January February March April May June
July August September October November December
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!"
October 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 Reality behind the Fantasy!
No inflated endlessly long stories, but short and crisp. 
'This is Helmet time!'
Photos beat content!

'Land of the Giants' is a charming veritable cult TV show created by Irwin Allen (photo), 
the King of television screen Sci-Fi (Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea).
The show has even today a still rousing visual look with lots of genuine giant-sized props, endearing optical effects 
and the wonderful set decoration of Walter M. Scott.
This is an excellent handmade 'small screen' spectacle!
The production costs of a single episode were 'gigantic' (no CGI available!).
The special optical effects needed to matte the little people into the giant world cost a fortune. 
All the giant props had to be physically built. 
In order to save costs, the expensive props were usually used several times.
But that did not help in the end, the wonderful series was stopped after the 2nd season.
Cancelled for cost reasons.
But now it is about time for ... the return of 'The Mechanical Hand'! Aaarrrrrggggghhhhh.... Help!
My favorite 'Land of the Giants' prop is, beyond question, the mechanical hand.
A groovy giant-sized cheap looking rubber prop with limited maneuverability.
The 'mechanical effects' of the prop, built by Gerald Endler (?), are only rudimentary. 
The whole thing was rotatable and it was possible to open and close the hand.
Due to the immense production costs they only had this one paw.
But sometimes you can see more than just the hand. An arm hangs on the hand!
They built some kind of long half tube (arm) around the mechanics and covered it with cloth (coat of the giant).
The guy who operated the mechanics (Endler?) then stuck in the tube (arm).
The hand was used regardless of gender or age of the giant!
A little color and a few hair didn't help much ... the hand was some kind of 'running gag'.
The giant-sized mechanical hand prop - 20th Century Fox Studios, 1967.
Attack of the 'Mechanical Hand' in 'The Weird World' (left) episode and in 'The Bounty Hunter' (right)...and so many more!
'Land of the Giants' was shot on Stage 21, 20th Century Fox Studios.
Actor Stefan Arngrim is sitting in the hand for a ride through the studio lot, 1967.
These are very rare Kodak 35mm transparencies, maybe never published before!
What a great shot! Barry and The Hand!
As sophisticated Sci-Fi buff with sharp eyes you see things that many overlook...
There is a spaceship (and more!) in the background on this shot.
It's the Liberty 1, nicknamed the Icarus, of 'Planet of the Apes' (1967). 
The large full-scale model of the spacecraft stands outside of a Stage in the shadow.
It was later anchored at Lake Powell National Park near Page, Arizona, for the filming.
The Icarus was designed by Bill Creber, production designer on Planet of the Apes, 
and Holdereed Maxy, set designer on the film.
'Land of the Giants' - Visual effects storyboard sketch.
The visual effects of the show (split screen opticals/blue screen/composite matte/..) are very well done. 
Here and there a little raw but all in all a great performance of the visual effects department.
A team of veterans handled the effects work, L.B. Abbott, Art Cruickshank (all episodes) and Emil Kosa Jr. (17 episodes).
The special photographic effects in close connection with the ‘up high’ camera angles are 
quite enthralling, even decades later.
It's great when the viewer becomes one of the little people.
'Land of the Giants' is a stunning 60s show!

The famous french actor Bourvil (1917–1970) in a scene of the Cold War spy thriller 'The Dirty Game', 1965.
The french Director Christian-Jaque (1904–1994) was in charge of the 'Djibouti' episode.
Here we see him fixing the sun protection cap of Bourvil.
Other directors of the show are Werner Klingler, Carlo Lizziani and Terence Young.
Wow, four chef cooks one soup ...but a rousing recipe is missing a bit.
See more of the movie here: Spear Gun.
'The Dirty Game' wasn't a winner, but it's a respectable little Cold War adventure with quite a bunch of familiar faces.
The greatest popular successes of Bourvil are mainly movies under the direction of Gérard Oury.
Check out this: 'La grande Vadrouille'.
The next project for Director Christian-Jaque (right) was a slow paced drama with Michèle Mercier (left) and Robert Hossein,
the legendary couple of the 'Angelique' movies.
'La seconde vérité' (1966) shows a young Michèle Mercier with short blonde hair and stylish costumes.
However, the film has little style and is much too clean and uninspired.
German Lobby Card of 'La seconde vérité'.

Your comments are always welcome!
Trust me, I know what I'm doing. Sometimes.

