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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!"
June 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!

British actor Richard Johnson (Bulldog Drummond) takes time off from filming location scenes in the 
small Italian port of Lerici.
He relaxed while fishing on the Mediterranean Sea side of the breakwater of Lerici.
The smart small town was an ideal filming location for the swinging sixties spy flick 'Deadlier than the Male', 
directed by Ralph Thomas (1915–2001).
Fish on! Bulldog Drummond has a sea monster on the hook!
Watched by Director Ralph Thomas (extreme left) the first unit of DOP Ernest Steward is filming location scenes 
in the port of Lerici.
The lady sitting there is veteran 'continuity' expert Gladys Goldsmith (Kelly's Heroes, Moonraker).
The camera crew mount the small and very versatile Arriflex camera aboard a little boat in Lerici.
Some nice shots from unusual angles were created with the camera (like the out of the boat shots!).
Here you find some more information about the Arriflex: Camera Operator Enrique Bravo.
As I'm a huge fan of the Bulldog Drummond films, you will find several stories about the vibrant spy-spoof genre hits
hidden in the shallows of this website.
Do not worry, I'll help you!
A nice story about the physical effects of 'Deadlier than the Male' can be found here: Spear Guns and explosions.
Here is one on the makeup work: Bloody fingernails.
The great Chess Game Studio Set of 'Deadlier than the Male' is featured here: Checkmate!
And here is a story on the tear gas grenade attack in 'Some Girls Do': Crazy chicks!
Lots of colorful surprises!
(The b/w photos were made by the still photographer of 'Deadlier than the Male', John Jay. (1920–2005)).

'The Wild Geese' had big influence and a large impact on the exploitation-genre of the mercenary film.
The top-notch action film, directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, is a bloody rough style icon!
All the Special Effects work on that explosive show was supervised by the British wizard Kit West.
He told me about the harsh working conditions in South Africa. There was a lack of equipment and materials.
An old-school show for the special effects crew, who had to improvise and magic a lot.
Director McLaglen absolutely needed a camera crane to be able to adequately film in the wild bush.
But a 'Chapman' was not available. 
The Special Effects crew found an old Ford Truck and they built their own camera crane from scratch.
Unfortunately, the sun and the climatic conditions in South Africa were not good for the paper photos and polaroids 
(color changes, white surface, scratches,...).
Anyway, these are rare never before published documents of the making of 'The Wild Geese'.
The camera crane totally built by the Special Effects department of Kit West on the back of a Ford truck.
The building you see there was the SP/FX garage, were the boys worked on the crane and designed all the special effects 
gadgets and gizmos for the show.
The camera crane in action. No engines, the thing was brought into position by hand.
The filming in the wilderness was day by day a pure adventure...
Kit: 'No one thought about snakes or other dangerous animals!'
No problem for 'The Best Damn Mercenaries in the Business!' - promotion tagline.
Director Andrew V. McLaglen, cinematographer Jack Hildyard (Villa Rides!) and his crew all loved the camera crane 
and made intensive use of it.
Without the camera crane from the Sp/Fx magic garage, many first-class filmed scenes would hardly have been possible.
Kit: 'The camera lens could be raised from 3 ft to 22 ft, carrying 2 people, and rotated 360 degrees.'
Special Effects Supervisor Kit West prepares to play a small 'walk on part'.
I'm working on more 'The Wild Geese' stories about the making of the movie. Stay tuned!

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

After the crash landing of the Harkonnen Ornithopter in the 'Forbidden Zone', Lady Jessica and Paul Atreides 
walk through the dangerous desert (Sandworms) to find a safe mountain range.
On the Churubusco Studio backlot they built the Sets for this sequence.
A man-made cliff with a mechanical 'rock' and a piece of desert.
The artificial rock wall/cliff is supported by a scaffold - see photo above!
The special effects boys (Kit West) built a mechanically controlled rock which could be released on cue to simulate 
the attack of a colossal sandworm. 
Filming on the Churubusco backlot. 
Lady Jessica and Paul Atreides on the way to the secure rocky cliff they saw in the distance.
The special effects crew unleashes a small sandstorm.
The camera crew on the crane protects themselves from the fine particles.
Director David Lynch, sitting on the right, renounces any protection.
Kodachrome slide of the filming.
A dusty night shot, large parts of the backlot area are captured by the hardly controllable 'particle clouds'.
The air is filled with grit.
Everyone from the crew protects themselves somehow (masks,..) except the actors and Director David Lynch?
Windmachines/fans distribute the fine sand particles in all directions.
Kodachrome 35mm slide.
Filming inside of 'the man-made cliff'. 
Lady Jessica and Paul think they're safe, but ...
A giant sandworm crashes against the rock face ...to say hello!
The mechanically controlled rock offers a nice little show and finally Paul slides down the rock face.
...plop, he landed softly.
Physical Effects Supervisor Kit West (black cap) quickly distributes some dust/sand and the scene is ready!
You will find more about the filming of 'DUNE' here: The Physical Effects.
The moon-city-garbage.agency in-house blog is full of 'Dune' stories.
Here is one about the rescue of the Spice Harvester Crew: Studio Backlot Sets.
Another one is about the 'Hell of Samalayuca': Burning tires.
But there is much more, you should not miss it!

