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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!"
November 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!

Special makeup effects designer Rob Bottin was one of the key figures among the makers of 'Total Recall'.
He designed a wide rage of straightforward prosthetic makeups, more complex ones and challenging 
animatronic surprises for the show.
On the photo we see Rob and cinematographer Jost Vacano watching prosthetic appliance expert Stephan Dupuis at work.
Stephan is giving a mutant mars lady finishing makeup touches.
The Mars colonists have to live and work in cruel conditions.
The cheap and inadequate radiation shielding installed over their work and residential areas has resulted in 
genetic mutations and creepy deformities.
Rob took the opportunity and developed some great and weirdo makeup designs, like a triple-breasted Hooker.
The straightforward makeup designs of the mutants of Venusville are fantastic. Shocking great!
'Total Recall' is full of good vibrations and far away from being a standard Action flick.
There is much more to discover here.
Stephan Dupuis (right) working on the prosthetic makeup of Monica Steuer. 
The radiation and its consequences.
She plays a mutant mother on Mars in the ghetto district of Venusville.
Check out the website of Stephen Dupuis to learn more about his work:
The mutant mother and her child, played by Sasha Rionda.
Perfect straightforward makeup design face deformities.
Rehearsing of a scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger and a mutant - Churubusco Studios, Mexico.
Quaid (Schwarzenegger) is on the way to the 'Last Resort' Bordello.
This mutant wants to predict the future for him.
Another Rob Bottin makeup design, simple but effective!
Rob Bottin (right) working on the makeup of the fortune-teller mutant.
I love such straightforward makeup designs without frills!
35mm Kodachrome
Director Paul Verhoeven (left) is filming a scene in the Venusville ghetto with some 'Bottin' mutants.
The devilish Cohaagen (Ronny Cox), 'King of Mars', has cut off the oxygen supply from Venusville.
With the help of a bunch of first-class experts Verhoeven was able to orchestrate a perfect show.
The Venusville Set and some other huge sets where built on giant stages of the Churubusco Studios in Mexico.
'Total Recall' promotion shot with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Director Paul Verhoeven and Venusville mutants.
They enjoy a 'Mars Burger' to celebrate one of the best Schwarzenegger movies!
The visual magicians of the 'Total Recall' production absolutely deserved to win the SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.
The Honorary Award goes to Alex Funke (director of miniature photography), Eric Brevig (visual effects supervisor), 
Rob Bottin (makeup genius) and Tim McGovern (visual effects CGI director).
See more of Rob Bottin and his work for 'Total Recall' here: The robot-driven Johnnycab.
More to come!

What kind of Cavalry is this lined up at Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1959? 
There's not a Mustang in sight, but these saddles and bridles ride sawhorses, 
built for easy storage during the filming of 'The Horse Soldiers', with John Wayne and William Holden.
The long lines of riding equipment were the special responsibility of two men who had to 
keep everything in proper shape for the civil war epic, directed by John Ford.
Obviously there was not much rain expected during the filming around Natchitoches, 
as they stored the saddles outdoors.
Exterior scenes were filmed along the banks of Cane River Lake, Natchitoches.
Ford's western picture is brimful with powerful and heroic cavalry scenes with a bunch of extras, 
horse experts, stunt men and locals.
During filming of the climactic cavalry battle scene, veteran stuntman Fred Kennedy ('Prince Valiant', 'The Searchers') 
suffered a broken neck while performing a horse fall and died.
Fred Kennedy died on December 5, 1958 in Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA.
John Wayne, Director John Ford and William Holden rides where only the great ones go.
Cinematographer William H. Clothier, best remembered for his work with director John Ford on different 
western films, shot some audacious cavalry rides.

