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Sunken treasures await your re-discovery: Blog 2016 / Blog 2017
"I always keep my word, I'll send him right where he told me to go ...HELL!"
December 2018
This Blog is 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! - The Story behind the Spectacle!
No inflated endlessly long stories, but short and crisp. 
'This is Helmet time!'
Photos beat content!
Welcome to the manege of madness! - Have a pleasant trip!

Richard Widmark relaxes on set of 'The Way West' during a break in filming.
'The Way West', wow, that sounds like a big epic!
Well, at the end it's only something for a small village theatre.
Director Andrew V. McLaglen has a hand for solid action Western movies ('Bandolero!') without higher ambitions.
His 'MacLintock' is pretty groovy.
This cowboy-chunk here is way too big for him!
The premium cast (Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark,...) evaporates without much effect.
This is not the way west, it's the way to hibernation. 
Big names - little show!
The blu-ray looks good with great vistas of the stunning locations.
Veteran cinematographer William H. Clothier knew that beautiful pictures are what people want to see in a big epic.
'The Way West'
Richard Widmark makes first contact with the rural population.
A tame young deer.
Lost in the sand of the desert.
Richard lays down in the sand for a little nap.
All brave Players on this clumsy way to the West have been on better travels.
Andrew V. McLaglen orchestrated a few good action adventures in other genres.
He shot 'The Wild Geese', 'The Sea Wolves' and the William Holden War movie 'The Devil's Brigade'.
Never really first-class stuff, but always good entertainment.

Producer Dino de Laurentiis and his Wife, Italian actress Silvana Mangano ('Dune'), came to New York 
to promote the new de Laurentiis epic 'The Bible ...in the Beginning'.
The movie premiered at New York City's Loew's State Theatre on September 28, 1966.
The photo shows the couple on stage for an interview with 'WNEW TV'.
Learn more about the epic and its stunning projection on the wide screen (D-150) here:
Noah's Ark - Biblical Ocean Liner.
The day after the premiere, Ava Gardner remarked, "It's the only time in my life I actually enjoyed 
working, making that picture."

Producer and Director Carl Foreman ('Guns of Navarone') actually wanted Sophia Loren for the role of the desperate, 
lonely Italian housewife waiting for her missing husband.
As la grande Loren was not available Foreman searched for an alternative.
At the end the beautiful actress Rosanna Schiaffino (1939–2009) signed-on for the part.
One did not attach much importance to Rosanna in promoting the movie. 
Her name was hardly mentioned on promotion stuff like posters, press material, ...
If Carl Foreman would have got Sophia Loren, he surely would have used her name much more 
intensively for promotion purposes.
Rosanna Schiaffino (born as Rosa Anna Schiaffino) in a movie scene - 'The Victors', 1963.
Rosanna fixing her hair and make-up, on set in Salerno (Campania, Italy) for 'The Victors'.
Rare colored Kodak 2.25 transparency.
The scenes together with the young Vince Edwards (Pvt. George Baker) are unusual and rarely seen in a war movie.
The whole Maria (Schiaffino)-George (Edwards) sequence is well played and pretty touching.
Both actors died relatively early and about the same age.
Vince died at the age of 67 and Rosanna at the age of 69.
The excellent war movie epic offers more unusual and moving scenes.
Very well made cinema. 
Stunning colored 'The Victors' promotion portrait shot of Rosanna Schiaffino.
Rosanna had a nice role in the underrated Super Technirama 70 epic 'La Fayatte'.
She played in a few adventure movies like 'The Long Ships', all mainly filmed in Europe.
She even got a fine role in a Euro-Western flick, 'The Man called Noon', directed by Peter Collinson ('The Italian Job').
Rare Kodak 2.25 transparency.

