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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!"
March 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!

The second 'Bulldog' Drummond film with Richard Johnson, 'Some Girls Do', is missing a lot of the swing
and finesse of 'Deadlier than the Male', but it still has some good vibrations. Cool, Baby.
The Special Effects were again supervised by the British master Kit West.
Since the film was filmed in Spain, Kit engaged his Spanish buddie Antonio Parra and his boys for the Effects work.
They all worked uncredited on 'Some Girls Do', 1968.
During a motorboat race our Hugh Drummond is attacked with tear gas grenades. These crazy chicks!
The special effects boys used self-built smoke grenades (mainly plastic canisters floating on/under the water).
In addition, the boys had pulse-jet Foggers to get some extra white smoke on the water ('tear gas').
Skipper Antonio Parra (without shirt) and his Special Effects crew on the way to the motorboat race.
The small boat is fully loaded with accessories for the 'Tear Gas' effects.
Including the pulse-jet Foggers. 
On the water, the wind conditions can change quickly. 
If the conditions are perfect, you need a high-output on cue.
And these machines are great for making lots of smoke in a very short amount of time.
The large volume of fog does come at a price, the pulse-jet Foggers are extremely loud.
Kit West: 'Used normally for fumigating fruit orchards, but with slightly sented smoke oil in them, 
they are marvelous for heavy smoke effects.' 

Juan Gelpí, the 'in-house' Cinematographer of Director Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi, shot some fancy scenes in
the 'Spaghetti Western' desert of Almeria (Spain) for the sixties Heist flick 'They came to rob Las Vegas'.
Here is a scene with a Helicopter flying through the Rambla Indalecio, 1968. Can you spot the Heli?
The well-chosen international cast, with Jack Palance, Lee J.Cobb, Gary Lockwood and eye candy Elke Sommer, 
enjoyed a good time in southern Spain. Jack maybe something more than others. Ha..Ha.
Antonio Barquero ('Alexander the Great'), the brother of Special Effects veteran Manuel Barquero, 
one of the first spanish Special Effects technicians with an own Shop, was responsible for the Effects work of the movie. 
Mainly explosions and bullet effects.
'They came to rob Las Vegas' - Overall a very solid, entertaining movie.
Comparison photo Rambla Indalecio, 2008.
A fantastic dried-out Canyon-like Rambla, that is also easy to reach.
Perfect conditions for suitable Genre Productions, like the numerous 'Spaghetti Western' that were shot here.
'The wildest Raid of All' in the Rambla Indalecio was filmed for the splendid US TV Series 'The Rat Patrol'.
'They came to rob Las Vegas', 1968.
A flight by helicopter through the Ramblas of the desert of Tabernas would also please me, 
but certainly not the sensitive nature.
Comparison photo Rambla Indalecio, 2008.
See more of Antonio Isasi here: Summertime Killer.

Your comments are always welcome!

The bizarre horror grotesque of Many Coto was released in Germany as high-priced 
2-Disc uncut limited edition mediabook with english audio. 
The blu-ray has a great quality, the package is nice, but the booklet is an uninspired shame.
The 'Extras', stuff like a trailer or some promotion photos, are also not exactly exciting.
At such a high selling price I can expect more!
There would have been so many possibilities, a pity.
The excellent FX work on 'Dr.Giggles' should be mentioned (for example).
The comical splatter FX of 'Dr.Giggles' were handled by the glorious K.N.B. EFX Group of 
Special Make-Up wizard Greg Nicotero.
Nicotero and his buddies, Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman started KNB Efx Group in 1988 and the group has 
provided eye-popping and jaw dropping special effects for a bunch of B-Movies and major Hollywood releases.
The three freaks supervised the effects work of 'Dr.Giggles' and they contributed a few screwy ideas.
'For extreme illnesses, extreme treatments are most fitting.'
'Dr.Giggles' is the show of actor Larry Drake ...and his toolbox.
He is splendid in the role of the psychopatic Doctor who returns to the old doctor's office of his dead father, 
for a few small operations without anesthesia. 
The movie was shot on location in Portland (Oregon, USA). 
Here we see the Set Construction crew at work on the wooden facade of the abandoned mansion / doctor's office.
The 'Giggles' mansion Set was removed, when the filming was complete.
The very talented make-up FX genius Greg Nicotero (K.N.B. EFX Group) started his phenomenal career as assistant of 
splatter guru Tom Savini ('Day of the Dead'). 
If you want to learn more about the KNB boys you should check out this: www.knbefx.com