I recently got a very interesting mail from Owen Gale, living in Cardigan, West Wales.
He is the proud owner of 8 of the giant Chess figures designed for the movie 'Deadlier than the Male'.
Bulldog Drummond (Richard Johnson) is holding a small chess piece, a King, in his hand on this rare promotion photo.
On the right is a picture of the full-size chess piece.
Originally one set was painted in black and one in silver.
But now we let Owen tell us the story:
"I recently came across your website when researching the provenance of some rather unusual giant chess pieces I have come 
to own (they were stored in a property I purchased a few years ago).
I poured over the photographs with great delight of the filming of Deadlier than the Male - and as you posed the question 
'where are they today?' - I thought you may be interested to know, that 8 of them at least, still survive and are currently 
in my garage!
I acquired them when I bought a country house hotel near Cardigan in West Wales - apparently then had been used as features 
on a woodland walk for some time, though when I purchased the hotel in 2011 it seemed they had been in storage for some years. 
They have obviously been repainted a number of times over the years, the paint is now flaking and you can see traces of the 
original black and silver as they were originally underneath.
I've moved house with them once, and have been meaning to restore them since they came into my ownership - 
sadly with another house move coming up I think it's time for me to admit that I'm never going to get around to 
restoring them and will look at selling them."
Owen's nice collection of 'Deadlier than the Male' Chess Pieces.
1 x King - 200cm high x 75cm wide
1 x Queen - 200cm high x 75cm wide
2 x Knights - 205cm high x 95cm wide
1 x Bishop - 210cm high x 75cm wide
1 x Rook - 205cm high c 80cm wide
2 x Pawns - 183cm high x 70cm wide
The old Pinewood props/chess figures are made of solid fibreglass.
Over the years (actually, it's decades!) the figures have been painted over in various colours.
Owen currently offers the chess pieces on ebay UK (England).
Special Thanks to Owen Gale!
Bulldog Drummond next to a 'Knight' chess figure in a movie scene and how it looks like today, 
more than 50 years later! Great that a few of the chess pieces have survived.
Learn more about the awesome Pinewood Chess Set here: Giant mechanical Chess Elevator

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

'The Big Fisherman' is a colossal 180 minutes biblical epic directed by Frank Borzage back in the late 50s.
The oversized epic is rarely shown and propbably widely unknown to the most of you. 
There is no blu-ray, not even a DVD release available!
I have an old video tape (TV?) with a shorter version of the movie.
Unfortunately, the quality is only very moderate.
The real quality of some apparently magnificent pictures can hardly be enjoyed.
Would love to see the old 70mm version on the big screen.
It's surely not a brilliant movie and even the already shortened version I think is still too long.
The thin story stumbles ahead, without having a clear line.
Borzage seems to have no well thought out idea where to go with it.
Even the ingenious Art Director and Production Designer John DeCuir is in trouble here, 
with a few partly strange-looking sets.
Well, on the other hand the movie was good enough for several Academy Award nominations, 
but lost to an overpowering opponent, 'Ben Hur'.
The visual value of 'The Big Fisherman' is really splendid.
Cinematographer Lee Garmes lensed some impressively beautiful scenes with the new Super Panavison 70 system, 
the spherical (non-anamorphic) 70mm format.
The photo shows DOP Lee Garmes, with white hat, next to actor Howard Keel (excellent show!) and Director
Frank Borzage on Set near Pyramid Lake (?), Los Angeles.
Look at the 'colossal' camera equipment.
Hope to see the movie on blu-ray one day!
Behind the Scenes.
Filming a scene with the excellent Howard Keel.
The musical Star is surprisingly good in this overlong epic!
The entire Cast (and Crew!) is doing a fine job.
I especially praise Herbert Lom.
He is pretty amazing in his role as vicious oriental despot Herod Antipas.
A closer view into the scene and at the hidden MGM Camera 65,
which actually is a slightly modified 65mm Mitchell camera system housed in a Panavision aluminum blimp.
'The Big Fisherman' was the first film shot in the new Super Panavision 70.
The format is characterized by using a spherical lens with a 2.20 aspect ratio instead of an anamorphic lens 
(Ultra Panavision 70, 2.76 aspect ratio).
Due to the enormous Panavision soundproof cover (blimp), designed by the famous Tak Miyagishima, 
the camera appears like an immobile 'monster'.
A heavy shapely box with lens. 
A few brilliant movies used the spherical lens Super Panavision 70 system, like 'Ice Station Zebra' and '2001'.
'Lawrence of Arabia' is the Super Panavison 70 masterpiece, with the great Freddie Young 
behind the camera. 
He won an Academy Award for his work on the movie.