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

For the most part this B-Movie flick is a pure routine affair, with the acting and direction uniformly wooden.
Steve Johnson's XFX magic kitchen saved the whole cake with a great variety of exhilarating practical effects methods.
The new 'Patrick' monster is visually pretty exciting, a design full of enthusiasm and vibrancy.
Some first glimpses of the creature we get to see, when Patrick is doing his best to satisfy these hot Astronaut groupies.
Nancy La Scala and Raquel Gardner play the two sisters who wait in the Hotel suite for the famous Captain of the first 
successful manned mission to Mars.
Patrick, played by Justin Lazard, is full of energy ... equipped with a few extraterrestrial extras.
"My sister decided to join us. We share everything ...together".
Stupid mistake!
Patrick begins to transform.
Raquel Gardner in clinch with the XFX love puppet.
A full-size animatronic dummy of Justin Lazard (Patrick).
The erupting tentacles are controlled via mechanics hidden in the hollow puppet.
For this shot from Raquel's point of view Justin jumped into the bed. Time for the live actor.
The XFX crew put a special tentacle pack to the back of Justin, which really helped 
to sell the scenes and let them look pretty believable.
Live actor and dummy seem to merge together. Very good work!
Clever camera angles and good editing.
The XFX love puppet.
Dave Snyder, lead prosthetic designer, and sculptor Hiroshi Katagiri at work on the clay sculpt.
Minutes after having sex with Patrick one of the sisters is giving birth to an alien baby.
What we see here is a nude, full-body dummy attached to the head of actress Nancy La Scala.
The rapidly developing pregnancy was a nice effect designed with a bladder under a foam appliance. 
Nancy slipped into the nude body 'suit', created from her body mold, from behind with her arms and the head.
Steve Johnson designed the abdomen to open up like a flower for the gory birth of the alien baby, 
which is literally bursting out of the opening.
The movable legs and the animatronic baby were controlled by the crew from behind.
Same with the four petal sections which open in the belly.
The body prosthetic for Nancy La Scala and the alien baby were sculpted by Greg Smith (sculptural designer).
The understructure of the animatronic alien baby. 
XFX cosmetic designer Tom Killeen is giving the underskull some last finishing touches (airbrush).
The animatronic gadgetry of the baby was designed by XFX Veteran Eric Fiedler ('House', 'The Abyss') and Bob Newton.
Model/sculpt for the body prosthetic of Nancy La Scala, sculpted by Greg Smith.
Shortly before 'Species II' Greg (photo) worked for XFX on 'Sphere' as sculptural designer.
First test of the 'Nancy' appliance in the XFX lab.
You can see the 'flower-like abdomen'. 
They XFX crew created some pretty effective images.
After the much too hot adventure in the hotel suite, Patrick also kills his bride in a rush of extraterrestrial love.
Infected with Alien DNA.
His remaining human DNA wants to kill himself...
He blows his head off with a shotgun.
A splattering effect - Looks like a bursting balloon.
Practical effects will never die!
Preparation of a Patrick dummy for the shotgun scene.
The two tubes you see there are compressed air guns/mortars, ready to spit 'blood & brain' into the scene.
Digital Magic and XFX needed 3 months to finish the 'Patrick blows his brains out' scene.
A well-made motion control shot shows the full regeneration of Patricks head (XFX torso & CGI).
All a bit dated but still fine.
The only seconds long scene in the finished film cost about 120.000 US dollars!
A funny little movie.

Christmas time and far and wide no snow in sight!
How do you create a cold, snowy winter scene in your garden, even though the temperatures are too high for that matter?
Just get some prop men from your local Studio to create the true Hollywood illusion...
With a few sheets of linen, wool mats and gypsum powder or marble dust this is done fairly quickly.
There was a time when asbestos was used to represent snow! 
Hellish crazy, and highly dangerous for your health!
Very often salt and flour were used in lieu of snow. 
Of course you are hoping for dry weather when you use these stuff outdoors.
Every little rain causes problems.
And salt is often problematic because it is pretty aggressive and eats its way through the leather shoes of the cast & crew.
The local seller of rubber boots is looking forward to that.
The wildest recipes for foam were mixed together to mimic snow.
A few inventive Italians even used shaving cream as snow - 'Spaghetti Western Slushy'.
A professional new method is an eco-friendly artificial snow made from recycled paper called 'SnowCel'. 
In the late 70s the British Special Effects Supervisor Kit West used different methods to imitate snow for the 
Mark Robson Thriller 'Avalanche Express'.
Expyrol Type F15 was a magic weapon for large areas, a special extinguishing foam for firefighters.
On the photo we see Kit with a bag of white granules on Set.
Kit West: "The bag of 'snow granules' we used for foreground coverage. 
It was quite expensive, but left very convincing foot prints. 
You could also pick it up and make snowballs out of it. 
These days, a company called SNOW BUSINESS have developed numerous 
products which have made snow scenes far easier to create, making it quite an art."
The cables hanging there on the railway wagon are parts of the wiring of the various simulated bullet holes 
by machine guns (squibs).
What a hellish job, to drill several hundred holes into the wagon and prepare the squibs.