'It started with a Kiss' (1959), released in the Warner Archive Collection, is a gratifyingly silly romantic comedy 
with a glamorous plot-promoting car, beautiful locations and Showgirl Debbie Reynolds (1932–2016).
Director George Marshall (1891–1975) plays quite skillfully with his possibilities.
That was the best he could do with this fairly flat story.
The real star of the movie is the car anyway! This is a Lincoln Futura promotion video...
Nothing special, but quite nice. 
Glenn Ford (1916–2006), Debbie Reynolds and the lustrous, low-silhouetted, double-bubble top vision concept car,
the fabulous rocket-age styling Lincoln Futura on location in southern Spain.
An experimental 2-door coupé designed by Ford's lead stylists Bill Schmidt and John Najjar 
and hand-built by Ghia in Turin, Italy, at a cost of $250,000 (equivalent to $2,200,000 in 2017).
Filming a scene with the red Lincoln Futura near the Puerta de Hierro, a monument of the second half of the eighteenth century, 
located in the northwest of the Spanish capital city of Madrid.
The Lincoln concept car caused such an excitement in the streets of Madrid during the filming of the movie,
that Producer Aaron Rosenberg had to hire the Guardia Civil (Police) to handle the crowd.
The red rocket was a traffic-stopper!
A postcard showing the Puerta de Hierro at its original place. 
The white arrow marks the road where they filmed the scenes with the Lincoln Futura in 1959.
A few years later the Puerta got a new place nearby to make room for bigger streets.
Director George E. Marshall (on the left, white cap) filming a scene with the futuristic Lincoln Futura - Puerta de Hierro.
George E. Marshall was an American actor, screenwriter, producer, film and television director, active through the first 
six decades of movie history.
He was involved in many productions, but relatively few of Marshall's films are well-known today. 
Marshall turned out three superior vehicles for Glenn Ford. 
Two western films ('The Sheepman' and 'Advance to the Rear') and a comedy ('The Gazebo').
For his contribution to the film industry, George Marshall has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7048 Hollywood Boulevard.
The filming was much easier a little outside of Madrid and on the journey through Spain.
We get to see some very nice places, like Granada (Alhambra) or Segovia (Alcazar, Aqueduct).
The Lincoln Futura found fame a few years later as TV's Batmobile.
The magic car of the Dynamic Duo, Batman and Robin.

The vigorous Viking adventure 'The 13th Warrior' is based on award-winning author Michael Crichton's best-selling 
novel 'Eaters of the Dead'.
Director John McTiernan (photo) brought together a group of big and tall actors to play the Norsemen ...and Antonio Banderas.
Antonio Banderas: 'It was like I was working with the L.A. Lakers'.
The great cinematography of Peter Menzies Jr., the 'untouched' nature with spectacular scenery and vistas, 
the phenomenal Art Direction, the Production Design, fabulous costumes and props, 
this is best entertainment on all levels.
Designer of the awesome costumes Kate Harrington: 'Every costume in this film was handmade. 
Every single piece was started with cloth that would have been available in that time period, 
and then sewn together by our team. Nothing was purchased from a costume house.
All the fabrics were dyed and hand sewn. We even had people making our own chain-mail armor, 
the flexible armor made of joined metal rings.
It took 3 days just to make the front panel of Antonio's armor (see above left), and it was done with the same technique 
used a thousand years ago. 
The shoes the warriors wore were also made by a cobbler in the authentic style of the times.'
The scope of the film is amazing. A terrific Norsemen epic.
Available on blu-ray.
Vladimir Kulich (Buliwyf), Director John McTiernan ('Predator') and Antonio Banderas (Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan) on set 
for 'The 13th Warrior'.
In order to portray skilled warriors, the actors worked together for four solid weeks of training in swordsmanship 
and horseback riding, learning to handle and work with the significantly larger than normal horses McTiernan chose 
for the warriors to ride (English Shire horses!).
Filming a scene with Antonio Banderas.
Production Designer Wolf Kroeger had to design almost every building on the site to work as an interior and exterior set 
and not simply as a facade of scenery.
The construction of the 'Great Hall' of King Hrothgar (Sven Wollter) took 13 weeks of work by over 200 carpenters to complete. 
Towering 47 feet in the air and encompassing 12.000 square feet of interior space on the ground floor alone, 
the hall is also surrounded by numerous village dwellings.
'We even created our own sawmill in addition to having two others that we had contracted to provide us with custom work', 
explains contruction coordinator Doug Hardwick. 'We needed very wide planks with the bark still on them, 
and that is not standard supply at the local lumber yard.
In total, and just for the 'Great Hall', we used over 500 tons of wood for set construction, about 560.000 board feet'.
(Official 'The 13th Warrior' pressbook)
The deeper you go in the forest, the more things there are to eat your horse.
Novelist and producer Michael Crichton ('Congo') on set with Dennis Storhoi (Herger the Joyous).
Director John McTiernan: 'For some of the largest scenes, we had 200 attacking horsemen.'
And they all had to look dirty. A job for make-up designer Jeff Dawn.
The make-up crew dirtied everyone up, with products like 'Clean-Dirt', and goofed up their hair for the big crowd scenes.
'The 13th Warrior' - Viking Vessel on the Fraser River near Williams Lake (British Columbia).
Producer Ned Dowd on the vessels: 'We eventually built a 95-foot ocean-going vessel, a 95-foot river boat which had a 
much smaller draw in terms of where the boat could operate, as well as a 65-foot smaller boat.
They were all built to scale in terms of the ships of that period and with 18 oars on each side.
We had a champagne bottle launch for them when they went into the water, and it was quite an impressive sight to see.'
Construction coordinator Doug Hardwick: 'I have never built anything in the way of scenery that came close to what 
it felt like to be on those ships. It was a delight.
We built them to the specifications from one thousand years ago and so we really had recreated a piece of technology, 
because all a boat really is, is a shape.
They had the same shape and the same weight and they handled beautifully.
It was hard at first to convince some people that they were stable. 
But my philosophy was, if the Norsemen had sailed them across the Atlantic, they had to have had a pretty 
good design to begin with.' 
(Infos out of the official 'The 13th Warrior' press releases)