One of the external effects houses that helped Rick Baker and his crew to fabricate the numerous alien figures for 'MIB' in time was 
the KNB EFX Group ('Dr.Giggles') of Rick Nicotero and Howard Berger.
Among other things, KNB was responsible for the two tentacled creatures, Blblup and Bob, who are working on the huge 
egg-shaped Oberservation monitor in the HQ.
The Twins observe the movements of all the Aliens on our little planet with the help of giant keyboards and 
their 8 tentacles and one big eye.
The perfect job for guys with nimble fingers ...
The KNB boys playing with their 'Men in Black' toy.
The four-foot squid guys are cable-operated puppets with 8 controllable tentacles (via four-way Joystick) and 
one yellow eye per creature.
Incredible 18 puppeteers were needed to fill one creature with life. 
The flower like yellow squid eye on a moveable stalk is a pretty cool gag.
The eye was made from two vacuformed spheres filled with a yellow liquid.
All in all an ingenious concept!
With 8 arms you can handle a lot of keyboards at the same time and the big telescope eye sees everything!
For more behind-the-scenes 'MIB' gimmicks I recommend: Crash landing of a Saucer!
Learn more about the KNB EFX Group here:
The Twins waiting for their 'Action' call in front of the giant egg-shaped monitor.
What a great Set design!
In the finished scene in the movie the two professionals monitor several aliens simultaneously.
One of the suspicious aliens is Sylvester Stallone! 
Rambo an Alien from planet Botox?
I didn't see that coming.
Here you find a story about the Special Makeup effects for 'MIB II': Alien bounty hunters.

'Anaconda' seems like a typical creature shocker, trivial on almost all levels.
But suddenly, out of the blue, emerges this high quality animatronic marvel!
A completely surprising surprise effect! Great!
The mechanized Anaconda snakes of Walt Conti lift the film out of the swamp of oblivion.
Building a believable, moveable snake puppet is Creature-shop 'Champions League'.
Achieving that characteristic sinuous movement of a snake requires a large number of individually controlled joints, 
all packaged in a long and very slender form.
Highest level of difficulty!
Walt Conti entered new worlds with his engineering talent back in the 90s.
His two giant snakes are brimfull with visionary custom designed components and developments.
Of course you want to see a Snake with 250 horsepower hydraulics and a torque of several tons.
Our Zoo is open daily for your visit: Anaconda robots from outer Space!
Public feedings every day at 10 o'clock.
Warning! Nobody puts his little fingers through the fence!

