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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!"
January 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!
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!

'Estouffade à la Caraïbe' (1967) is a French-Italian co-production directed by Jacques Besnard (1929–2013).
The film is not badly mounted, but all-in-all only a routine Caper romp.
The French Director Jacques Besnard directs with evident relish, but to little effect.
His direction is missing verve and the right feeling for action & fun. He fails to give any dramatic edge to his characters.
There are hardly any exciting moments and far too many trivial dialogues.
The few action scenes are often staged very poorly. 
Only the extremely talented French Cinematographer Marcel Grignon (1914–1990) creates visual enthusiasm.
The superb exotic locations and the colorful cinematography gives the impression of a far bigger budget.
The scenes in the City of Cartagena (Colombia), on the 'Plaza De La Aduana' (photo) and in the Fortress 
'Castillo San Felipe de Barajas', have a special atmosphere. 
Cartagena in the Sixties had an almost Andalusian flair. A great location.
The Production Design and Set Decoration, handled by the legendary Max Douy and Henri Sonois, support the Caribbean feeling.
The movie has a good look, a mix of good ingredients. Only the cook has failed.
A good director has to get more out of the material.
Available on blu-ray.
The 'Estouffade à la Caraïbe' main stars, Frederick Stafford and Jean Seberg, both died in the summer of 1979: 
Stafford was killed in a collision of two aircraft above Lake Sarnen, Switzerland on July 28, 1979 at the age of 51 
while Seberg died of a barbiturate overdose, which was later ruled a probable suicide, on August 30, 1979 at the age of 40.
The filming of 'Estouffade à la Caraïbe' in Colombia. 
Frederick Stafford and Jean Seberg on the beach during a break in filming the little caper flick.
Among the Players is Serge Gainsbourg, unmotivated and unfortunately a miscast.
Jacques Besnard (left) was a talented second unit director ('Fantômas', 'Fantômas se déchaîne').
Shortly before the adventure in Colombia he directed the funny Louis de Funès movie 'Le grand restaurant' (1966).
After that, he made a bunch of quite flat movies as responsible director.
Cinematographer Marcel Grignon had a great career. Lots of interesting jobs to present his talent with the camera.
He did 'Un taxi pour Tobrouk', the 'Fantomas' hits, epics like 'Is Paris Burning?' and thrillers like 
'Les étrangers'. He was the DOP for 'Shaft in Africa'. 
Jean Seberg and Frederick Stafford enjoy the beautiful vacation trip to Colombia.

'Catlow' performers Yul Brynner and Daliah Lavi are in the best mood during the press conference, 
held at the Hotel 'Vier Jahreszeiten' in Munich, for the premiere of the Western in Germany, march 1972.
The highly entertaining Western was directed by actor and director Sam Wanamaker (1919–1993).
Sam orchestrated a wonderful show with his Stars and excellent players in supporting roles.
The Makers, a Crew of veterans and lots of Spanish experts was quite extensive, with many well-known professionals.
DOP Edward Scaife (1912–1994) got the best out of the desert around of Almeria (Spain) with his cameras. 
Many very beautiful and impressive pictures. 
Scaife knew the conditions in the Almeria desert very well, because he filmed the cynical top notch war movie 
'Play Dirty' here some time ago.
The British Special Effects wizard Kit West was responsible for the physical effects on 'Play Dirty' and 'Catlow'.
Learn more about his work in the desert here:
Director Sam Wanamaker returned to Almeria some years after 'Catlow' for his Sinbad adventure 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger'.
'Catlow' is a well packed package with some surprises.
We need a good blu-ray!
A cheerful Daliah Lavi in Munich, Germany, 1972.
Yul Brynner and David Ladd played backgammon together at every opportunity, even between two takes in the desert.
The playful action scenes in the movie were arranged by veteran Stuntman Bob Simmons. 
He coordinated all action sequences of 'Catlow'.
Bob Simmons list of movie stunts is a long and impressive one. 
He was the stunt double for Gregory Peck in 'The Guns of Navarone' and constantly in action for James Bond.
On 'Catlow' he had a crew of hand-picked Stunt experts, including the Spanish legend Miguel Pedregosa.
The retired Spanish stuntman Miguel Pedregosa (left) was the stunt double for Yul 'Catlow' Brynner.
Miguel did stunts for the early Samuel Bronston epics ('King of the Kings', 'El Cid'), an endless list of 
Western movies ('Arizona Colt', 'Mercenario', 'El Condor',...) and other genre productions.
He did the horse stunts for James Bond 'The Living Daylights', 1987.