Make-Up veteran Edwin 'Ed' Butterworth prepares Chuck Aspegren for his role as steel worker in the Michael Cimino 
masterpiece 'The Deer Hunter'.
No hard task for Ed, as Chuck was a real steel worker who worked as a general foreman at U.S. Steel.
Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken found this charismatic guy in a local bar and director 
Michael Cimino liked his real charm and presence and decided to cast him as one of the friends of the leading actors.
Despite the film's success, Chuck Aspegren didn't follow a career in the movie business and 
little is known about him afterwards.
Make-Up designer Ed Butterworth had a long and very successful career in the 'film circus'.
Like for so many others, his first big step was a job for 'Around the World in 80 Days' back in the 50s!
The make-up crew for this Todd-AO epic was a colossal troupe with guys like John O'Gorman, John Chambers 
and Daniel C. Striepeke!
Ed got in contact with Striepeke and Chambers during the filming of 'Around the World in 80 Days' and
later often worked together with them.
With Striepeke and Del Acevedo ('The Deer Hunter' team) he worked on 'The Poseidon Adventure'.
A few years later a guardian angel was on his side, when he did not get on the plane which crashed in the mountains 
a little later with part of the crew of the 'Up from the Ape' production.
John Chambers, Werner Keppler and several others had the same guardian angel, but
three-dozen crew members were killed on March 13, 1974.
Among of the victims were Janos Prohaska and his son Robert Prohaska, both dedicated 'creature-actors'.
Robert Prohaska was in the Ghoul suit built by John Chambers for the legendary 'Night Gallery' episode 
- Pickman's Model -. 
The 'Pickman' episode will be my ghoulish Christmas Special for this year! 
The hairy monster that comes out of the cellar is not Santa Claus ...
Michael York, make-up creator John Chambers and Barbara Carrera on Set for 'The Island of Dr. Moreau' 
on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, 1977.
Ed Butterworth was part of a prominent make-up crew with experts like Thomas R. Burman, Daniel C. Striepeke and John Chambers.
They all thought they were working on the next Hit ...but soon recognized that they will hit the ground hard with a flop!
'The Island of Dr. Moreau' will be deservedly honored with a story in 2019 here on 
Movie Magic - Off the beaten path.
The retired Make-Up artist Ed Butterworth did his last show as part of a big make-up team (Werner Keppler, Greg Cannom, ...) 
set up for the Steven Spielberg movie 'Hook'.

