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Sunken treasures await your re-discovery: Blog 2016
"I always keep my word, I'll send him right where he told me to go ...HELL!"
June 2017
This Blog will be offering a colorful kaleidoscope of movie magic for cinema aficionados.
Crispy peanuts, thin-skinned baloons and thrilling sensations on celluloid.
See offbeat goodies and magic crumbs ...weekly!
The Story behind the Spectacle!
No inflated endlessly long stories, but short and crisp. 
Photos beat content!

'Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round' (1966) is a crumbly little Heist flick directed by Bernard Girard (1918–1997), 
who concentrated mostly on television shows and episodes.
A short good moment here, one there, but Girard does not conjure up any appetizing cake.
Everything frizzles on a much too small flame. Where are fire and swing?
Not much atmosphere, no tension or suspense. A boring curd-cake.
Some interesting supporting Players around an uninspired James Coburn. 
The legendary master Aldo Ray, Robert Webber, Michael Strong and Hot Babes like Camilla Sparv or Nina Wayne (photo above).
Some cool sets and nice pictures from Cinematographer Lionel Lindon ('Grand Prix').
On the whole a confusing puzzle with too many parts.
Nothing wants to fit together. A clumsy and too slow show.
The Stu Phillips Score is one of the few better parts of the movie. 
Pretty disappointing! 
James Coburn lost in a confusing show.
His 'Flint' movies are much more entertaining than this tired robbery flick of the Sixties.
With the charm of a vacuum cleaner representative...
DOP Lionel Lindon is filming a scene for 'Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round'.
The best Supporting actor is a little dog!
Director Bernard Girard with James Coburn and Michael Strong.
Only a few convincing moments and lots of hot air.
'The slickest, swingin'est Con-Man who ever took the world for a Ride'.
Wow! The Promotion department is giving everything...!
What kind of herbage have they smoked?
On Set during a break, Camilla Sparv and James Coburn
The End offers a nice twist, but the long way to it is a bumpy ride.

'Genghis Khan' (1965) is a wonderful film of epic magnitude and spectacle brought to the screen by
Producer Irving Allen, Euan Lloyd, CCC Production (Artur Brauner) and the legendary Yugoslavian (Serbian) AVALA Film Production.
AVALA was responsible for several outstanding adventure films and because of their extensive stock and access to
old World War equipment a highly valued production company for War Movies ('Fräulein Doktor', 'Castle Keep', 'Kelly's Heroes').
Henry Levin (1909–1980) was the Director of the colorful, exciting and compelling Epic.
The great Omar Sharif headed the cast as Genghis Khan with a first-rate performance.
There was also Stephen Boyd as Jamuga, the feared opponent and deadly enemy of Khan.
Telly Savalas and Woody Strode are both fine. Same with Françoise Dorléac, Eli Wallach and James Mason.
Some say that James Mason was totally miscast. In my eyes he is brilliant!
His charming character reminds me somehow of the great Karl May films by Artur Brauner.
Robert Morley is the weak spot among the Players. Surely a great actor, but never The Emperor Of China.
The pretty well staged battle scenes of Stunt Supervisor Bob Simmons (1922–1987), with lots of Extras fighting on Yugoslavian plains, 
could have been more powerful and dynamic, with much more horses and battle turmoil.
But forget about such small flaws, 'Genghis Khan' is a splendid piece of screen entertainment.
The Peking Set on the backlot of AVALA Studios, built by the AVALA Construction Crew. 
The British Art Director Maurice Carter ('Fathom', 'Battle of Britain') was the supervising Art Director.
He was responsible for the Sets designed by Antonio Sarzi-Braga ('Jason and the Argonauts') and the 
Serbian Production Designer Zoran Zorcic ('The Long Ships').
The excellent Peking Set on different Lobby Cards with lots of Extras.
Peking in Yugoslavia - Avala Films.
German Lobby Card showing the Peking Set. 
We only see it from the inside so it surely was not three-dimensional like the gigantic Sets that Samuel Bronston built
for his splendid epics ('Fall of the Roman Empire',...).
The Producers managed to show us some production values on the screen (Peking Set), but the budget was not 
big enough to rebuilt parts of The Great Wall of China full-size.
That was a job for the matte painting artist Gerald Larn who did the fine matte of The Great Wall of China (Screenshot).
But the shadows on the Great Wall look strange ...!?
The Special 'Mongolian' Effects were handled by the veterans Bill and David Warrington.
Thanks to the Special Effects boys we experience the invention of black powder and the use of first bombs. 
Colorful and loud!
Filming a Scene with Genghis Khan (Omar Sharif). Stephen Boyd is standing on the left.
Director Henry Levin is supervising the test run while sitting in his chair.
Kodak 35mm Transparency.
DOP Geoffrey Unsworth filmed some scenes of great splendour.
The vastness of the Mongolian Steppe ...in Yugoslavia.
Kodak 35mm Transparency.
James Mason during a break in filming 'Genghis Khan'. I love his charming play. A cunning but witty character.
The role of Khan was offered to Yul Brynner ('Taras Bulba'), but he tightened the arch too hard with his astronomical fee.
I'm grateful for that - Omar Sharif is great and perfect as Genghis Khan.

