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"Only the mad know, the impossible is possible!"
August 2019
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!

Malloy (Colm Meaney) and his Agents intercepted the Con Air C-123 on her escape route with heavily armed Cobra helicopters.
To get some good lookin close ups of the main actors inside of the helicopter, 
the crew had a real Cobra heli suspended by a crane in front of a giant bluescreen on a parking lot near the coast. 
Mainly lit by natural light.
I wonder how they got the Cobra to the parking lot? Flown in by the US Air Force?
The live action footage, taken on the parking lot, was for the CGi crew (Computer Film Company). 
CFC composited the blue screen photography into matching backgrounds (desert canyons,...).
Not only popcorn flies in the 'Con Air' flight school!
Check out this:
- See Pinball's first parachute jump ... without a parachute!
- See how Malloys Corvette takes off wonderfully ... and lands rough!

Filming a Scene for the Blockbuster war film 'Battle of Britain', 1968.
Director Guy Hamilton (bright shirt) is supervising a close up shot of Robert Shaw (Squadron Leader Skipper) 
in the cockpit of his Spitfire.
Only a small shot, but lensed by the First Unit.
DOP Freddie Young (white hair) and his camera crew are still working on the right camera settings.
Continuity Lady Elaine Schreyeck can be seen standing on the right.
The Web is full of nice photos and stories about the outstanding epic. 
On aviation websites and forums you can always discover something.
Since you are already there, try the 'Battle' tidbits of the smutty little moon-city-garbage theater:
- The 'Eagle Day' Show of Physical Effects Supervisor Cliff Richardson
- Hein Riess is Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring
- Camera Ship B-25

'Solomon and Sheba' - On Set on the backlot of the Sevilla Films Studio (Madrid), 1959.
The stairs of the Temple of Jerusalem.
Sheba (Gina Lollobrigida), prepared for the stoning scene, has fun with George Sanders.
George lost the battle against Solomon (Yul Brynner).
You get a nice impression of the Set construction. 
The temple was not built of massive Meleke limestone blocks, but of fastly produced hollow wood / plaster components.
Learn more about the impressive Temple of Jerusalem Set here:
- Sevilla Films Studio in Madrid 
Italian Actress Marisa Pavan is taking time out from her movie work on location in Madrid, Spain.
She meets with her favorite fans, her husband Jean-Pierre Aumont ('Castle Keep'), their 18-month-old son Claude, 
and 13-year-old Maria Cristina, daughter of Jean-Pierre 's marriage to the late Maria Montez. 
The family journeyed from Paris to visit Marisa on the set of 'Solomon and Sheba'. 
The charming but tiny egg-shaped caravan of the 50s is no comparison to the huge mobile home battleships 
that are available to actors today.

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

'Timecop' is a solid 'travelling trough time' thriller directed by Peter Hyams ('Outland').
One of the better Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks.
A nice sequence is the one on the Wall Street 1929. 
Filmed on location in Vancouver in front of the Art Deco Marine Building (left), 
extended with some NY matte painting magic (buildings on the right).
Ex TEC Agent Atwood (Jason Schombing) is trying to generate great prosperity for the future 
with a few small manipulations of stock markets in the past, on behalf of Senator McComb (Ron Silver).
Walker (Van Damme) can not let that happen ...
On location in Vancouver - Marine Building - Live Action Plate (background missing), September 1993.
An elaborate scene. 
A street in Vancouver was converted into the NY Wall Street of the year 1929.
Old cars from the time, mounted police, costumes, ... looks good!
A dummy puppet dangles from a wire rope.
Atwood is too afraid of the senator and jumps out of the window of the Wall Street skyscraper.
The successful sequence is a composition of different elements.
Live Action (greenscreen), flying puppets and CGi.
The time travelling VFX looks pretty cool, a fluid optical distortion.
The 'dummy' rig on the roof.
Walker jumps after Atwood through the window to bring him back.
Test run (no costumes) with two puppets.
The Walker/Atwood puppets 'fly' down via strong winches, remote controlled.
This was only possible in favorable wind conditions.
In the end, the Atwood doll has to hit the target landing zone, the roof of a police car.
Special Effects Coordinator John Thomas (1947–1994) controls the puppet. 
His crew built the rig on the roof of the Marine Building.
Atwood was found guilty and promptly sent back to the year 1929. 
Bad mistake, and so his skyscraper flight goes on and ends fatally.
The perfectly dressed Atwood puppet is ready for the hard landing...
Every little gust of wind drove the puppet out of the target area.
In the end, the landing succeeds perfectly. Nice crash.
Greenscreen filming with actor Jason Schombing (Atwood) for his skyscraper jump.
Jason Schombing is hanging on wires (rig) performing some wild flight movements in front of a greenscreen.
For more Jean-Claude Van Damme action check out this: Universal Soldier.

Striking Vietnam drama produced by Golden Harvest, the legendary cult-kitchen for powerful Eastern movies.
Executive producer Raymond Chow formed Golden Harvest in 1970, with Leonard Ho, after leaving Shaw Brothers.
Director Sidney J. Furie (photo) sends a well-composed group of young actors (Stan Shaw, Andrew Stevens,...) 
into a boot camp training before they were being shipped out to Vietnam.
We follow the way of the young Marines into a hellish nightmare.
The film shows many facets, like the incompetence of the Executives, the corruption of their South Vietnamese ally 
and several other memorable sequences. 
On top we get Ronald Lee Ermey (1944–2018), the most famous face for playing a military drill instructor.
The DOP of the Action filmed in the Philippines was the experienced camera operator Godfrey A. Godar ('Duffy').
Nevertheless, in the long shadow of 'Apocalypse Now' or 'Full Metal Jacket' the Golden Harvest NAM film 
fell a bit into oblivion.
But you can change that. 
Available on blu-ray.
Director Sidney J. Furie rehearses a scene with his Company C, 1977.
A Filipino crew member distributes some cold beers to the boys.
Somewhere in the distance special effects assistant Danny 'Boom Boom' Dominguez ('The Siege of Firebase Gloria') 
is preparing a series of wild explosions.
A ghostly silence ...and suddenly hell!
The Boys in Company C.