This year was the 50th Anniversary of the release of the controversial John Wayne film 'The Green Berets'. 
The only major film made during the Vietnam War in support of the war.
Throughout most of his life, Wayne was a vocally prominent conservative Republican in Hollywood, 
supporting anti-communist positions.
And that's what he did with this quite typical Wayne movie.
An excellently produced, underrated Vietnam film with many obvious weaknesses, staged by John Wayne himself and 
living entirely on his charisma. 
Wayne worked hard on his epic Vietnam film but didn't really got it running.
What went wrong?
Aldo Ray is pure fun, right at the beginning when he barks these silly anti-communist slogans into the faces of 
some perplexed press-hyenas. Great!
In its time context, back in the 60s, this pro-war bulldog might have been controversial for some papers (poor reviews), 
but despite all the fuss 'The Green Berets' became a money-making box-office hit!
It's like the experienced Director Mervyn Leroy ('Little Caesar', 'Quo Vadis') said in his book 'Take One':
"To my way of thinking, a motion picture has one primary purpose: to entertain.
If it doesn't entertain, it has failed."
Obviously the Duke (middle), with the helping hand of Mervyn Leroy (the guy with sunglasses and cap), did something right here.
The people bought seats!
I enjoyed the jerky show, kept alive by a variety of comical moments... Good stuff!
We have to take a closer look: 
The filming of 'The Green Berets' in Fort Benning.
Charlie and the Punji Sticks!
The next bomb in our new 'Cinema Controversial' series will be 'I Aim at the Stars' , planned for 2019!
A controversial movie about the Nazi Rocket-Man Wernher von Braun who tried to wipe out London.
The movie was directed by the British legend J.Lee Thompson ('Guns of Navarone').
Curd Jürgens (photo) was playing Wernher von Braun.
Wernher became a Star in the USA and was one of the leading heads behind the first landing on the moon!

'The Brain' is a fine, funny and imaginative crime grotesque.
A varied caper comedy with a bunch of petty crooks, orchestrated by the French Director Gérard Oury.
The wonderful cast obviously had a lot of fun with the groovy script and so we can enjoy a light-hearted show.
Eli Wallach as Sicilian Mafioso is pretty good and David 'The Brain' Niven is perfect in his role as criminal mastermind 
with a keen eye for skimpy bikinis.
The whole shower/pool sequence with Silvia Monti (on German Lobby Card) in a little black bikini is a looker.
The comedy is actually nothing really special but has a nice beat ...and rocks!
I receive pretty good vibrations!
Director Gérard Oury on the famous Ocean Liner SS France together with his actors Jean-Paul Belmondo, David Niven and Bourvil.
The elegant SS France was a well-chosen filming location for the grand final of the movie.
The Ocean Liner was constructed by the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard at Saint-Nazaire, France, and put into service 
in February 1962. 
At the time of her construction in 1960, the 316 m (1,037 ft) vessel was the longest passenger ship ever built, 
a record that remained unchallenged until the construction of the 345 m (1,132 ft) RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004.
Gérard Oury (1919-2006) was known for his shrill movie comedies with rather robust humor.
His 'World War II' comedy 'La grande vadrouille' is a precious gem full of hilarious scenes.
Eli Wallach and David Niven ('Guns of Navarone') in Le Havre (France) during the filming of 'The Brain'.
Le Havre was the home port of the SS France. 
Nice photo of Silvia Monti (Sofia) and David Niven (British Colonel Carol Matthews) on the quay next to the 
renowned 'FRANCE', Le Havre, summer 1968.
The Ocean Liner was later purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) in 1979, renamed 'SS Norway' and underwent significant 
modifications that better suited her for cruising duties. 
She was sold to be scrapped in 2006, and scrapping was completed in late 2008.
The other beauty on the quay, Silvia Monti, was only working for a few years in the crazy Italian 
movie business as an actress.
Despite the relatively short time, She played in a fine bunch of pretty rough genre movies. 
She started in the late 60s with the sinister Alberto Lattuada 'World War I' flick 'Fräulein Doktor'.
One of her last roles was in the grim Giorgio Stegani thriller 'Milano: il clan dei Calabresi'.
Very few films, but one or the other dirty little pearl, I bow my head in respect!

Santa Claus was there and has hidden a package for you in the dark cellar.
Do you really want to look for it?
I've heard noises down there, something scary is sneaking around waiting for food: 
Pickman's Model - Night Gallery - Prosthetic Appliance Makeup
Enter at your own risk!