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

Johnny Cash, one of the most influential US country singers, on set at the 'Eaves Movie Ranch', 1971.
The excellent western town set was built in 1969 for for the Gene Kelly western 'The Cheyenne Social Club'.
Cash plays an old gunslinger in the Lamont Johnson Western film 'A Gunfight', 1971.
Kirk Douglas plays a gunman who wants to duel with Johnny in front of a large paying crowd in a bullring.
A rather lame western film that leads us along a tired path to the grand finale.
Without any problems you could cut the film as a short film without missing anything.
The climactic final duel was filmed in Spain, in the small 'plaza de toros' (bullring) of Ocaña, near Aranjuez.
The bullring was redesigned and renovated long ago, and the surrounding area has changed dramatically.
Cinematographer David M. Walsh ('Silver Streak') shots some effective pictures of the Eaves Movie Ranch and of 
the vast landscape surrounding the set.
What a dusty sleeping pill. The bad DVD I saw certainly did not help.
Johnny Cash relaxes between takes - Eaves Movie Ranch.
He looks pretty good in the movie. 
Johnny with his wife June Carter during a break in filming 'A Gunfight'.
'A Gunfight' screenshots showing the Spanish locations.
Convento de Santo Domingo (Ocaña) - The bullring a bit outside of Ocaña. 
In the background you can see the small Spanish town of Ocaña.
Many locals from the small town came to the bullring to play spectators for some Pesetas 
and a dull 'Hollywood' Show.
Abe Cross (Johnny Cash) in the bullring of Ocaña.
The slow-moving western reaches its climax. Finally!

'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' is a pretty cheerful Sci-Fi movie and TV series of the late 70s,
masterminded by Glen A.Larson ('Galactica', 'Quincy', 'Magnum, P.I.').
The 70's, a big time for sciene fiction, with 'Star Wars' and 'Battlestar Galactica' and many funny robots.
Do you remember 'biddi-biddi-biddi' Twiki?
Twiki costume test shot - promotion shot / Felix Silla.
The juvenile oriented concept of Twiki is clearly a man-in-suit thing.
A very simple, basic design for Buck's comic sidekick.
Twiki was played mainly by Felix Silla (photo) and voiced mainly by Mel Blanc.
Mel Blanc, known as 'The Man of Thousand Voices' developed and performed nearly 400 distinct character voices 
with precision and a uniquely expressive vocal range.
Felix 'Twiki' Silla was in the 'Lucifer' suit for 'Battlestar Galactica'. 
He played a creature in David Cronenbergs 'The Brood' and was an Ewok in 'Return of the Jedi'.
Felix Silla regularly attends movie related conventions and earns his money with autographs.
Check out his website:
Buck Rogers (Gil Gerard) with his buddy Twiki. Kodak 2.25 transparency.