James Bond 'GoldenEye' promotion photo - Kodak 2.25 transparency.
The wonderful Famke Janssen, Pierce Brosnan and Izabella Scorupco pose in the miniature world of the 
British visual effects magician Derek Meddings, the miniature effects supervisor on 'GoldenEye'.
An exhilarating contribution to the glamorous world of 'Bond' showbiz.
The Severnaya Set on a Studio stage - The Siberian landscape of Derek Meddings. 
The promotion photo was staged a bit on the right of the flying Tiger helicopter model.
The actors are standing between miniature firs in phony snow (dendritic salt?) with their expensive designer slippers.
Learn more about the model work on 'GoldenEye' here: Small worlds - great amazement!

Henry Wilcoxon (Richard the Lionheart) and Katherine DeMille in a Studio test shot for Cecil B. DeMille's 
big-budget film 'The Crusades' (1935). 
A lovely old-fashioned black and white epic with a lot more spectacle than history.
The mogul-type Director Cecil B. DeMille has a special way of filming, which is almost a dead art today.
The glorious knight film of the 30s is an entertaining costume film. 
If you do not take things too seriously you can enjoy a good show.
Shining romance, cunning intrigues and the mighty DeMille spectacle with the obligatory massive crowd shots.
Available on DVD in the Universal Vault Series.
The Dictator, Director Cecil B. DeMille, a devil on the microphone, may have been short, but he always 
towered over his film units.
The Director has his Players go through their paces before he actually films a scene.
The Hermit arrives at the castle of Richard the Lionheart.
Director Cecil B. DeMille can been seen on the far left, next to the spotlight, staging the crowd scene.
What is that in the middle of the picture for a strange sign?
"Please Do not touch - Set for First shot in Morn". 
DeMille style:
"Do not touch this!
That none of you play around in my sets here! 
I see everything ...you little kids!"
While Henry Wilcoxon and C.Aubrey Smith (The Hermit) rehearse their scene, 
Director DeMille instructs hundreds of Extras through a special microphone.
He very often barks gruff commands into his microphone.
Actress Angela Lansbury (from DeMille's 'Samson and Delilah') about DeMille and his dreaded megaphone:
"...he also had a man with the megaphone, who was always two steps behind him ready to shove it under 
DeMille's nose in case he wanted to say something.
He would make very loud pronouncements, sometimes quite rude ones about the crowd or maybe a prop man 
for not having something, so that everybody in the whole stage could hear, which was always rather embarrassing.
He certainly cracked the whip."
(from the book 'Great Film Epics' by Mike Munn)
"Now, I want everyone to remember his duties!" ...shouts Director Cecil B.DeMille to this mob of Extras.
DeMille was primarily concerned with the spectacle than the content or the acting of the crowd.
Director Cecil B. DeMille gets his cameras set for an important scene.
Pioneering cinematographer Victor Milner was the leading camerman on 'The Crusades'.
Of course always monitored by DeMille!
Victor Milner often worked on the films of the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille, winning his only Academy Award 
(nine nominations!) for the DeMille epic 'Cleopatra' (1934).
An assistant can be seen at the left instructing the crowd.

'El Cine del Oeste en la Comunidad de Madrid' is a comprehensive, richly detailed and beautifully illustrated book 
about the history of filming Western movies in Madrid.
From the first page you can see that the two authors, Angel Caldito and Javier Ramos, have invested a lot of love, 
passion and heart into the project.
The variety of information about the sometimes barely known filming locations is impressive.
But the book written in Spanish is much more than just another book about locations.
The authors go into the depth and present very interesting stories and information about the 'Players & Makers' 
who have worked for one of the numerous productions and were born in Madrid.
You learn something about the Studios, the Distributors and so much more.
An elaborate work, a wonderful book.
Yes, it is in Spanish, and helpful if can understand the language a bit, but on the other side it is presented in 
such a good way that you won't have much difficulties.
Highly Recommended! 
Available via Amazon.
Many of the 'Makers' behind-the-scenes of the Western productions staged in Madrid will hardly be known to most of you.
Spanish cinematographer Ricardo Navarrete may be an exception as he worked for quite a bunch of the more 
international Western flicks and some of the bigger productions in Spain.
The photo shows camera expert Ricardo Garcia Navarrete (born in Madrid 1926) next to Director Paul Wendkos 
on location in Navalcarnero (Madrid) for 'Cannon for Cordoba'.
Wendkos knew Ricardo from the 'Guns of the Magnificent Seven' production and valued his Spanish Cameraman very much.
Ricardo also did 'Return of the Seven' and many other Western films, for example 'Villa Rides' for Buzz Kulik.
He was the First Unit camera operator for Charlton Heston and his Shakespeare project 'Antony and Cleopatra' and worked for 
the Super-Production 'Conan the Barbarian'.
What a successful working life!
These and many more information can be found in the book.
Buy it now!