'Guns of Navarone' - On Set on Rhodes, Greece.
Princess Irene of the Greek Royal Family visits Anthony Quinn on the Set.
The Princess was very friendly and followed the shooting on Rhodes with great interest.
In the early 60s she visited the colossal film sets of the Samuel Bronston epics in Madrid, Spain, 
like the gigantic 'Peking' Set built for '55 days at Peking'.
Samuel Bronston personally invited her to the grandiose release party of '55 days at Peking'.
The photo also shows two officers of the Hellenic Navy.
Producer Carl Foreman got every help imaginable from the Greek Navy, Army and Royal Family.
If required, the production could draw on many hundreds of soldiers (Extras), Navy ships and much more.
The Producer was also generously supported with military hardware and in all matters of logistics and transport.
Best conditions for a film production!
The Greek Navy helped with the transport of equipment and material to the island of Rhodes with the landing ship 'Samos'.
The photo (transparency) shows the L179 'Samos' in the Mandraki harbour of Rhodes.
The 'Samos' (1943–1977) was an LST-1-class tank landing ship of the United States Navy, the USS LST-33, 
before she was transferred to the Royal Hellenic Navy and renamed 'Samos'.
Greek soldiers unload the landing ship in the Mandraki harbour.
This plane is acting as the German reconnaissance aircraft which discovered the ragged fishing boat on the way to Navarone. 
It flies over the fishing boat a few times and shortly afterwards a German patrol boat appears (Look here: Explosion on Sea).
There are a few similarities, I think the plane should probably play the German reconnaissance aircraft Fieseler Fi 156.
Actually it is an appropriately painted Piper PA-18 Super Cub.
The Piper was a good choice, the scenes with her are pretty convincing.
Trucks leave the landing ship - Mandraki harbour.
The Navy/Military did everything to help. 
The production had to take over only the fuel costs.
The guns are reassembled in the harbour and driven to the location.
Rhodes was an excellent, visually impressive location which gave the film a fine picturesque backdrop.
James Darren had married shortly before shooting and enjoyed his honeymoon on the filming set on Rhodes with his wife.
Here you find some photos: Evy & James - Honeymoon on Navarone.
Filming of the Destroyer Convoy for 'Guns of Navarone'.
Extraordinary but true,  producer Carl Foreman convinced the Greek Navy to provide half the fleet for the filming.
Several of the 'British' destroyers in the rescue convoy at the end of the film are old American WWII ships (surplus ships) that had been 
transferred to the Greek navy.
Looks like an old WWII US Navy Destroyer. 
One of the warships in the film is the old USS Slater. 
During the filming it served as a training ship in the Hellenic Navy known as 'Aetos' (D-01).
Today it is back in the USA and preserved as a museum ship in Albany, New York.
Producer Carl Foreman (on the far left) orchestrates the 'Destroyer Ballet' with Officers of the Hellenic Navy.
The positions of the ships were discussed in detail for the show.
The Greek Royal Family invited the director, producer and the main stars to a party aboard one of the Destroyers. 
Is this the work of the Oscar winning special effects masters Bill Warrington and Wally Veevers or have the Destroyers
fired a few shots?
Looks like the real thing!
2.25 transparency.

Shepperton Studio Pool - Sinking of the Titanic - 'Guns of Navarone'
The scenes with the phony hellenic fishing boat in the pool were extremely stressful for all involved ... and dreadful wet!
What a great photo. A hellish pool with sneaky waves.
Welcome to the diving course for beginners!
A completely exhausted Anthony Quayle ...and look at him, something is going through his head.
Just one more wave and he will throw Director J.Lee Thompson (standing on the platform) into the water...
The pool was probably too small for the size and number of installed dump tanks (tip tanks).
A big washing machine.
Learn more about this sequence here: Acting up a storm!
If you are interested in further stories about this superior Epic I recommend a large-scale expedition into the spiny 
moon-city-garbage blog. 
A big pile of rare photos will blow you out of the rubber dinghy.
And more glimpses behind the scenes will follow, exclusively on this viciously channel!

'The Magnificent Seven' is one of only a handful of true Cult horse operas.
In any case, it is one of the most popular Western films ever! 
Director John Sturges and his 'Mag 7' delivered an excellent entertainment package, a great show.
During filming, Yul Brynner married his girlfriend Doris Kleiner on March 31, 1960.
For this happy occasion, the couple gave a big BBQ party on the set in Mexico.
Wedding party on set in Mexico. 
Yul Brynner with his wife Doris and his son Rock. 
And who is standing next to Rock Brynner, Yuls best buddie Steve McQueen!
Yul and McQueen developed a disastrous relationship on set.
Steve tried to drew the audience’s focus off Brynner and onto him with a few little simple but effective 
background activities:
He played with his gun, checked his bullets, took off his hat, twisted in the saddle, any bit of action possible.
Both men possessed egos the size of the Grand Canyon.
Yul Brynner was the Star and McQueen just one of many young rebels.
McQueen was like a little fly which always lands on places where it shouldn't.
Brynner probably thought, what the hell, give the fly a chance.
The newly married couple hosted a great 'Wedding Fiesta' with a Mexican Mariachi combo playing some hits.
For the celebration they used many of the same props which where prepared for the fiesta scene in the movie.
The Tequila flowed in streams ... and it was not long before one or the other wanted to show off his singing skills.
Yul tried hard to get faster with the colt to outbeat Steve McQueen.
He had the perfect trainer for this mission, the renowned quick-draw artist Rodd Redwing.
Even the devilish Calvera, leader of the group of marauding bandits who terrorize the small Mexican 
farming village every year, congratulates nicely.
From left to right: Vin (Steve McQueen), Doris, Calvera (Eli Wallach), Chris (Yul Brynner), Chico (Horst Buchholz) 
and Harry (Brad Dexter).
The little farming village was rebuilt pretty nicely in Spain (near Alicante) for the sequel, 'Return of the Seven'.
You should also check out this:

