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"I always keep my word, I'll send him right where he told me to go ...HELL!"
January 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!

'Alexander the Great' is one of the early epic movies which were filmed in Spain, followed by 'The Pride and the Passion', 
'Solomon and Sheba' and many more. 
Several thousand Spanish Extras were hired to play in the thrilling film of Director Robert Rossen.
Rossen planed a colossal three hour roadshow epic with Intermission and all the great splendour of an overwhelming show.
He was very disappointed when producers cut 'Alexander' down to two hours plus twenty and something minutes.
Well, the film still offers a great visual splendor, even though some pictures have been removed from the gallery. 
The Spanish Crew loved actor Fredric March (1897–1975), who played Philip of Macedonia.
The cultivated and friendly Star enjoyed talking to the crew and was very interested in Spanish culture and history.
Fredric Marsh on one of his many excursions in Spanish history.
He had the book of H.V.Morton with him, 'A Stranger in Spain' (1954).
Henry Canova Vollam (H.V.) Morton was a journalist and pioneering travel writer.
The book about his travels in Spain is a charming and delightful guide with vivid stories about Spain in the 50s, 
long before mass tourism changed everything.
The Spanish Kids had surely never heard about the book but were in the same way fascinated like Fredric March.
Fredric March on the Plaza Mayor, the heart of Madrid, 1955.
He is trying to get some information out of a small tourist guide.
Not many foreign tourists came to Madrid in the 50s.
But back in the late 50s the spanish metropolis was on its way to become a hot spot for international film productions, 
attracted by the very good conditions in all areas (expenses, studios, locations,...).
'Alexander the Great' was one of the first!
Plaza Mayor, 1955 - A walk across the large square makes you hungry.
Luckily, even then there were small stalls selling sweets for hungry kids 
and very rarely even for thrilled Hollywood actors.
The photo shows Fredric March buying a few candies.
'Alexander The Great' - Filming a scene with thousands of Spanish Extras in La Dehesa de Navalvillar, Colmenar Viejo, 1955.
My comparison photo was taken decades later, but not much has changed.
Learn more about the epic and its filming locations here: The Palace of Pella.

Here are a few more behind-the-scenes photos (35mm slides) from the interesting Amicus production 'The Mind of Mr.Soames'.
Actor Robert Vaughn (1932–2016) watches the filming of a scene with Terence Stamp (Soames), 
who experiences a special kind of horror, 1969.
Learn more about Mr.Soames here: Two marbles in a can.
Available on blu-ray.
Great shot! Dr. Jekyll und baby Hyde.
The baby is visibly dissatisfied with his role. 
It's crying and looking for his mummy, while Robert Vaughn is laughing his head off. 
The Cabin of a passenger plane Set, used for close-up shots of Dr.Bergen (Robert Vaughn), was built in 
the Shepperton Studios.
The veteran construction manager Bill Waldron (1914–1993) supervised the creation of all the Sets for the film.
He was in direct contact with the Art Director and worked closely with the production designer and 
set designer to recreate the director's vision with wood, nails, plaster and paint.
Bill oversaw the Set construction on various classic Amicus Horror flicks like 'The Skull', 'Torture Garden' or 'Madhouse'.

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

'Behold a Pale Horse' is a long forgotten little film jewel directed by Fred Zinnemann ('The Day of the Jackal').
The black and white cinematography of Jean Badal (1927–2015) is excellent.
Badal lensed many unusual dramas and some easy knitted light entertainment films like the charming 
'Tintin' adventure 'Tintin et les oranges bleues'.
It was a bold but wise decision to shot the film in black and white in the late 1963, during a time when 
color movies where the seat byers first choice.
'Behold the Pale Horse' was from the beginning not designed to be a blockbuster.
It's an intelligent movie for attentive viewers. 
The story, the characters, all is developed over time. 
The stellar cast such as Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif and the supporting cast deliver intense performances.
Accompanied by a matching 'Spanish' score of Maurice Jarre.
The movie about a Spanish Guerrilla leader was banned in Spain during the time of the fascist leader Generalissimo Franco.
Popcorn free, first-class cinema!
Screenshots of Anthony Quinn on a horse fighting with a young bull.
'And I looked, and
Behold a Pale Horse,
and his name that sat 
on him was Death, and
Hell followed with him.'
Revelation 6:8
Behind the Scenes, 1963.
For a few bullring close-ups of Anthony Quinn, a special horse was used. 
'Woody' has a calm mind and is very obedient.
Horse-like movements could be simulated via some rubber ropes.
Woody, the funny-looking phony horse that helps Cinematographer Jean Badal to get the shots the director wanted.
The poor camera operator plays the bull and a cheerful 'Picador Quinn' tickles him with the lance...
Behind the scenes with the stars:
See Gregory Peck in 'The Guns of Navarone' - Conquering of a studio cliff.
See Anthony Quinn in 'The Secret of Santa Vittoria' - The power of hilarity.
See Omar Sharif in 'Genghis Khan' - The great splendour of old-school cinema.

