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September 2020
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. 
'Even your Goose-bumps will have Goose-bumps!'
Photos beat content!
Welcome to the manege of madness! - Have a pleasant trip!

Behind the Scenes of David Lean's Oscar winning epic 'Doctor Zhivago' - Part 1.
Although the superbly photographed and rousingly atmospheric film was an epic on the scale of Lean's 
previous movie, 'Lawrence of Arabia' (1962), it was shot in standard 35mm Panavision. 
All the 70mm prints were blow-ups from the 35mm negative. 
David Lean actually wanted to shoot the movie in 70mm, but MGM refused because of the high costs and 
foreseeable difficulties in the competitive market.
After a couple of box office hits, the roadshow business gradually got a bit tricky in the 60s.
Several scenes of 'Doctor Zhivago' were filmed at the giant Aldeadávila Dam.
The concrete arch-gravity hydro-electric dam on the Duero River, on the border between Spain and Portugal, 
can be seen in the beginning and at the end of the film.
The Spanish Dam operating company Iberdrola allowed David Lean to use the massive construction as filming location 
rent-free for a week.
Iberdrola even opened the enormous spillways of the dam for the 'Doctor Zhivago' crew.
It must be pretty impressive to see them running at full force like in the movie (see screenshot).
Filming of 'Doctor Zhivago' at the massive 140 metres (460 ft) high Aldeadávila Dam.
Waiting for the water - Framing of the first shot.
The crew of DOP Freddie Young (right) is slowly approaching the most beautiful image section.
Its a question of seconds and masses of water will shoot down the spillways.
Camera Operator Ernest Day is standing next to the camera while Director David Lean is checking the selected 
image section through the camera's viewfinder.
The dam pictures were all quite important for Lean and all of them are First Unit shots.
On location at Spain's famed Aldeadávila Dam for David Lean's MGM film of Boris Pasternak's 'Doctor Zhivago', 
Rita Tushingham and Alec Guinness ('H.M.S. Defiant') have an al fresco discussion between scenes.
Alec Guinness and director David Lean quarreled frequently on the set. 
According to Guinness, Lean was "acting the part of a super-star director" and frequently insulted Guinness' 
performance and him personally.
Hollywood in Spain - Or is it 'The British in Spain ...via Hollywood'?
'The Girl', Rita Tushingham, Alec Guinness and the famous British filmmaker David Lean at the Aldeadávila Dam.
An appropriate location for a spectacular big picture!

The young swedish model Marie-Sophie Persson got a role in the rough Romolo Guerrieri flick 
'La polizia è al servizio del cittadino?', 1973, next to heavyweights like Enrico Maria Salerno, John Steiner and 
Venantino Venantini.
A brilliant but hardly known contribution to the Italian Poliziotteschi subgenre.
Marie-Sophie is wearing a holey knitted shirt without a bra so that we can see her boobs (Italo Style!), 
most likely an idea of Director Guerrieri.
Not much is known about the Swedish Girl with a career similar to the one of Ewa Aulin.
Ewa Aulin was Miss Teen Sweden in 1965 and became Miss Teen International in the USA, 1966.
Marie-Sophie Persson became Miss Teen in Sweden a year later and also tried her luck at the world's teenage title.
The pretty Girl from Lidingo, Sweden, was younger than her famous predecessor Ewa Aulin but had the same high hopes.
She became a model for the renowned model agent Eileen Ford, dared the leap into acting and ended up, 
much like Ewa Aulin, in the Italian exploitation cinema.
After a short time in the wild Italian cinema she disappeared from the radar.
The well-known platform imdb.com is in deep trouble with Marie-Sophie.
Under her name Marie-Sophie Persson they list just one movie, with no further personal informations about her.
If you only enter her first name, Marie Sophie, two more films surprisingly appear.
What a mess - as of September 3, 2020.
Christina is waiting for the next take.
Rare Kodak 2.25 transparency of Marie-Sophie during a break in filming 'La polizia è al servizio del cittadino?'.
She has dressed a little more, so the photographer tried something completely new (lol).
Would love to see a blu-ray of this excellent Poliziottesco.
The Italian DVD I got looks like a cheapo backyard production.
That can be done better ...hopefully!
Marie-Sophie Persson on a German Lobby Card for 'Paolo il caldo', 1973.
What happened to her? 
Like many other young film starlets, she apparently disappeared without a trace.
Here you find some stories of other attractive young girls and their short love affairs with the European exploitation cinema:
- Marisa Mell
- Kitty Swan
- Greta Baldwin
- Lena von Martens