Director John Carpenter hired the prominent visual effects company Boss Film studios to design the freaky creature effects 
for his visually striking homage to the Chinese sword and sorcery fantasy flicks.
'Boss' visual effects art director George Jenson did the concept drawings for the monsters.
He was in charge of the visual style of the cartoony creatures Carpenter needed for the show.
The lanky Wildman, some kind of hairy 'orangutan-wolfman' like creature is one of my favorite make up gags.
Once a satisfying design was selected, the Wildman was sculpted and built as a creature suit.
Steve Johnson, head of the BOSS creature shop, and his fabulous crew built the suit for 
Lo Pan’s henchmen for special tasks.
Promotion photo of Kurt Russell in the underground temple of the powerful evil sorcerer Lo Pan.
Awesome 'underground' Sets and design by Art Director Les Gobruegge and production designer John J. Lloyd.
George R. Nelson (Set Decorator) and his crew built the Sets.
35mm Kodak transparency.
Comically promo shot of Director John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. They do not bite, they just want to play!
35mm Kodak transparency.
The Boss, Richard Edlund, and his special make up effects crew (Boss Film Studios), under the supervision of 
Steve Johnson, did a wonderful job with the creature effects. A great show! Pretty cool visual effects!
A wild adventure from the 80s which still looks great today!
Edlund ('Star Wars') was a key member of George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) before he started his own company, 
the innovative Boss Film Studios.
For a look behind the scenes of some cool BOSS projects you should try: 'DIE HARD', 'OUTBREAK' or 'AIR FORCE ONE'.
Refined with many rarely shown 'making of' photos!
The chinese wildman 'beast', an 'orangutan-wolfman' from the sewers of the underworld of Little China.
'Big Trouble in Little China' Steve Johnson 'Beast' spandex suit with mechanical head.
Created by the artisans of the Boss Film creature shop under Steve Johnson, this hairy beast features a 
fully mobile head with different cable-controlled mechanics. 
Steve Johnson (in Cinefex): 'the ears pulled back, the eyes moved, they blinked, 
the brows worked just like the 'Greystoke' brows, the tongue worked, the sides of the mouth pulled back, 
the cheeks puffed out. It was definitely going away from realism, but I’ve found that the most effective use of a 
mechanical head is to do broad movement. Even if it’s not the best thing to do in all situations, it definitely worked 
in this case.'
Look at the crazy fangs, wild eyes and nasty looking resin claws.
I love that wolfman ape.
Steve Johnson started his own very successful effects company in 1986 called 'Steve Johnson's XFX'.
XFX has a long list of great special make up jobs, like 'ABYSS', 'SPECIES' and many more.
The company also did commercials, music videos and TV shows.
XFX was in charge of the special make up effects for the great TV series 'The Outer Limits' (1995).
Here is a story about the creature effects for a great 'Outer Limits' episode: 'Birthright'.
And I recently got a bunch of photos for the very memorable 'Outer Limits' episode 'The Hunt', 
where androids go hunting for humans. 
Here are 2 photos of an XFX 'The Hunt' Android in construction. Soon more about this smashing episode!
Steve Johnson cares lovingly for the fingernails of SIL ('Species'), one of the great creatures that XFX has designed.
'Species' is a brilliant show for special make up effects aficionados.
Check out the website of Steve:

George C. Scott studied all facets of General Patton very intensively.
His virtuosity as an actor supported by the outstanding make-up of Dan Striepeke earned him an Oscar.
Scott became more like Patton than Patton himself. He declined the award.
It was during 43rd Academy Awards ceremony that George C. Scott became the first actor to reject an Oscar, claiming that the 
Academy Awards were "a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons."
The famous make up expert Daniel Charles Striepeke ('The Magnificent Seven', 'Planet of the Apes', 'Tora! Tora! Tora!')
transformed Scott into Patton.
Scott got a new latex prosthetic nose, yellowing false teeth, sideburns, and white bushy eybrows with 
a subtle white wig attached to his shaved head.
Collection of foam latex prosthetic nose appliances worn by George C. Scott in his Academy Award-winning role 
as controversial general.
For several million dollars producer Frank McCarthy hired the Spanish army for the spectacular scenes of large-scale combat.
The Spanish soldiers had great respect for the eccentric performance of 'their' general.
George C.Scott became Patton. 
And the make-up design of Dan Striepeke certainly had a good share in the success.
The excellently staged epic 'Patton' was filmed on location in Spain.
Director Franklin J. Schaffner had a wonderful team of experts for the project.
Here we see the spanish crew of Special Effects Supervisor Alex Weldon in southern Spain (Cabo de Gata, Almeria), 
staging a sequence of explosions (air raid).
Make Up Supervisor Dan Striepeke hired Del Acevedo again to go on location in Spain as George's primary powder man. 
Shortly before, Striepeke and Acevedo worked together for director Richard Fleischer on 'Che!'.
They transformed Jack Palance into Fidel Castro and Omar Sharif into Che.
'Patton' and his hired army on the small bridge in Uleila del Campo (Almeria), 1969 - Comparison photo 2005.
Learn more about the spanish locations of 'Patton' here:

The surreal, circus-like fairy tale of Director Terry Gilliam is a colorfull feast of visual impressions!
Production Designer Dante Ferretti had to design over 60 sets for the troubled show. 
On the picturesque Cinecitta Stage 6, roofless since World War II bombings, Ferretti built an 
eighteenth-century theatre.
The no longer existing roof was replaced by large tarpaulins. 
But deadly heat buildup under the covered set during the day fast became a problem and the crew had to film 
the theatre sequence at night.
Not the best begin for the production.
The Stage Design of Dante Ferretti is quite bizarre and dreamlike, a trademark for the whole spectacle.
An adventure brimful of magic moments.
Welcome to the manege of madness!
Let's get ready to rumble. 
Cinecitta Night Shot for 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen', 1987.
Kodachrome 35 mm.
Magnificent, confusing stage designs and a pretty excited director.
Terry Gilliam on Stage 6, Cinecitta.
What a giant crew ...and nobody works for free. 
On the right in white T-Shirt, the renowned Italian Cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno.
Even if the camera is already running, there is a lot to do for the stage and costume crew.
Director Terry Gilliam on the Theatre Stage.
Apparently it is still very warm under the huge tarpaulin at night.
Terry Gilliam and the wrong Baron Munchausen. What a scammer! 
Everyone knows that John Neville is the biggest liar in the world. 
The brilliant Baron Munchausen, John Neville, in Cinefantastique, 1989:
'I said honestly I had no idea how to play the Baron.
Terry was nice enough to remark that he didn't know what he was doing either.'
That's the key, why 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' is a hellish charming 8-9/10 movie!
The famed Production Designer Dante Ferretti in front of one of his creations.
A Casino for the outstanding Martin Scorsese Mafia flick 'Casino'.
I very much enjoyed the crazy sets he designed for the Baron.

