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"Only the mad know, the impossible is possible!"
September 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!

Airport of Almeria (Spain), March 1971.
Director-Actor Charlton Heston and Producer Peter Snell arrive in Almeria to make some deals, get contacts and 
to search for appropriate locations for their Shakespeare epic 'Antony and Cleopatra'.
The two tried hard to get the maximum out of their relatively small budget.
How and where the two managed to save on production costs you will find out here: LocationStudios.
A fully costumed Charlton Heston plans his next camera settings on location in Aranjuez, river Tajo, Spain.
Todd-AO 35 - Mitchell.

Due to various problems with the budget, some 'Baron Munchausen' sets were designed very late.
The 'Sea Monster' was one of the sets been on a 'budget still to be approved' list for a long time, 
and got green light only at the last minute.
Anyway, the end result looks pretty convincing, the giant grouper fits perfectly into his scenes
and the surreal world of Munchausen.
The Sea Monster is a huge figure the size of a car, the largest 'miniature' constructed for the show. 
On an outer fiberglass shell, the latex 'mask' of the Grouper was attached.
Designed by Terry Gilliam and sculpted by Keith Short ('The Dark Crystal').
The finished Grouper has a few gimmicks on board (moving eyes, fin, working blowhole,..) but he could not move on his own.
To give this thing some agility it was fixed on top of a scissors lift which was attached to 
a chassis of a Land Rover.
The construction was prepared for underwater action and could be driven by remote control through the 
007 pool at Pinewood Studios.
The Land Rover chassis was pretty popular with special effects shops and movie producers.
Look here what producer Joseph E. Levine did with the chassis: A Bridge too far.
A 2nd Grouper Set was built, a ten feet wide hydraulic mouth section, for the scene in which the Sea Monster 
swallows the brave swimmers Sally, Munchausen, Berthold and Albrecht.
The Sea Monster 'vehicle' on the way into the depths of the shallow water tank.
For a good looking effect, when the sea monster discovers its prey and heads for it (Baron Munchausen and his entourage),
the FX crew installed a few air jets for some proper air bubbles and water movements.
Special Effects supervisor Richard Conway in Cinefex#38: 
"It took four people to simultaneously operate all this."
The Land Rover-Grouper sitting in the water hole - the 007 pool - with king-size backcloth.
The Pinewood crew is giving the Sea Monster some finishing touches seconds before the filming.
The enormous mouth of the Sea Monster.
The tricky key to the scene with the monster sucking in the Munchausen gang was to move the jaws fast 
enough through the water, since the scene had to be filmed in high-speed.
Fast movements through the water are not so easy to solve technically ... beyond that 
under pressure and with budget problems at almost every corner.
In the end it was a great scene
In the Belly of the Beast.
Martin Gant ('Krull') was in charge of the model shop and built the huge miniature Set (ten feet diameter) 
with the half-digested wreckage of several very detailed model ships, each about eight feet long. 
The Set looks fantastic, with lots of wood and foam, used for the construction.
Tiny figures of the Baron, Sally, Berthold and Albrecht were puppeteered through the miniature Set.
Director Terry Gilliam follows the movements of the puppets and gives commands to the puppeteers.
Mondel Unit photographer Roger Pratt is filming the scene.
Miniature Set with two model ships out of the belly of the Sea Monster and tiny figures.
Due to the good quality of the 'belly ships' (and the noted problems with the budget) some of them were 
re-used for this miniature setting.
These miniature scenes were needed for the complex battle sequence with the army of the Sultan, 
filmed near Almeria (Playa de Monsul), Spain.
Albrecht managed to get the sunken ships out of water.
He whirled the wrecks around and dropped them on the fleeing soldiers of the Sultan (photo).
Inside of the belly of the Sea Monster, in one of the ship wrecks, the Baron meets his old buddies 
Gustavus and Adolphus.
Little later the adventure continues ...
Here you find some more details on the miniature scenes in 'Munchausen': 
- Miniature Beach Battle
- Plywood City on the Moon

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

Enthusiastic residents of Gruyeres, Switzerland, observe the filming of a Hollywood movie in their beautiful city, 1965.
Director Peter Ustinov and his French Cameraman Henri Alekan are filming 'Lady L' in Gruyeres.
The photo shows the staging of a scene with Sophia Loren and Paul Newman. 
David Niven and Philippe Noiret are other stars of the little comedy flick.
A lot of spotlights were placed in front of the post office to perfectly illuminate the scene.
The location in Gruyeres today. 
The post office has become a restaurant...

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