All lines are busy, but you can contact us at any time by e-mail, carrier pigeon or post.
(James Garner in 'Marlowe' - Kodak 2.25 transparency)

Hollywood Producer Frank Ross (1904–1990) examines the miniature models of the planned key sets for the 
super-colossal film of the year 1953, 'The Robe'.
Costume drama expert Henry Koster directed, with the award-winning cinematographer Leon Shamroy by his side 
for the helming of the novel widescreen lens.
'The Robe' was filmed in the hot new Fox widescreen process CinemaScopE, ideally suited to epic spectacle films 
in which most of the action will be played against huge panoramic vistas.
The top-grossing US film of 1953 was advertised as "The modern entertainment miracle you see without glasses!", 
a dig at the 3-D movies that were briefly in vogue at the time.
The CinemaScope format was promoted for its wider screen and more depth without 3D glasses.
When looking at the great pictures and sets, it quickly becomes clear why 'The Robe' received Academy Awards for 
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Color) and Best Costume Design (Color) and was nominated for Best Picture and 
Best Cinematography (Color).
'The Robe' - The Greatest Story of Love, Faith, and Overwhelming Spectacle!
Rome, the Eternal City, the center of the known world.
The finished Studio Set is a fairly accurate realization of the set previously shown in the miniature model.
Pretty big, really a Studio Set or is it a backlot/outdoor construction?
Let's take a closer look to the detailed model of the Rome Set in 'The Robe'.
Clearly planned as a widescreen Set for specific vistas.
The lower parts of the buildings were built in a way to suggest large dimensions.
Look at the pillars on the left, they are certainly part of a huge building that we never get to see.
On the Screenshot you can see buildings in the background.
That's a painted backdrop that is already indicated in the model.
But there is something strange parked in the square in Rome, the stern of a ship.
That is an accurate model of the Ship seen in the movie!
Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton), plagued by nightmares, comes through the door onto the deck of the Roman ship.
Screenshot - The ship in the movie.
All the live action took place on the stern of the ship.
Model miniature of the Key studio set for the Crucifixion sequence.
Is this, by any chance, the famous John DeCuir ('Cleopatra') who explains the model to producer Frank Ross? 
He was part of the Art Direction team, uncredited, and would be definitely the right guy for the 
watercolor painting of the Jerusalem backdrop of the model.
Impressive even in the miniature size.
Kodak 2.25 negative.
Screenshot - The Crucifixion Set.
A large wide-angle Set built on a Sound stage at Fox Studios.
In the background you can see Jerusalem, a colossal panoramic backdrop painting!
This Set was especially built for the use of the new CinemaScope lens.
The lighting of this panning panorama shot must have been pretty demanding. 
CinemaScope required only one camera and one projector, in contrast to the much more complex Cinerama process.
The new Fox process uses a special, anamorphic lens mounted over the camera’s normal lens. 
CinemaScope was able to capture a wide-angle image that was 'squeezed' onto a regular strip of 35mm film stock. 
The image was then 'unsqueezed' during projection through the use of another special lens attached to the projector, 
so that the resulting image was at a ratio of 2.55:1 instead of the then-standard 1.33:1.
An interesting process that has allowed any film production company to cut their costs significantly.
The novelty of the CinemaScope wide screen was surely one of the secrets of the success of 'The Robe'.
An interesting drawing from a CinemaScope advertising brochure that should explain the advantages of 
the new process to us.
For the representation, one does not use a large-format outdoor scene, but the moving crucifixion scene, 
which was elaborately filmed in the studio.
CinemaScope is the better choice even in the studio!?
Wow, look at this!
What a touching panoramic model miniature with 3-D effect, little puppets and a wealth of details.
Something for a showcase.
Sadly, all too often such jewelry ends up in the trash can of the studio.
The expenses for the live action (studio/backlot) sets for 'The Robe' were pretty heavy. 
Over 500.000 US-Dollar was a shocking sum in the 1950s.
One of the largest panoramic background paintings ever.
People will surely remember the breathtaking panoramic vistas... and the great show of Jay Robinson and his campy Caligula!
A colorful production with great pictures and a beautiful score.

1962 - On location in Salta, Argentina, for 'Taras Bulba'.
Tony Curtis ('The Great Race', 'Monte Carlo or Bust!') chats with Director J. Lee Thompson ('Guns of Navarone') 
and Producer Harold Hecht (on the left) during a break in filming.
Kodak transparency.

