January February March April May June
July August September October November December
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!"
February 2018
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! - 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!

'Solomon and Sheba' (1959), directed by King Vidor, was the second Super-Production for the up-and-coming 
Sevilla Films Studio (Madrid) after 'Alexander the Great' (1956).
Another chance for many Spanish talents to show the world that they can handle such a big production.
The very versatile Spanish Set Construction and miniature effects expert Francisco Prósper Zaragoza (1920–2003) 
was part of the Crew.
He did the minature effects for 'Solomon and Sheba'. 
For example the upper part of the giant Temple in Jerusalem (screenshot), a foreground miniature of Francisco Prósper.
In a nice effects shot the camera pans down from the tower (miniature) to the full-sized Temple Set,
built on the backlot of the Sevilla Films Studio.
Francisco Prósper was part of the Construction crew on 'Around the World in 80 days', 'Spartacus', 'El Cid', 
'55 days in Peking', 'The Fall of the Roman Empire', ...and so many more.
He did miniature effects for 'The 3 Worlds of Gulliver', 'Battle of the Bulge', 'Crack in the World
and 'Custer of the West'.
A little-known legend with a long career and many outstanding works for internationally successful films.
The Temple of Jerusalem. 
A huge Set built under the open sky on the backlot of the Sevilla Films Studio.
The Hollywood veteran Art Director Richard Day (1896–1972) supervised the construction of the temple,
built by Dario Simoni, the Spanish Set Decorator Luis Pérez Espinosa, José María Alarcón, Ángel Arzuaga and 
a big crew of local artisans.
The Temple of Jerusalem on the backlot of the Sevilla Films Studio. 
Very rare photo of the vast Temple Set in construction.
The large Temple complex is an ensemble of cleverly composed facades with many beautiful and artistic reliefs.
All interior shots in the Temple were done on stage in the Sevilla Films Studio.
Look at the cute little caravans for the Crew and Stars! We are in the late 50s!
George Sanders (1906–1972) - Sevilla Films Studio, Madrid.
Hand-colored German Lobby Card showing the Temple Set.
Tyrone Power (right) and George Sanders rehearse the duel scene in the Sevilla Studios Temple of Jerusalem Set.
This is one of the last photos of Tyrone Power.
He collapsed during rehearsals for the duel and they brought him to his trailer, 
not knowing that he had a serious heart attack.
They wanted to reenergize him with a glass of cognac, but he was too weak and could not drink it.
Far too late, he was taken to the hospital.
Tyrone Power died of a heart attack on November 15, 1958 (age 44) in Madrid, Spain.
He was replaced by Yul Brynner.
They had to re-shoot all of the interior scenes as well as a number of battle scenes 
where Solomon (Tyrone Power) appears in close-up or medium shots, but the majority of the finished battle footage 
with Power remained.
Although given a prestigious roadshow release in Super Technirama 70, 'Solomon' was a dissapointment both artistically 
and financially (box-office). 
Who knows how the show would have turned out with Tyrone.
(Some informations are taken from the book of production manager Eddy Maroto)
Screenshot of a scene staged in the Temple Set. Open sky - natural lighting.
The camera pan and angle options were limited, but the set is quite impressive and effective.
Rare photo of the 'Solomon and Sheba' Temple Set - Sevilla Films Studio, 1958.
View from a street into the Temple set.
Beautifully designed large facades with tall columns.
This is the part of the Temple where Solomon waits for the arrival of the Queen of Sheba.
Screenshot of the Scene. 
An excellently decorated set for the arrival of Gina Lollobrigida.
Yul Brynner (Solomon) and Gina Lollobrigida (Sheba) in the Temple Set - Sevilla Films Studio.
Excellent costumes by the way, designed by Ralph Jester (1901–1991).
The makeup of Gina Lollobrigida was handled by the British expert John O'Gorman.
Nice composite shot of Jerusalem with the towering Temple in the middle. Who is the artist?
Emilio Ruiz del Rio did several excellent painted backings for the show and might be the man behind this matte shot.
But that would also be something for Francisco Prósper. Any idea?
The live action plate for the matte composite was filmed near the Sierra de la Cabrera (Madrid, Spain).
The movie was shot on different interesting locations in Spain.
The big Battle scenes of the movie where filmed in the surroundings of Zaragoza (Valdespartera), supplemented by a
miniature trick shot of Francisco Prósper. Small dolls and chariots fall into a miniature gorge ...
A magnificent epic, available on blu-ray.