Today we once again take a look back at the exciting history of an old 'picture palace'.
The first days of a cinema in Norwich, England.
Box-shaped concrete construction art, 1000 seats and the big opening movie is a western:
The Odeon Cinema, summer 1971.
The Odeon Cinema was built 1969-1971 as an integral part of the Magdalen Street development, 
the widely visible part of the new Anglia Square Shopping Centre.
The cinema stands on concrete posts on top of the shopping centre and was designed by a 
local Norwich architecture office, Alan Cooke & Partners.
The Cinema won the 1971 Quigley Award for Cinema Design, awarded by the American trade journal Motion Picture Herald.
The photo also shows part of the new road pattern above ground level.
The Odeon Cinema - December, 1970.
A sophisticated design with lots of concrete and large glass fronts.
The Stadium style auditorium of the Odeon cinema.
The single tier auditorium has room for 1.016 seat buyers, who can reach the huge auditorium via 
stairs and along glazed corridors.
The big screen was 48 feet wide and 20 feet high and due to the drapes covering the walls left and right, 
it seemed even larger. 
Through the stage drape shimmers a reference to the opening film - The wild West in Norwich!
But times changed, the big 1000-seat Cinemas ...and the elaborate horse operas and movie epics slowly disappeared.
In 1991 the Odeon was converted into a triple screen cinema. 
But after only a few years the Rank Organisation closed the Cinema in the winter of 2000. 
Today it is part of the Hollywood Cinemas chain.
Not quite finished yet, but the big opening movie is already announced.
The Odeon Cinema started its business with a Western movie, how great is that!?
It was opened on 9th July 1971 with Burt Lancaster in 'Valdez is Coming'!
A great movie for the big screen, but also a pretty brave decision, 
since the film has already been shown in other cinemas.
The proud managers of the Odeon (Rank Organisation) standing in front of their cinema.
David Goodman (left) and the designated new manager Derek Williams.
Mr.Williams reminds me more than a little of Austin Powers?
July 1971, the new Odeon Cinema in Norwich opens for the first time.

Species II - Part 2.
The first night with her husband, after she returns from Mars, ends horrible for astronaut Anne Sampas and her spouse.
Anne (Myriam Cyr) gives birth to an aggressive tentacle that kills her husband only seconds later.
Infected by Alien DNA.
A fine show of Steve Johnson's XFX lab with a little help by Digital Magic.
Digital Magic augmented the rubber tentacle that stretches across the bed and lifts Mr.Sampas off the floor.
Almost all creature effects were done practical, CGI was used as a helper, some kind of complementary tool.
Producer Frank Mancuso, Jr., and Steve Johnson (XFX) wanted to avoid CGI whenever possible.
H.R.Giger was pretty disappointed not to have been brought onto Species II earlier.
But the famous designer was pleased with the Species II non-CGI approach. 
There was a heavy fax traffic from Zurich (Giger) to Burbank (XFX lab).
A lot of faxes and phone calls went back and forth.
The numerous and almost daily faxes from Giger with change requests and new ideas were certainly helpful,
but sometimes they were just annoying.
On the right is a Fax that Giger sends to Steve Johnson with new concept design ideas.
Obviously he was not sastisfied with the first tentacle effects. 
Giger: 'A endless boring special effect.'
The XFX crew came up with something, improved the show and were able to appease the frustrated Giger.
Attack of the rubber tentacle!
Rehearsing the tentacle splatter scene with Myriam Cyr.
Producer Frank Mancuso (Friday the 13th movies) is kneeling beside the bed with a water bottle in his hand.
He and Director Peter Medak gave Steve Johnson a lot of freedom in the design of the Special Makeup Effects.
Best working conditions ... only interrupted by Mr.Fax Machine.
Director Peter Medak (r) and XFX supervisor Steve Johnson (white shirt) shoot the tentacle scene.
A fast-paced and surprising special makeup effects gag. 
What a groovy beast!
A crazy alien ANACONDA or is it a mutant baby Sandworm from DUNE?
What we know is, it escaped from the brain of Steve Johnson...
The director worked very closely with Steve Johnson on the effects and with the team from Digital Magic to coordinate 
the on-set and CGI effects.
Astronaut Anne Sampas landed on the dissecting table. 
Dr.Frankenstein is ready for the examination. Somewhere lurks the snappy alien DNA.
Maybe here: Alien Love Machine.
In a secret slaughterhouse - The body of Anne Sampas is cut open and examined.
Steve Johnson (black shirt) and his crew prepared a special 'dissecting table puppet' for the 
bloody scene.