There are more interesting news regarding the chess pieces from 'Deadlier than the Male'.
I got some feedback on the story of Owen Gale and his 8 chess figures.
Helen & John Moran from Wales contacted me with great photos and their research results on the figures:
"I was forwarded a link to your amazing website by a friend who spotted the article about the giant chess pieces. 
Just thought you'd like to know that there is another one, alive and well and also living in Wales.
Back in 2014 we were watching a home makeover show which went to a reclamation yard, and there in the background was what 
looked like a giant bishop chess piece. Having got the phone number for the yard we contacted them, and yes they'd recently 
decided to sell it. He had been their yard mascot, and was named 'Harold'. 
Anyway poor 'Harold' was in quite a state, not just flaking paint, but holes and splits in the fiberglass. 
They sent lots of emails showing the condition, 
and we decided to buy him, so they packed him on a pallet and sent him up to North Wales."
The chess pieces had a busy life.
The only other appearance of the fiberglass characters that I knew is in James Bond 'The Man with the golden Gun' (1974).
A great gig together with Christopher Lee! 
Thanks to Helen & John I learned that you can also see the chess pieces in the 'Timelash' episode of Gerry Anderson's 
'UFO' TV series (1971).
In 1972 they showed up in the Reg Varney film 'Double Take' (aka 'Go for a Take').
The chess family had their last known appearance in an episode of the cult TV show 'The Sweeney', 
'Queen's Pawn' (1975). 
Let me know if you have any further information!
The motley color scheme of the chess pieces from Wales (Owen/John & Helen) might be the one from the 'UFO' episode.
They were prominently featured in the 'Timelash' episode, in a glorious chase scene in a heavily fogged warehouse.
Helen & John Moran:
"When 'Harold' arrived we were wondering how to get him restored, and discovered the local boatyard 
had a fiberglass specialist. 
We asked if they fancied a challenge, and yes they did! They removed layers of paint, and restored the bodywork."
"As the original paint was silver, that's the finish we chose. 
He now lives happily in our lounge, watching TV. 
He's sometimes on it too!!"
How cool is that!?
The silver Bishop of 'Deadlier than the Male' looks younger than ever.
Special thanks to Helen & John Moran for the photos and information.
Learn more about 'Deadlier than the Male' here: Speargun Babes.
Informations on the make up fx can be found here: Chanel Blood

Epic-style film promotion from the year 1962 - The Bounty sails up the Thames! 
The famous ship The Bounty , built by MGM in Lundenberg, Nova Scotia, for the new film 
'Mutiny on the Bounty', sails up the river Thames today, from Boston (U.S.A.).
The Bounty is on a current round the world tour, and will tie-up at Tower Stairs Tier, 
in the pool of London, for a week-long stay.
This exciting visit by a ship, whoose name is written in the annals of history, 
will herald in magnificent style the glittering charity event , the Premiere of MGM's Epic sea drama 
'Mutiny on the Bounty', at the Royalty Theatre, Kingsway on November 19th, 
which is being organized by the Variety Club of Great Britain in aid of the 
Edwina Mountbatten Trust Fund and the Variety Club Heart Fund.
These were the good old days of film promotion with class and style.
The full-scale replica of the Bounty moored in the pool of London for the film's premiere - What a clever show!