One of the many remakes of classic Akira Kurosawa epics. 
The attempt of the renowned director Martin Ritt (1914–1990) to reformulate 'Rashomon' into a Western 
is just a muddle-headed clumsy spectacle.
The cast is fascinating (Paul Newman, Claire Bloom, Edward G.Robinson, William Shatner), some scenes are well done, 
with a great cinematography, but the overall impression is not convincing.
This is primarily due to one strange decision, Director Ritt has given Paul Newman a completely inappropriate role.
Newman, equipped with a stupid dark make-up and a false beard, is definitely not a smart choice as Bandit Carrasco.
His acting is laughable and totally over the top. Nothing fits together.
A few years later the diligent Duo Ritt/Newman did the excellent Western 'Hombre' (1967) with a perfect role for Paul Newman.
Director Martin Ritt and makeup supervisor William Tuttle (1912–2007) with some last corrections on the makeup of 
Carrasco (Paul Newman).
Makeup artist William Tuttle worked for MGM for 35 years. 
For eight years he worked as an assistant to the most innovative pioneer in Hollywood make-up artistry, Jack Dawn 
(by then head makeup artist at MGM), and, after Jack retired, 
Tuttle became the head of the department for over 20 years.
He did the makeup for epic movies like 'Ice Station Zebra' (1968), creates the special makeup effects for 
B-Movie Horror flicks like 'Necromancy' (1972) and did wonderful Action comedies like 'Silver Streak' (1976).

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

Gripping illustration for the Roland Emmerich 'Godzilla' Blockbuster by the German conceptual designer and 
production illustrator Patrick Jänicke.
A first concept for the torn hull of a beached ocean freighter in Jamaica.
The complicated scene with CG 3-D freighter was excellently composited by VisionArt.
Digiscope did the scene with Matthew Broderick standing in front of the hull of the freighter, 
with these big cracks in the steel. A very cool shot!
Patrick Jänicke did countless illustrations for 'Godzilla'. 
The illustrations depicting the enormous power of Godzilla are especially impressive.
Patrick also did some nice illustrations for the tanks and vehicles used in the show.
He has a colorful website with many samples of his great work for numerous films:
Visual effects supervisor Volker Engel with a scale model of a part of the torn-open hull of the freighter.
Built as a reference for all involved and especially for Digiscope to get some raw data for their 
tricky composite shot with Matthew Broderick.
Digiscope handled some of the digital work and compositing from the brimming pot of effect shots for 'Godzilla'.
Volker Engel is giving a piece of ship steel some finishing 'makeup' touches. Real steel?
In one close-up scene Matthew Broderick plucks some meat from the steel with tweezers.
Godzilla probably played a bit too wild with the freighter and hurt himself. 
The big piece looks like a real piece of ship steel.
What is Volker holding in his hand?
A scraps of the skin from Godzilla?
All the effects work of the show was overseen by visual effects supervisor Volker Engel.
See more of Godzi here: The Madison Square Garden blast!
'Godzilla' is available on a well-done 4K blu-ray.

Baseball legend Leroy 'Satchel' Paige (left) has a cameo as a cavalry sergeant in 'The Wonderful Country'.
Robert Mitchum is desperately looking for his place in the border region between America and Mexico.
He is used as a smuggler or bodyguard but is never really accepted. His special skills are welcome.
He has to fight for acceptance and strives for moral integrity.
A splendid film for Robert Mitchum, who can show everything in his role.
The Western movie, directed by Robert Parrish (1916–1995), rightly relies on its good story and largely dispenses 
on the usual action scenes.
Courageous and not without risk, but Robert Mitchum has it nearly all under control.
The man is a stoic force of nature and yet helpless and vulnerable.
He wanders between the worlds without a firm hold.
In the end, he has to make a decision before others do it for him and find his way.
A bumpy tale against overdone nationalism, but a good movie with gorgeous Technicolor pictures of the Mexican locations.
Filming a close-up with Robert Mitchum and Leroy 'Satchel' Paige.
The movie is available on blu-ray in fine quality.