The last little stories of the year 2018 - A delicious menu followed by fireworks.
David Niven (1910–1983) and his family eat lunch from cardboard boxes on movie location
on the Greek island of Rhodes where Niven is making 'The Guns of Navarone', June 1960.
His two sons from his first marriage with Primula Rollo, Jamie (13) and David Niven Jr. (17), 
and his wife Hjördis Genberg enjoy the Greek catering.
Primula Rollo (1918–1946) died tragically while attending a dinner at the house of fellow actor 
Tyrone Power (Solomon and Sheba). 
After dinner, while playing hide and seek, she opened what she thought was a closet door but instead 
tumbled down the basement stairs and onto the concrete floor. 
She died shortly after.
On the photo you can spot packs of 'Papadopoulos Biscuits'.
The 'Papadopoulos Biscuits' are quite famous in Greece and are exported to many countries.
The Greek food company 'Papadopoulos' was founded in the 1930s in Athens by the Papadopoulos family and is still active.
It is mostly known for its wide range of biscuits. 
You will find many exquisite 'Guns of Navarone' biscuits on my blog.
Only with the best ingredients:
- Storm of Navarone
- Studio Cliff 
- Cruise with the Greek Navy
'The Guns of Navarone' - James Darren, David Niven and Gia Sacala on set on Rhodes.
James Darren had just married and spent an unusual honeymoon on Rhodes while filming was in full progress.
James & Evy: The young couple explores the Island!
This and so much more, exclusively on:
Off the beaten path!

Different costly Sets were built for the excellently produced Paul Wendkos Western 'Cannon for Cordoba'.
In the small town of Villamanta (Madrid) Art Director José María Tapiador ('The Last Run', 'Villa Rides') 
supervised the construction of a large-scale western town Set, which was built in front of the old train station.
The real train station was integrated into the set and used as the station for the Western Town.
The fine Set Decoration of the town set was done by José María Alarcón ('El Condor'), Bejamin Fernandez and 
Rafael Salazar ('The Hunting Party').
The hot demolition of the nice-looking town set was supervised by Alex Weldon (1915–2004), 
the Special Effects wizard of the old Samuel Bronston Epics.
The pyrotechnics expert did movies like 'The Longest Day', 'The Fall of the Roman Empire', 
'Crack in the World' and 'Battle of the Bulge'.
Alex Weldon used quite a bunch of explosives, gunpowder, magnesium powder (flash) and gasoline to blow up the 
Western Town Set.
Since the set consists mainly of bone-dry wood, the explosive charges must be well planned.
Paul Wendkos filmed some pretty cool action loaded and well choreographed scenes in the burning set, 
lensed by Cinematographer Antonio Macasoli ('Guns of the Magnificent Seven') and camera operator 
Ricardo Navarrete ('Antony and Cleopatra', 'Conan the Barbarian').
The guys were very focused as there was only one try in a tight time window 
before the fire (and extinguishing) would have made further filming impossible.
Everything had to fit the point - Camera settings, special effects, actors, stuntmen,...
The fire in the city got bigger and bigger and spread quickly, fueled by the wind and pyro wizard Weldon.
A crew of firefighters (real + film crew members) was on stand-by, ready to extinguish the fire.
Violent bang! Fireworks in the Wild West!
Alex Weldon and his Spanish Special Effects crew let it really rock.
Wooden parts and straw flew around. Fine food for the fire.
Villamanta - Western Town Set.
It was planned to prevent flying sparks as much as possible as the small town of Villamanta was in the immediate vicinity.
The crew tried everything with the few small water hoses...
Even closer to the flaming hell was the old train station.
The building was splashed with water to protect it.
Kodak 2.25 transparency.
Fire everywhere, various buildings are in flames!
Many locals of Villamanta enjoyed the show ...but pretty soon they were more concerned about their own homes. 
In the end, members of the film crew and locals of Villamanta had to help to contain the fire.
Nobody was hurt, but it was a dangerous situation.
The fire could easily have gotten out of control.
The whole Western Town set was destroyed (as planned)!
Built in weeks, destroyed in a few minutes.
A dedicated Paul Wendkos explains the next scene to some actors on a hot day in Navalcarnero (Madrid).
The first Cannon for Cordoba 'on location' report will be ready soon.
Perfectly flavored with a bunch of never published before rare behind the scenes photos.
You should not miss this!
Here's another little appetizer: We are all equals!
Happy New Year!