The famous production designer Terence Marsh (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Spaceballs) designed the 
interior Sets of the super-sub 'Red October' and the attack boats, the 'Dallas' and the Russian 'Konovalov'.
The convincing Sets were built on giant gimbals on stage at Paramount.
The excellent 'stage subs' were set in motion by two hydraulically operated gimbals to simulate typical 
submarine movements.
Special Effects coordinator Al di Sarro and his hydraulic expert Robert Graham built the powerful gimbals.
The massive 'Red October' control room set on a forty-by-forty foot elevated platform (gimbal).
The gimbal was capable of providing very smooth and realistic movements.
Elegant and precise pitch and roll submarine action on stage,
powered by an intelligent hydraulic system from beneath the platform.
Each of the 16-ton gimbal rigs (Red October & Dallas) could move up to forty thousands pounds (hardware & crew).
The gimbals could be tilted as much as twenty-six degrees in any direction.
Massive hydraulic mechanisms were needed to let the phony subs fly.
The gimballed sets also required complex wiring and electronic hearts.
Gimbal operator William 'Bill' Aldridge had a joystick to control the heavy platform.
Al di Sarro perfected his great gimbal skills in the following years in movies like 
'Crimson Tide' and 'Turbulence'.
The control room of the 'Red October' during the fast hunt through the Red Route One.
The Set looks pretty cool. A lot of design work.
It's not simply the lighting but also the colour of all the materials.
On the 'Red October' we see all in cold chrome and black, with green screens and blue lights.
For the 'Dallas', a different 'Good Guy' color scheme has been selected.
Excellent camera work of Jan de Bont ('Die Hard', 'Speed') in often really tight circumstances.
I love the 'Let them sing' scene with Sean Connery, shot on the 'Red October' gimbal.
Director John McTiernan: "These guys stand up straight and the world twists."
Sean Connery (Ramius) with director John McTiernan on the 'Red October' Set.
'The Hunt for Red October' is another masterpiece of the director of 'Die Hard' and 'Predator'.
Not a gung-ho action piece but more a movie of smart people talking. 
A brilliant top-notch submarine thriller! 
The Red Route One requires some hard and precise turning maneuvers.
All the 'riding the gimbals' scenes look very realistic, accompanied with perfect sound effects.
The exceptionally designed miniature scenes will be featured soon in this theatre.
Another 'Red October' interior Set built on a stage at Paramount Studios.
Terence Marsh designed the Missile Room as a three-level set with catwalks.
Alec Baldwin (Jack Ryan) in the menacing Missile Room with these massive bright orange-red rocket tubes. 
The clever direct and indirect lighting of the set is perfectly successful.
The eerie world of a nuclear sub.
Best-selling author Tom Clancy, author of the 'Red October' novel, visited the Missile Room set at Paramount Studios 
during the filming of 'The Hunt for Red October'.
Did he also booked a ride on the gimbal?
'The Hunt for Red October' is available on blu-ray. 
Highly recommended!
A close to perfect film, 9/10.

A pretty good Submarine 'disaster' thriller of the 70s is 'Gray Lady Down' (1978).
The Walter Mirisch production ('Midway'), directed by David Greene ('The Shuttered Room'), 
offers a few convincing submarine pictures, but never reaches the class of 'Hunt for Red October'.
The movie tells of the fingernail-biting experience that follows the accidental sinking of an 
American nuclear submarine, and the rescue operation that follows it.
Charlton Heston, he plays the Captain of the sunken sub, is seen here discussing his role with 
Director David Greene aboard a U.S. Naval vessel.
Currently I'm bringing together material for a story about 'Gray Lady Down'.
Any help is always welcome!

Never running out of room for creative madness!
We love to entertain you.