The former Italian glamour model and Miss Italy contestant (1959) Maria Grazia Buccella plays a bullfighter and the 
famous american actor Robert Mitchum (1917–1997) a bull. Bob the Bull seems a bit tired!
Both actors are in Madrid for the filming of 'Villa Rides', a western movie directed by Buzz Kulik.
Nearly all the Stars who were shooting a movie in Madrid also visited a bullfight. Almost something like a must!
Many also had the chance to visit the world-famous bullring privately without spectators, 
often accompanied by a well-known bullfighter who explains everything to them.
Maria Grazia Buccella and Robert Mitchum were very curious to see one of the most famous bullrings in the world, 
the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid (see photos), 1967.
Who is the companion of the two? He seems very familiar to me... A bullfighter?
35mm Kodachromes
Maria Grazia Buccella is obviously having fun. Looks very elegant and expertly.
Robert moves smoothly like a young gazelle ...bull!
In the end even Robert Mitchum smiles satisfied.
Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, Madrid (Spain).
The filming of 'Villa Rides' soon on the moon-city-garbage screen.
With a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos and background informations about the production.

A widescreen Cavalry Western filmed by Hollywood veterans, Director David Butler (1894–1979) and his Cinematographer
Wilfrid M. Cline (1903–1976).
Guy Madison plays a young military doctor with little enthusiasm for the war against the Indians and 
without any combat experience.
He is forced to take command of a cavalry troop escorting a wagon train through hostile Indian country when the unit's 
commanding officer dies.
The soldiers aren't thrilled that a doctor is leading the column, but he convinces them with his unorthodox 
but effective ideas.
An exciting story that unfortunately is not always told in the best possible way.
They could have done more with the terrifying idea of biological warfare.
Some ideas and possibilities were not thought through consistently.
Anyway, 'The Command' is still a good, solid outdoor spectacle with many changing locations and 
great landscape shots in vivid WarnerColor.
Indians attack the wagon train. 
The big Cinemascope battle scenes are well staged. 
The cameraman, Wilfrid M. Cline, lensed some very good shots of the fighting and the wide open landscape.
Some other scenes do not have this quality. The close-ups often look a bit pale and uninspired.
Guy Madison later became a Star in several European B-Movies (Spaghetti Western, War Movies).
Filming an elaborate battle scene for 'The Command' with lots of Extras, horses and material - California, 1953.
That is the might and magnificence of CinemaScope. The California prairie is awesome!
The quality of the DVD leaves much room for improvement.
A movie made for the big screen.

The British make up expert Trevor Crole-Rees (1918–1980) and hairdresser Jean Bear work on the perfect 
'dirty look' for Trevor Howard (1913–1988).
They all were on set in southern Spain for the Ken Annakin movie 'The Long Duel' (1967).
A few years earlier Ken Annakin filmed his war movie epic 'Battle of the Bulge' in Spain.
Trevor Crole-Rees was the leading 'Battle of the Bulge' make up man with lots of dirty faces and fake blood.
Learn more about 'Battle of the Bulge' here: Our River Bridge.
The esteemed make up specialist Trevor Crole-Rees was involved in many interesting productions.
He did the western movie 'Shalako' (again in Spain!) and took care of the perfect make-up for the Brian G. Hutton 
war movie hit 'Kelly's Heroes'.
His most challenging make up creations are the once he did for the 'Dr. Phibes' horror flicks with 
Vincent Price.
Trevor Crole-Rees on the 'Dr. Phibes rises again' make up, 1972: 
“The make-up looks simple enough when it’s on, yet it is one of the trickiest I’ve ever had to do in 
the 37 years I’ve been in the business. The face you see is terribly ‘brittle’. 
It is made of melted wax, applied hot and then covered with a special plastic skin which 
adheres to the wax before it sets. It has to stay put on Mr Price throughout the day’s filming, 
which means eight and a half hours. And there’s always the danger it may crack. 
If that happened it could cause anything up to a two hour delay in shooting."
Parts of 'Dr.Phibes rises again' were filmed in the 'Spaghetti Western' desert around of Almeria, Spain.
The scenes with the vintage car hopping through the desert were filmed near the 'Oasis de Tabernas', Tabernas.
The old-timer drives down a small gravel/sand path which was built here for another production years ago. 
Possibly for 'Lost Command'? 
The sand path is barely recognizable today. Washed away by rain and overgrown with shrubs.
Learn more about the famous 'Oasis de Tabernas' location here: Play Dirty.
And here: Oasis on color transparencies.