Two 'Spaghetti Western' photos out of my box with photos without any informations about the movie title on the back.
The king size Silver Gelantin photos (14") were taken by the Italian Photographer Franco Pinna (1925 - 1978),
one of Italy's foremost exponents of Neo-Realism.
Franco Pinna was the official 'on Set' photographer for Federico Fellini and accompanied his films,
but he wasn't a regular on Spaghetti Western Sets.
These 'grim toned' shots here surprise me a bit. 
Press Shots for 'Sugar Colt'? 
It is Jack Betts (Hunt Powers) on the photos and he is wearing his 'Sugar Colt' costume.
Who is the unhappy girl?
Was the Scott Bank a 'Sugar Colt' set?
Were the photos published somewhere?
Update, October 4.
I got in a mail from Michael letting me know that the 'Scott Bank' is an Elios Studio Set for
the Lucio Fulci Spaghetti Western 'Massacre Time', 1966.
What is the story behind these rare photos?

The mountaineering expert Mallory (Gregory Peck) is looking for a way to overcome the rocky cliff of Navarone.
He puts some rock hooks on his way up.
With the thin rope he later pulls the real climbing rope upwards and the boys follow.
Great Studio scenes filmed in a huge hangar of the Shepperton Studios.
The powerful Shepperton rain rig does not give up!
The totally drenched Gregory Peck sticks to the false rock form pieces.
Great Set design ... although the actors are always close to the ground.
The effect of great height was achieved with matte paintings and rear projection.
But the blurry, comic-style mattes of Bob Cuff (or was it an unknown Shepperton brush?) are not really convincing.
He can do that much better! The matte of the greek town Navarone is a brilliant one.
Gregory Peck at Shepperton for the cliff climbing scene. He can not help laughing.
The prop crew did a fine job, the false rocks look pretty realistic in the rain.
These studio scenes are all very well done.
Shepperton Studio - Rocks on wheels.
David Niven fights with the slippery rock wall and the rain.
It is not the Mount Everest, but you have to be careful.
Filmed at the open gate of the studio hangar using natural light (?).
A giant rear projection or blue screen was used for the 'background' storm effects.
With this fine 'Navarone cliff' scenery some cool close-ups (vertical & horizontal) have been possible.
If I remember it right they filmed a scene with David Niven from above with him hanging on exactly this piece.
Let's have a closer look. Now you can see the raindrops falling!
Poor David Niven looks a little helpless. A hot tea would be great...
No wind machines? Guys, there was a storm!
Wind machines would bring the backing cloth into trouble (wobble) and the rain from the target area, the actors.
'Guns of Navarone' at Shepperton Studios.
More behind-the-scenes stories about the making of this work of outstanding artistry will follow.
My first 'Navarone' story, on the explosion of the german patrol boat, can be found here: 'Champagne corks shrapnel'
And look here for a story on the fast paced 'Force 10 from Navarone': 'Models on Malta
The pioneering war movie epic 'The Guns of Navarone' is available on blu-ray with several reasonable extras.
And www.moon-city-garbage.agency is there for the special extras!