'Tobruk' vs 'Raid on Rommel'. 
One might think that this is an ideal double show of two genre movies. 
Uhhh... what a double turkey. I'm too old for this shit.
'Tobruk' (1967) had the much bigger budget to play with, which was invested in some good looking visuals and 
a climactic miniature show at the end.
The 'Tobruk' Players (Rock Hudson, George Peppard,...) are almost all acting without any charisma. 
There are no real types, genuine originals, actors that can bring a special momentum into the movie.
The unemotional show of the players is foreseeable and fatiguing, without any surprising moment.
It's exhausting to see these fine-ironed shirts and well-maintained uniforms in clinically clean vehicles in the desert.
What is this supposed to be? A Stamps-Club on the way to a convention in Tobruk? 
At the end a little miniature fireworks and an embarrassing finale with Rock Hudson on the beach, friendly waving. 
'Raid on Rommel' (1971) is the soiled twin of 'Tobruk'.
The leading player, Richard Burton, is the right guy for the job.
He fits much better into the genre than Rock Hudson. 
With Danielle de Metz (playing a hooker) we could even enjoy a little B-Movie freshness in 'Raid on Rommel' for a few moments.
On the whole, however, this is not enough. Harmless stories and uninspired actors and directors in both turkeys.
All the effects shots in 'Raid on Rommel' are lifted out of 'Tobruk'. 
Sometimes the cuts are so late that you can spot Rock Hudson and George Peppard in 'Raid on Rommel'.
Two pale Genre contributions and their well-earned grades.
'Tobruk' 5/10, due to the properly FX work - 'Raid on Rommel' 4/10, out of pity.
Movie Scene 'Tobruk' / 'Raid on Rommel'.
The Oscar nominated Visual Effects of 'Tobruk' (???), painted mattes by Albert Whitlock and the miniature show of
Howard A. Anderson, are well done and slightly above average. 
This is one of the targets of the two travel groups. Rommel's fuel tanks.
The upper part is a Whitlock matte.
You might recognize the visible 'separation line' between the matte and the full-size location.
The flak battery on the left and right are both full-size I think.
Some of Al Whitlocks mattes are excellent others unimpressive.
These mattes are a cheap alternative to costly and elaborate location shots.
Of course I prefer the real thing, but sometimes a painting is the only chance to translate the story 
(if you have one!) into action.
Production Art of Rommel's fuel tanks. 
The bigger the better! Old model maker wisdom.
The bigger the miniature the more realistic the effect. 
Same for the pyro explosions, they look more believable if they are relatively large.
In 'Tobruk', the quite large model miniatures and pyrotechnics harmonize wonderfully. Great shots of a scaled down miniature pyro show.
All filmed with a highspeed camera, otherwise the show would be over so quickly, you would hardly have seen anything.
It's a tricky thing to link the scale of the miniature show to the frame-per-second rate of the highspeed camera. 
Miniature Supervisor Howard A. Anderson ('Jack the Giant Killer', 'Taras Bulba', 'Star Trek') and his boys managed this 
pretty cool. A nifty piece of work.
Large miniature Set of the Howard A. Anderson shop.
The most important fuel storage seems hardly guarded? 
I do not see a single soldier!
In a few scenes they matted some Soldiers into the miniature plates, which is not always really successful.
The models are simple, without many details. 
Scaled down explosions, black smoke and a good cinematography keep the scenes alive.
The Set was built on a fairly large scale and must have been quite impressive.
Movie Scene of a toy car in a fire on an unfavorable scale (flames).
'Tobruk' vs 'Raid on Rommel' - What a pity for the time spent.
Both Directors, Arthur Hiller (1923–2016) and Henry Hathaway (1898–1985), directed a bunch of much much better movies
than these two hollow peanuts.