About 2 years ago I got an awesome set of over 100+ 35mm slides showing the making of the 
J. Lee Thompson epic 'Taras Bulba'.
The transparencies mainly deal with the filming in the wide-open spaces outside of Salta (Argentina) with hundreds of 
Extras (Gauchos) from Salta and surroundings. Terrific material, never published.
I have withheld the cool stuff so far, because I heard of a promising movie documentation, 'When the Pueblo was Hollywood', 
about the people of Salta, who worked for the 'Taras Bulba' production. 
Director Federico Windhausen did several interviews with the Gauchos involved and surely got some first-hand information.
I tried hard to get a copy of it, but I did not even get close to any information about it.
Where did that thing go?
I contacted the director several times, no answer. Nothing.
Now I have high hopes that one of you might be able to help. 
Would really love to get a copy of that documentation and bring it together with my 'behind the scenes' material for 
an interesting 'making of' story.
Please contact me if you can help in any way - mail to: spacevampire(a)moon-city-garbage.agency
The photo above shows director J. Lee Thompson in discussion with Ilka Windish and Yul Brynner.
The once spacious Eastman Color epic, intended as a lengthy road-show, was sadly drastically edited down to a small scale adventure.
Well, it's still a thrilling visual experience!
'Entrada', entrance, stands on the sign hanging above the 'black hole' in the wire mesh fence.
The entrance to felicity?
The entrance to the 'Hollywood' dollars?
In a long queue Gauchos stand in front of the entrance and hope for a job as an Extra for 'Taras Bulba'.
What daily rate did the production pay per man? etc...etc...- The documentation could possibly help !?
The Gauchos of Salta, who were hired, received their costume and are looking forward to the upcoming tasks.
Who are these people?
Meal break on Set near Salta, Argentina, for the 'Taras Bulba' team (Crew, Actors, Extras).
Looks like a nice buffet lunch with different delicacies.
The American Crew members can even try Bidu Cola, the popular Argentinian cola soft drink.
Very famous in Argentina and South America in the years 1940-1970.

Great ingenuity and flexibility!
When the required dolly tracks, which insures that the camera will move smoothly over the ground, did not show up in time 
for the filming of the Sidney Lumet War movie 'The Hill', the resourceful crew used a baby carriage for some offbeat 'dolly shots'.
People on the military prison camp set built in the sand dunes of Almeria (Spain) were prone to wonder whether they were 
seeing and undersize baby carriage or an oversize baby.
Actually they saw a cameraman being wheeled in the stroller. Necessity is the mother of invention.
Is this DOP Oswald Morris playing the dolly grip by pushing the stroller back and forth in the camp Set?
Oswald Morris is the 1966 BAFTA winner for Best British Black-and-White Cinematography for 'The Hill'.
For Director Sidney Lumet he lensed 4 movies: 'The Hill' (BAFTA Winner), 'EQUUS' , 'The Wiz' (AA Nomination) and 
'Just tell me what you want'.
Several scenes of 'The Hill' were filmed in the Ramblas of Tabernas (Almeria, Spain).
This truck is cruising through the Rambla el Cautivo, a classic easy to reach movie Rambla. 
Well done comparison photo - El Cautivo, Tabernas.
On the far right you can see a small piece of the highway that has replaced the old country road.
Parts of the old road are still there ...and guide you to some interesting filming locations.
'The Hill' - El Cautivo, 1964.
The truck whirls up a lot of desert dust.
Comparison photo - Tabernas, El Cautivo, 2011.
Today the landscape is obviously greener than it was in 1964!
Learn more about movie locations in Spain here:

While in Madrid shooting the 'Fall of the Roman Empire', on a day off, 
Stephen Boyd visited the world-famous Prado musuem in Madrid to get in the right mood for the 
colossal Sam Bronston epic.
The Prado is a popular destination for movie stars who came to Madrid for filming.
Stephen Boyd gained many impressions of Roman history here ...and he finally met good old Marcus Aurelius!
Check out the website of the museum to learn more about The Prado:
Visibly impressed by the grandeur and aura, Livio (Stephen Boyd) stands in front of the bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius,
Prado Musuem.
Alec Guinness played Marcus Aurelius in 'Fall of the Roman Empire'.
A modern (XVI century) white marble bust of emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.) with an impressive weight of 172 Kg. 
This work follows the model of the ancient bronze equestrian statue that Michelangelo placed in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, 
which is now in the Capitoline Museums. 
The use of a trepan to craft the hair, as well as the eyes and facial expression link it to other sixteenth-century busts 
in the palace of the Duke of Mantua. 
Efforts have been made to establish that this piece originally came to Spain as part of the group of works 
sent to Felipe II by Cardinal Ricci.
Dimensions of the bust: Height: 107 cm - Width: 94 cm - Base/bottom: 38 cm.
Sculpted marble Bust of The Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD), 1600 - 1650.
This portrait of Hadrian does not follow a specific classical model, freely interpreting elements such as 
the curls of his hair and his expression. 
It may have belonged to Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689). 
Dimensions of the bust: Height: 95 cm - Width: 70 cm - Base/bottom: 28 cm - Weight: 101.8 Kg.
Stephen Boyd in a one-way conversation with Emperor Traianus (98-117 A.D.).
A 145.2 Kg white marble bust of the emperor, made as one of the series of emperors produced in Rome during the first half 
of the sixteenth century, which were scattered throughout Europe.
Dimensions of the bust: Height: 102 cm - Width: 75 cm - Vertical depth: 40 cm.
My multi-part series about the making of the gigantic epic 'The Fall of the Roman Empire' goes on!
Coming soon a story about the finnish actress Lena von Martens and her tragic role as Mafia princess.
In the Bronston epic Lena played a lovely barbarian girl (Helva).
The photo shows her during a break, skiing around the Valsain Fortress Set near Segovia (Spain).
If you browse through my blog, you will quickly come across more stories and anecdotes about 
the thrilling production of 'Fall of the Roman Empire'.
Here is one on Christopher Plummer and his happy adventure in Spain: The whiskey is here!
A comprehensive story illuminates the famous Chariot Race: The Grand Prix of Spain!