Your comments are always welcome!

The costly and lavish Golden Barge of 'Cleopatra' and the Ships for the naval engagement at Actium 
were constructed in the small seaport of Anzio (Italy).
Unemployed craftsmen became rich overnight simply by charging excessive prices. Gold Rush mood!
The waste of money on Cleopatra was tremendous.
The shipyard of 'Cleopatra' - The Golden Barge is ready to slip.
Hundreds of shipbuilders worked for 'Cleo' in the small port. 
The city was completely overcrowded with the film crew, workers ...and lots of tourists and press people.
The 200-foot Golden Barge of 'Cleopatra' alone has cost about $2 million in today's dollars. 
It was rigged with insanely expensive golden ropes, luxurious extras and purple sails (nylon).
Launching of the Golden Barge in the seaport of Anzio. A celebrated event with many spectators.
The finished barge was then towed to the island of Ischia (Italy).
The Sea battle sequences and the arrival of Cleo's Barge was filmed around of Ischia during the summer of 1962, 
at the height of the tourist season.
The housing situation for the crew was difficult. 
All the heavy equipment (lights, generators, Todd-AO cameras,..) had to be brought to the island by boats, 
which were often not available.
Filming around of Ischia with lots of big lights on the sea.
Close view of the Scene. On the ponton next to the Ship you can spot a truck.
This is the energy source for the powerful lights and equipment.
Inside of the 'Bauscher' truck is a big power supply, a portable watercooled diesel generator, of the german 
company Bauscher. A great durable device!
See the mobile Bauscher generator in 'Fall of the Roman Empire' here: 'Chariot Race'. 
Bauscher, The ultimate power supply for large-scale movie Epics of quality and scope.
Look at the crowded ships, people everywhere.
Technicians, make-up people, costume crew, ...filming an Epic on an ancient ship is not an easy operation.
Sometimes it was difficult to keep the tourist boats away.
The Golden Barge of Cleopatra. Quite a tourist attraction for Ischia!
Many small boats circled the Barge like flies.
Business-minded fishermen offered tours (for tourists and press) to the Barge with their old fishing boats.
You will find more rare behind the scenes 'Cleo' stories on my website.
A story about the 'Fiasco in London': Alexandria - Pinewood Studios.
Another one about the dancing girls of dance director Hermes Pan rehearsing the big procession scene: Snake Dancers.
More to come! 

A key 'Set' piece in 'Universal Soldier' is the futuristic mobile command center Truck.
A remodeled Kenworth K100 with a powerful upgrade package.
The rolling laboratory was built with plenty of foam and fiberglass. 
The trailer has a hydraulic system (tubes) to move out the whole side wall and no space for  Frankenstein's lab. 
All 'inside' laboratory shots were filmed in a Studio Set.
Look here for a first impression: The Making of Universal Soldier.
Might do a story bout this nice set some day?
Work on the outer covering of the semitrailer (a cooler?).
Universal Soldier - Kenworth K100 SuperSpecial.
Stunt Coordinator and second unit director (Action Scenes) Vic Armstrong is checking out the finished truck.
Vic, the guy in the beige shirt looking under the truck, shot some great Action Scenes with the surprisingly mobile monster.