The Stan Winston crew built two state-of-the-art hydraulic full-size T-Rex puppet rigs (head to mid-torso) 
for 'The Lost World'.
The female and male 'T-Rexes' were equipped with innovative mechanical understructures, improvements in 
technology and animatronic performance.
An extreme improvement of the T-Rex control was achieved by a smoothly and efficiently working telementry device.
Mom and Dad T-Rex are proving to be quite dynamic and agile in defending their offspring.
The 2nd Jurassic Park show was again an extensive challenge for the artists of the Stan Winston Studio.
There are excellent special make up effects and terrific dinosaurs designed by the Winston crew.
An outstanding film series!
The photorealistic, full-motion dinosaurs became actors through the impressive work of Stan Winston (photo), 
visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren (ILM), physical effects supervisor Michael Lantieri and 
animation supervisor Phil Tippett, backed by their resourceful teams of experts.
Together they developed some great dinosaur gags.
35 mm Kodachrome.
The T-Rex family got a fresh design and color scheme. Dad is the prettier ...but mom is the boss.
And Size does matter!
Painter Tim Larsen beautifies the colossal teeth of a T-Rex.
The splendidly painted skin (foam latex) of the T-Rex family looks really lively. 
The head, mouth, teeth, all top-notch!
35 mm Kodachrome. 
Painting the teeth of a primeval steak lover - Tim Larsen paints the huge fangs of the full-size T-Rex (head to mid-torso).
He was soon able to use his 'Lost World' experience with big teeth as a painter for 'Godzilla' (1998).
Tim painted the 'naked' creatures for different special make up shops:
Stan Winston Studio, Cannom Creations, Patrick Tatopoulos Designs and Spectral Motion.
35 mm Kodachrome.
Zoo keeper Stan Winston in trouble - A T-Rex is not as excited as expected about his lunch (hydraulic oil).
The well-known paleontologist Jack Horner was the Dino consultant for the Jurassic Park series.
The dinosaurs should come as close as possible to the scientific facts.

The art of choreography! - Part 1
The Mitchell B-25 was used as flying camera platform for the numerous dogfight sequences in 'Battle of Britain'.
The brightly colored camera ship was called 'The Psychedelic Monster' by the crew.
It was always right in the middle of the action and easy to recognize by all pilots.
See the photo above for details about how they converted the B-25 into a camera ship for the movie.
The Psychedelic Monster was flown by pilots John 'Jeff' Hawke and Duane Egli.
Skeets Kelly (rear) and John Jordan (front) were the aerial camera operators for the brilliantly choreographed dogfights.
Chief pilot Jeff Hawke (black sweater) in discussion with some of the pilots at the tail of the plane.
The experienced cameraman for aerial photography, Skeets Kelly, is the man for the open tail camera position.
He is a little protected by a deflector, but still it blows quite fresh here.
But nobody was closer to the action!
The plexiglass nose of the camera ship was meticulously cleaned and prepared.
Insects were a big problem on location in Spain, especially in the lower air layers and during takeoff.
One spanish mosquito on the plexiglass nose can destroy the best shot.
The crew had a cover for the nose which was ripped off when the ship reaches the dogfight altitude for the filming.
That is not without danger, as the cover could get into one of the propellers.
Numerous aerial battles and wild flying maneuvers by Spitfires and Hurricanes in the immediate vicinity of 
the relatively stationary flying camera platform require a good choreography to avoid accidents.
Everyone always has to know exactly where the other is and what should happen next.
All dogfight scenes are precisely planned in advance with the help of small models.
Sitting on the right, camera ship pilot Jeff Hawkes. 
On the left, with a coffee in his hands, aerial cameraman Skeets Kelly.
Together with second Unit Director David Bracknell (in the middle) the guys are planning the next flight maneuvers 
close to the B-25 camera ship.
Cinematographer Skeets Kelly (1913–1970) and three others were killed in a mid-air collision between a helicopter 
and a biplane during filming of 'Zeppelin' in Ireland, August 18, 1970.
Cameraman Johnny Jordan met a similar tragic fate.
See more of 'Battle of Britain' here: Eagle Day - Making Of.
The art of choreography! - Part 2
A well rehearsed choreography is important not only in the air ('Battle of Britain'), but also on the road.
The Director of 'Speed', Jan de Bont, and his Stunt crew uses small toy cars to plan upcoming scenes.
Toys for the boys.
Stunt Coordinator Legend Gary Hymes (right) has brought along his Hot Wheels collection to accurately coordinate 
the scenes with the raging bus in 'Speed'.
Director Jan de Bont (left) explains what he wants to see.
Soon more on this smashing Action film.
35 mmm Kodachrome.