Pictured here is Rodd Redwing (1904-1971), a renowned quick-draw artist, at his Hotel in London (1968).
Rodd Redwing has taught many film Cowboys to handle a .45 right. 
How to draw the Colt quickly and shoot, all in one flowing motion. 
Rodd was the technical advisor ('firearms inspector') for the 'Shalako' production in Spain.
He was teaching 007 that there are other guns than the Beretta which have a licence to kill. 
Rodd Redwing coached all the 'Shalako' Stars (Sean Connery, Stephen Boyd, Brigitte Bardot,...) in the use of 
firearms on location in Spain. 
The 'fastest gun in the World' coached and instructed many Western Film Stars in the art of fast draw and 
firearms handling in the course of his career. 
He coached Alan Ladd for 'Shane' and Steve McQueen to play in 'Nevada Smith'. 
Here and there he took on small roles in the movies and TV shows ('Rawhide', 'Bonanza', 'Gunsmoke', 'Wagon Train',...).
In 'Shalako' he played the father of Chato.
Rodd was able to pull his six-gun out of the holster and shoot in two-tenths of a second! Record! 
He was one of the top instructors in Hollywood for all kinds of 'Western Movie' weapons (gun, knife, tomahawk, whip). 
An excellent Trick Shooter and a true Western Show Star!
Sean Connery, Stephen Boyd and Rodd Redwing in the desert of Tabernas (Almeria, Spain) - Las Salinillas, 1968.
Rodd shows the stunned Hollywood Stars how fast he can draw the Colt.
Connery tries it right away ...
Brigitte Bardot during a break in filming 'Shalako' on location in Almeria - Kodak 35mm Slide.
The b/w photo shows gunslinger Stephen Boyd picking a rifle from the arsenal on the film set, 
Playa de Monsul (Cabo de Gata, Almeria).
Rodd Redwing brought a large Gun case full of his best weapons to Spain for the Edward Dmytryk Western 'Shalako'.
Each actor got a weapon suitable for him and Rodd coached the kids to handle them.
Here you find a little story about the Set they built near the Playa de Monsul: Fort Shalako.
Between two takes in the dusty Ramblas of Tabernas.
The Colt is waiting for the next scene in the air-conditioned caravan while Shalako is swinging the golf club.
'Rambla Golf' is a tricky thing.
The poor guy has lost his favorite golf ball somewhere between all the rocks and bushes.
Sean Connery got along great with the Spanish crew and was very interested in their work.
They often sat together and talked.
During shooting breaks, Connery and his amigos quickly set up a small soccer field, in the middle of the Rambla, to play together.
A few stones were rolled aside ... ...and let's go!
Ursula Andress takes a walk through a beautiful small white village (Nijar or Mojacar?) on a day-off 
during the filming of 'Red Sun' in Almeria, Spain (35mm Slide).
She fell in love with the landscape around Almeria and bought herself a Spanish Villa in the area.
A nice filming location of the interesting production is Turre - Rio Aguas.
Rodd Redwing was the 'technical Advisor' for the Terence Young Western 'Red Sun'. 
He coached Charles Bronson, Alain Delon and the others in the use of firearms. 
Shortly afterwards Rodd passed away. 
He died of a heart attack on the flight back from the 'Red Sun' production in Spain to Los Angeles, 1971. 
Death over the clouds - A real Western hero with a tragic ending.
Rodd Redwing, 1904-1971.