gomez and Lee van Cleef enjoy a break during the shooting of 'Barquero'.
An unenterprising little Western directed by veteran Gordon Douglas.
Compared to the other Western movies of director Douglas, this is only a routine affair with the epic grandeur of a TV production.
The skilled director can do it better ('Yellowstone Kelly', 'Gold of the Seven Saints').
Nevertheless, 'Barquero' is of solid craftsmanship, quite competently staged and played, but the show suffers from 
looking too calculated. 
The Director and his camera (Gerald Perry Finnerman) often seem a little helpless with their manageable stage design.
There is a deep deep lack of surprising ideas, inspiration and a few grim rapids.
Lee van Cleef is suitably wooden as the owner of a barge. 
Richly oiled he shines in the sun like a Bratwurst. 
Warren Oates gives his usual competent performance as the crazed lead.
In a slapstick scene, Oates and his cronies paddle over the pond in self-made boats to capture the ferry???
The wild shooting from short distance is also awesome. Best 'Police Squad' style. Too bad, no one throws with his colt!
Many critics and DVD producers are trying everything to make a hit out of this banana.
But one can not press orange juice from a banana. Many have tried it!
The film is disappointingly mediocre, a stinker!
A lot more could have been made of it.
Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray of 'Barquero' has a good quality.  That's it.
Well, there is this one little known story about the genesis of the film, which is almost more interesting than the film itself:
Producer Hal Klein actually wanted to shoot 'Barquero' in Spain, with Yul Brynner in the lead role!
Almost 2 years before they started to shoot 'Barquero' at the Brush Hollow Reservoir in Colorado (USA),
Producer Hal Klein landed at the Airport of Madrid, Barajas, to explore the possibilities to shoot a big Western movie
in Spain with Yul Brynner in the lead: 'BARQUERO'!
Hal Klein contacted the spanish Production Manager Eduardo Garcia Maroto and asked him for help.
Maroto (1903–1989) was very experienced with international productions ('Pride & Passion','Von Ryans Express','Villa Rides','Patton').
The script was immediately translated into Spanish, first contacts were made to get the required filming permits.
Eduardo Garcia Maroto and Hal Klein were traveling all over Spain to find a suitable river location.
The guys made hundreds of photos of wide parts of the rivers Tajo, Guadiana, Duero, Ebro and Guadalquivir.
Hal Klein flew back to Hollywood with a very detailed documentation in the case.
However, the production of 'Barquero' was repeatedly postponed, Yul Brynner was not available, ...!
And in the end the movie was filmed in Colorado, USA.
(Eduardo Garcia Maroto: Aventuras y Desventuras del Cine Espańol)
On the photo above:
Director Gordon Douglas, with 'Barquero' crew cap, having fun with the great Marie Gomez on location near the 
Brush Hollow Reservoir.
Marie Gomez is a feast for the eyes. She is gorgeous in Western movies. 
Her roles in the genre are small but of a great charisma ('Rio Conchos', 'The Professionals').
Mariette Hartley, beautiful, but ineffective.

This elaborate 'Stargate' sandstorm shot was assembled by the Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company, 
under the direction of Jeffrey A. Okun, the supervisor for the visual and digital effects of the show.
A composition of studio live-action elements and digital matte painting wizardry.
Live-action - Element 1
Studio shot of the boys, who bring along the feeding troughs for the Mastadges.
Live-action - Element 2/3
Shot of a Mastadge on stage. There is a second one in the scene (Element 3). 
Creature effects supervisor Patrick Tatopoulos is the 'freak' behind the great concept and contruction of the
'camelcow' creature. 
He built a mechanical creature suit, equipped with radio-controlled elements for the head (movable eyes, mouth, tongue,..), 
and put that thing on a real horse, a big Clydesdale horse. 
A small stunt rider, hidden under the costume, was riding the Clydesdale, while a team of puppeteers controls the 
head of the 'camelcow'. A brilliant concept!
The Tatopoulos shop, under the supervision of creature make up expert Stuart Artingstall, built several Mastadge suits.
For example a very detailed one for close-ups of the head/front, without hind legs.
For this 'Sandstorm' shot the boys used a simple 'background' suit without mechanics or radio-controlled functions.
For more informations about the movie and Director Roland Emmerich you should take a walk through your Stargate 
for a trip back into the year 2016, or take a look here:
More to come.