'Frenchie King', 1971. On Set in Colmenar Viejo, near Madrid (Spain).
Brigitte Bardot is visiting the Ranch of Claudia Cardinale with the intention to buy a horse.
Claudia offers her a wild barely controllable one, but to the surprise of all Brigitte can handle it.
In reality, Brigitte was quite afraid of the horse and the wild ride through the corral.
Director Christian-Jaque used a stunt double for most of the corral scenes.
Brigitte Bardot sat on the horse for only a few scenes (seconds).
For some close-ups Brigitte sat on a small ladder/platform.
On the left you can see the stunt double of Brigitte for the riding scenes and the jump on the horse.
He is wearing the same clothes and a blonde wig.
'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman that makes Brigitte Bardot look so fine...
Does anyone know the name of the stunt double?
Brigitte (stunt double) rides off with the horse.
The Girls had a lot of fun during the production of the movie in Spain.
Learn more about the 'Frenchie King' Locations in Colmenar Viejo (Madrid) here: 'Little P. Ranch'.

Ebay madness of the week.
A single 35mm Kodachrome slide of the Robert Wise movie 'The Sand Pebbles', 1966, 
sold last week for sensational $255 on ebay!
Wow, this is rough!
This is the $255 Slide showing Steve McQueen and makeup artist Del Acevedo.
Such prices are far beyond what I am willing to pay. No problem.
Names like McQueen, Eastwood, John Wayne or Raquel Welch often reach very high prices. 
Only rarely are the photos/slides really rare and you pay a lot for a name.
Your choice.
What I really don't like is that people buy a photo/slide for an astronomically high price and than
try to refinance by selling copies. 
I hate this!
There are so many copies on ebay, disgusting!
Kids, do not buy such crap!
Nothing is better than the original! - A copy has no value!
You need a bit of luck, but you can still get real rarities and originals for little money even today.

'Wyatt Earp' (1994), the story of a true American Western Legend. 
A gripping epic western with Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid and many more terrific Players and experienced Makers.
See many fascinating aspects of the multi-millon dollar production, illustrated with a 
bunch of stunning behind-the-scenes photos.
You should not miss this!
Since the arrival of a badge-for-hire named Wyatt Earp, Main Street has been made safe again.
See the Story behind the Spectacle: The Making of 'Wyatt Earp'.

Several scenes of the ill-fated epic production 'Cleopatra' were filmed in Almeria, Spain, with locations in 
Cabo de Gata, Tabernas and the Alcazaba de Almería.
The Battle of Pharsalus was filmed in the Desierto de Tabernas, mainly in the Rambla del Cautivo.
Here is a nice promotion photo staged in the Rambla del Cautivo.
Charlton Heston used the spanish 'Cleopatra' material to upgrade his own 'small-art' epic 'Antony and Cleopatra'.
Costume test for the Officers on loaction in the Rambla del Cautivo.
This Rambla is very easy to reach and was therefore extremely often used as a movie location, 
even American TV series were filmed here ('Rat Patrol').
Second Unit 'Action' director Andrew Marton (left), Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz and 20th Century Fox boss 
Darryl F. Zanuck talk about the battle scenes in Spain, on location in the Desierto de Tabernas (Almeria).
Of course there was a big hype about Cleopatra in Almeria, but the filming took less than 20 days and 
Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) never came to Almeria for the filming of the movie.
Learn more about the thrilling production here:
- The Pinewood Fiasco 
- The Ships of Cleopatra
- Snake Dancers