The most popular character of children's books author Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002) is Pippi Longstocking, 
which was an instant hit among children when she first appeared in 1945.
The extremely charming and smart 'Pippi' TV Series and the movies, lensed by the Swedish Director Olle Hellbom in the late 1960s,
have lost nothing of their joyful power even after all these years.
Parents often were shocked by the unruly Pippi, who rebelled against society and happily mocked institutions like the police 
and others.
I saw Pippi in my childhood (the excellent german dubbed versions) and it's a pure pleasure to watch these jewels with
my own kids today. 
Great fun!
All available on blu-ray.
Maria Persson (Annika) with Beppe Wolgers (Efraim Longstocking) during a break in filming 'Pippi Longstocking'.
Pippi, Annika and Tommy (Pär Sundberg) are a great team.
Refreshingly naughty and funny!
Pippi (Inger Nilsson) with her father Efraim played by Beppe Wolgers.
Inger Nilsson (Pippi) relaxing in a Studio set ('Villa Kunterbunt') and outside the studio.

The famous tall Ship expert Alan John Villiers (1903–1982) was the Captain in charge of the sailing vessels 
in 'H.M.S. Defiant' (1961).
For the miniature Sea battles Director Lewis Gilbert (James Bond) engaged and old master of miniature special effects,
Howard Lydecker (1911–1969).
Gilbert was very impressed with Lydeckers work for the film 'Sink the Bismarck!'.
Howard Lydecker orchestrated a brilliant miniature show for the movie together with Bill Warrington and Johnny Stears ('Outland').
For 'H.M.S. Defiant' he had to design battleships again.
This time great sailing ships for the French Revolutionary Wars.
Captain John Villiers with the British Actor Anthony Quayle (The Guns of Navarone) in the small sea port of Denia (Alicante, Spain).
John Villiers very well knows the vessels used for the movie as he sailed the ships before for 'John Paul Jones', 1959.
The Italian Brigantine 'Marcel B.Surdo' played the 'H.M.S. Defiant', a british war ship.
Villiers, however, rarely left the port with his big sailing ships. 
Many scenes were shot right in the port basin under more controllable conditions.
Nevertheless cinematographer Christopher Challis shot some excellent 'ocean' scenes with the vessels under natural conditions 
(wind/light) on the sea. 
Learn more about the great movie ship and its Captain here: 'Marcel B.'
Filming the large-scale models of Howard Lydecker (constructed with the help of a spanish fishing boat builder) in the small port 
of Villajoyosa (Alicante, Spain), 1961.
Skeets Kelly, the cameraman for the model photography, waits for the right conditions on a shaky raft.
Other rafts carry the wind machines and the fog crew. A small water ballet with rafts.
It's a tricky thing to film miniature ships at sea, but the old veteran Lydecker knows the golden rule, 
the bigger the better!
His models have a good scale to make almost realistic scenes possible.
The height of the camera lens above the water was still only inches and a serious problem!
The Scale of the water movements have to be matching otherwise the whole scene does not work.
You need time and a lot of patience ... and even more patience .. until the conditions were perfect.
Many functions of the 'Defiant' miniature were electrically controlled, like the cannons, the sails or breakaway parts.
The model show is excellent and almost invisible! Topnotch!
Another movie used the spanish town Villajoyosa as location, look here: 'Masquerade'.