Happy Birthday Sir Michael Caine!
On March 14 he celebrates his 84th birthday - Our fondest congratulations Captain Douglas!
His outstanding performance in the ingeniously cynical War Movie 'Play Dirty', directed by André De Toth, is brilliant cinema.
In the small harbour of Roquetas de Mar in southern Spain, the crew staged an extremely elaborate pan shot composition 
with a few ships painted on glass by the british matte artist Ray Caple.
A lot of planning had gone into the set-up of this pan shot across the harbour. 
Hundreds of extras and even more old oil barrels. 
Matte painter Ray Caple in an extra-built cabin to avoid sunlight on the thin glass pane. Roquetas de Mar, 1968.
On the glass pane you can see the painted upper parts of a few ships.
These small paintings will later be seen behind the real pier.
And if everything goes well you will without hesitation believe that the small works of art, 
positioned in the foreground of the camera, are real ships.
Did Ray shoot the scene?
The guy behind the camera looks like Kit West (Sp/Fx Supervisor) or is it chief camera man Alan McCabe?
Both are capable of shooting such a scene.
A great photo, you can clearly see the thin glass pane and the painted ships. Roquetas de Mar, 1968.
Special Effects Supervisor Kit West enjoys a little break during the prepartion of the pan/glass shot.
The big pier in the port of Roquetas de Mar, 1968, prepared for the glass shot.
To increase the realism of Ray Caples ships the Special Effects Crew of Kit West built two stoves with chimneys on the pier.
Kit: "Diesel Oil burnt for black smoke from tubes"
These 'smoking chimneys' merge perfectly with Ray Caples painted vessels. 
Smoke comes from the chimneys of the vessels. 
A brilliant shot and a perfect composition of all elements.
Special Effects Supervisor Kit West and Director André De Toth are ready to start the challenging shot.
With a signal gun Kit gives the starting signal for the over 100 extras.
The Making of 'Play Dirty' - Hundreds of photos and much more exclusively on:
www.kit-west-almeria.com

All PLAY DIRTY photos are property of www.kit-west-spfx.com (c).

After the fiasco with the Double Feature of the sleeping pills (Tobruk vs Raid on Rommel) I was really not in the mood for 
another exhausting show.
It was time for something more entertaining! 
Comedy expert Blake Edwards is the Director of the quite refreshing War movie 'What did you do in the War, Daddy?'.
The cast is excellent with great potential and a good feeling for comedy.
James Coburn, Sergio Fantoni, Dick Shawn, Aldo Ray and the nice-looking Giovanna Ralli are all with fun and convincing.
Sure, there are also some sloppy moments and bumpy scenes, but all in all the movie is a winner!
Not in the same league like 'La grande vadrouille', but a good show for smaller stages.
Henry Mancini orchestrated a rousing main title. What more do you want?
Good actors, good music, good fun. This makes viewers happy.
A crystal clear 6/10, almost 7/10.
On the photo above, DOP Philip H. Lathrop, Director Blake Edwards and James Coburn.
Not the biggest comedian, but a great performer.
Blake Edwards in the little Sicilian village 'Valerno'.
He did not want to leave the United States, so Mirisch Productions agreed to construct a village set in Lake Sherwood, 
California, less than 40 kilometers from Hollywood, for the tough sum of 800.000 bucks.
Production Designer Fernando Carrere (The Pink Panther, The Great Race) designed the Sicilian Village Set,
a pretty cool replica down to the minutest details.
The village set was built around a square with cobblestone pavement, complete with fountain and damaged houses.
A camp (tents, catering,..) was built around the Film Set, with everything you need to keep hundreds of Extras 
and the large speaking Cast happy.
Filming in 'Valerno' with very many Extras and an extensive crew.
It would have cost a fortune to bring this big Team to Italy, even with Italian Extras.
Was 'Valerno' demolished after the shooting? 
James Coburn and Dick Shawn discuss the scenes they have together.
Capt. Cash (Dick Shawn) is persuaded by easy-going Lt. Christian (James Coburn) to go along with the locals' wishes. 
Mistaking the big festival (boozy party) for an attack, Germans are hurrying to help their Italian friends. Cheers!
The American and Italian wine lovers from 'Valerno' know how to handle the new guests...
James Coburn talking with Director Blake Edwards, 1965.
The excellent Sergio Fantoni, the lovely Giovanna Ralli and the surprisingly good Aldo Ray! Lake Sherwood, 1965.
The Aldo lives ... and even moves! Who would have thought?
Great Players on set in 'Valerno', Giovanna Ralli and Sergio Fantoni.
Fantoni is really funny, a great comedic talent. 
Standing in behind, James Coburn and Director Blake Edwards.

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