Spanish advertising 'Diapositiva' (slide/transparency) used in movie theaters to promote the movie.
A fast and cheap alternative to the classic movie trailer.
This one is for the Terence Fisher Hammer flick 'Dracula: Prince of Darkness' (1966).
The third entry in Hammer’s legendary Dracula series.
The transparency has a simple but powerful motif with great colors.
Such slides were in use almost all over Europe. 
The mount of the 'Dracula: Prince of Darkness' promo transparency - Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
On the right a pattern for an advertisement - Promotion guide.
A German 'Diacolor' to promote the brilliant Jürgen Roland Mafia thriller 'Battle of the Godfathers', 1973.
Mafia torpedo Luca Messina (Henry Silva) wants to take over the business in Hamburg (Germany). 
Stupid decision!
Nobody pees on the shoes of honorable cone-brothers from Hamburg!
Otto Westermann (Herbert Fleischmann), the chairman of the bowling club 'Schwarzer Pudel', and his 
'Hamburger Jungs' know how to fight back.
The boys are well prepared, strengthened by the extensive enjoyment of local drugs, 
'Astra Pils' and 'Fischbrötchen'!
This is Hamburg!

'The Pride and the Passion' Director Stanley Kramer welcomes one of his stars. 
He could not foresee that Frank Sinatra would mess up the whole production.
Sinatra was bored and often seemed lethargic during the filming of the movie.
Problems with his wife Ava Gardner or with the weak script, who knows?
Sinatra's difficult behavior caused trouble for Director Stanley Kramer.
Kramer began to ingnore him and worked around him and not with him.
The movie involving a cast of thousands, was a great chance for hundreds of spanish Actors 
to work with Stars like Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra or Sophia Loren.
Many young spanish experts and technicians worked in all departments for the production and were
able to show the world that they can handle such a big international show.
Eddy Maroto (1903-1989) was one of the most important spanish crew members.
He was some kind of special location and production assistant for Stanley Kramer.
Eddy searched for locations, signs contracts and took care of the important shooting permits.
A generous donation for a local school here and a sufficient payment for the restoration of a castle there, 
Eddy was indispensable in handling special tasks.
He was provided with a car, and in the end he drove his car over 37,000 km all over Spain to get what Kramer wanted.
Many of the small supporting actors remained nameless and unknown.
Spanish Extras playing French Soldiers, 1956. 
I got a bunch of photos showing this unknown Extra (left) playing a French Soldier for 
'The Pride and the Passion', 1956.
The same Extra on location near Arganda del Rey (Madrid), April 1956.
Near Arganda del Rey they filmed the scene where Frank Sinatra and his guerrillas attack the French camp 
at the foot of a steep slope from above.
The Spanish Extras were brought by busses to the filming location.
Often they came from small villages in the immediate vicinity to earn a few pesetas when the film crew showed up.
Rarely some got a contract for the whole movie.
The movie may have failed in some ways, but I still like it.
The fine Technicolor panoramic shots of Cinematographer Franz Planer (1894–1963) are awesome.
The imaginative veteran Planer was resposible for the great pictures in 'The Caine Mutiny', '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' 
and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'.
During the filming of the Samuel Bronston epic 'King of Kings' in Spain, he suffered a heatstroke while working on the 
'Sermon on the Mount' sequence near Chinchón, Madrid.
It was one of his final films and he passed away only a few years later.
For this 'Pride and Passion' scene here, the special effects boys ignite balls of bushes.
These fireballs were then 'shoot' into the French camp.
Our unknown Spanish Extra again - Preparations in the French Camp.
Arganda del Rey, april 1956.
A stunning scene!
Shortly after the burning 'bush bombs', Frank Sinatra attacks the camp with his army.
In the close-up scenes (Frank throws a torch on a tent) you can clearly see that the tents were all prepared by 
the Special Effect department with a fast-inflammatory liquid.
A burning torch barely touches a tent ...and it's already on fire.
Screenshot - The French camp after the attack.
The unknown Spanish Extra - One of so many unknown heroes every big production needs.
The production assistant on the left has a walkie-talkie to stay in contact with the crew above on the hill.
This walkie-talkie is quite similar to the old US Army ones from WWII.
Arganda del Rey, april 1956.
German Lobby Card showing a tricky special effects scene. 
The hot story of the explosion of the bridge with lots of death-defying Spanish Extras and Stuntmen can be found here:
Swimming lessons in the Rio Tajo.