A grandmaster of the Italian Exploitation Cinema is dead.
Umberto Lenzi died on 19 October 2017 in Rome, aged 86 years.
The true movie enthusiast Lenzi, a highly esteemed filmmaker, was active in many genres.
He filmed Swashbucklers, Giallos, Poliziotteschis, Spaghetti Western, Horror flicks and 
trashy War movies.
His rough 'spaghetti' war movies, cheaply produced in Spain, are featured prominently on
You should not miss that!
German Lobby Card of 'La legione dei dannati' and a nice comparison photo of the spanish location.
Aldo Sambrell plays a melody on his machine gun - El Chorro, Rio Manzanares, 2009.
Gérard Herter standing in front of the Nazi HQ - Ayuntamiento de Villamanta, 2009.
'Battle of the Commandos', 1969.
German Lobby Card for 'Il grande attacco', 1978.
Tabernas (Almeria, Spain) - Comparison photo 2006. Rambla de Tabernas Bridge.
This and so much more on:
Enter the world of cheap madness!

'Boulevard du Rhum', also known as 'Rum Runners', is a 1971 French-Italian-Spanish comedy adventure film directed 
by Robert Enrico (1931–2001).
Brigitte Bardot and Lino Ventura give it all and play charming, but the plot of the flick is pretty trivial.
The Makers behind-the-scenes of the movie are absolutely worth mentioning.
A great team of french and spanish specialists.
The Special Effects were handled by the Spanish legend Manuel Baquero.
The stylish Sets, for example the Kingston Town Set (Jamaica) built in the port of Almeria (Spain), were designed by the 
masterful French 'Movie Architect' Max Douy together with his son Serge and his brother Jacques Douy.
Experts at every corner.
Special makeup artist John O'Gorman was there for the makeup of Brigitte Bardot.
The nice looking miniature effects were in the expert hands of Charles-Henri Assola.
This is the Show of The Makers, not The Players.
The french miniature effects Artist Charles-Henri Assola, a fully-fledged special effects man, built 2 large-scale 
ship models for the crash scene between the US Navy Ship CG-10 and the 'Friesche Gut', the smuggler ship of Lino Ventura.
The Screenshots above show the real CG-10 ship of the US Navy.
The large model miniature of the CG-10 built by Assola. 
Look at the small puppets of the US Navy sailors! An excellent model!
I searched through my archive but could not find a single photo of Charles-Henri Assola!
Can you help me? I heard he died a few years ago...?
The ship of the US Navy rams and sinks the smuggling ship.
All done in miniature at Cagnes-sur-Mer (France) on the Mediterranean Sea with the usual problems (water/scale/..).
You have to wait for the perfect conditions and this can take days or even longer! 
The scale of the waves must be fitting the scale of the ship miniatures for a credible effect.
The 'Friesche Gut' miniature. Great scale and these fine details, awesome!
I assume that one of these guys is Charles-Henri Assola!?
Details of the smuggler Ship of Lino Ventura. 
As the ship goes down parts like the rescue rings, barrels, ...float on the water surface.
The scene works quite well.
Assola also built a model miniature of a Seaplane for the show.
The list of movies Assola worked on isn't really a long one, but among them are many very beautiful tasks!
He did effects for a Blockbuster like 'Moonraker' and for a trash TV-Movie like 'The Hostage Tower'.
In the early 60s Charles-Henri Assola sculpted the 'Rupert' doll for 'The Longest Day'.
Miniature expert Assola has quite an eye for details.
For the nice little Sci-Fi B-Movie 'Crack in the World' Assola designed a few very cool effect models and landscapes.
Check out this for a look behind-the-scenes: The Earth rips in two ...as project 'Inner Space' backfires!
Assola built the brilliant R/C miniature tanks for the tank battle scenes in 'Battle of the Bulge', 1965.
The 'Panzerschlacht' in 'Battle of the Bulge' is an 'artistic dance' performed by the model miniatures of 
Charles-Henri Assola. 
A magnificent miniature ballet!
On the blurry shot you see the 'Battle of the Bulge' Art Director Eugène Lourié with one of the tanks.
Director Robert Enrico filmed a few scenes in the 'Spaghetti Western' desert of Tabernas (Almeria) in Spain 
for 'Boulevard du Rhum'.
Lino Ventura staggers through the desert in the search for water as once Curd Jürgens in 'Oeil pour Oeil', 1956.
Location comparison photo 2007 - Desert of Tabernas, Las Salinillas.

Gas Grill Barbecue! - War Movie Season finale!
Scary Highlights in the coming weeks will surely be the reports on:
'Fräulein Doktor' - Coming this November!
'Castle Keep' - Coming this December!
A surreal and bizarre look behind the scenes of these two War Movie grenades!
Enriched with plenty of rare photo material!
But first I need a little vacation. For this reason, the November Blog starts a bit later ...!
Stay tuned!