Hollywood Star Gregory Peck and his wife Veronique arrived in Athens, Greece, in the early 1960s, a few days before the 
filming of 'Guns of Navarone' was scheduled to start.
The couple enjoyed their time together and went on numerous excursions through the vibrant city with its great history.
The photo shows the two visiting the Parthenon on the world-famous Acropolis.
The Parthenon is a former 'temple' on the Athenian Acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens 
considered their patron.
The last few days of the 'Guns of Navarone' pre-production have been pretty exciting on many levels.
Producer Carl Foreman informed Gregory Peck in Athens that he fired Director Alexander Mackendrick ('The Ladykillers').
At first, Foreman considered directing the picture himself but his Stars, Peck, Niven and Quinn convinced him 
that this would not be a good idea.
Foreman reacted quickly and presented three new candidates.
The British Directors Guy Hamilton, Michael Anderson and J.Lee Thompson.
The experienced producer managed to put together some meaningful examples of their work within a short period of time.
He sent a lot of material to Athens so that Peck could form his own opinion about their existing potential.
We are in the early 60s, long before video or Blu-ray, computers and smartphones.
The material Gregory Peck received was likely made up of 8mm, 16mm, or even 35mm rolls of film.
Maybe Foreman even sent a projector to Greece!
How do you have to visualize that?
Did Peck organize a long film evening in the hotel room?
The whole process wouldn't be a problem today, but in the good old days of the big movie epics 
this was a different challenge.
Anyway, in the end Gregory Peck opted for J.Lee Thompson.
Niven was happy with that, and Thompson was Producer Foreman's first choice as well.
It was only shortly before the first shot that J. Lee Thompson became the new director of the show.
Sometimes, that's the way the cookie crumbles!
In the end, it's the result that counts.
'Guns of Navarone' is a terrific epic masterpiece.
Gregory and Veronique Peck try to enjoy their visit to the Acropolis, Parthenon, Athens, 1960.
All the gentlemen walking around with their cameras don't look like tourists at all...
None of them is interested in the history of the Parthenon.
It's a pack of Paparazzi that follows the couple like hungry wolves.
From up here you have a wonderful view into the metropolis of Athens.
Of course, the couple also visits the Acropolis Museum with its many art treasures and 
significant evidence of Greek history.
Here you can literally breathe in the aura of bygone eras.
The two stand in front of a statue.
It's probably one of the female statues (Korai of the Acropolis) discovered in the 'Perserschutt' of 
the Acropolis of Athens in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
The distinguished and cultivated Actor was very interested and took his time to get to know Greece.
Not everyone did that.
Many Hollywood stars only came to their offshore production for their few days of shooting, 
got their high salary, did their job, and flew home again.
No interest in the culture, the country or the people.
An unwise path that not everyone has taken.
These guys went a different route:
- Fredric Marsh on location for 'Alexander the Great'
- Stephen Boyd on location for 'Fall of the Roman Empire'
The couple ends the exciting day with a glass of red wine in a rustic Greek tavern.
Just a few days later, Gregory Peck made his way to Rhodes, where filming for 'Guns of Navarone' began.
Learn more about the exciting epic production here:
- World War II on the Island of Rhodes
- Studio Tank Terror
- Phony Cliff
- Papadopoulos Biscuits on Set
- Honeymoon on Navarone
- Picasso Quinn

The curtain rises for another adventurous trip into the highly entertaining Henry Levin spectacle 'Genghis Khan'.
One of my favorite 1960s costume adventure epics.
The Levin movie seems to have breathed in some of the special atmosphere and charm of the German Karl May films.
Well, some characters from 'Genghis Khan' could easily fit into a Karl May movie.
Eli Wallach as Shah Of Khwarezm, Robert Morley and his Emperor Of China and especially the brilliant James Mason 
and his truly hilarious performance as Kam Ling are Figures that Karl May couldn't have invented better.
Kara Ben Nemsi in the steppe of Kazakhstan.
'Genghis Khan' was filmed in the same striking Croatian landscapes, which became famous through the Karl May films.
One of those landscapes is the Zrmanja Plateau, a perfectly chosen film location.
For 'Winnetou I' production designer Vladimir Tadej built an Apache pueblo on the Zrmanja plateau, 
which mainly consisted of facades, 1963.
Only a few months later, the construction workers of Avala Films built a Camp Set for 'Genghis Khan' 
on the same spot.
A great vantage point that offers a spectacular view into the canyon formed by the Zrmanja river.
The plateau with the river Zrmanja ('Rio Pecos') became one of the characteristic motifs of the 'Winnetou' films 
with a high recognition value.
Director of Photography Geoffrey Unsworth ('Genghis Khan') made optimal use of the location and selected almost 
the same camera positions and image compositions that Cinematographer Ernst W. Kalinke had previously 
used for Winnetou.
Traces, camera anchorings, ... were certainly still there and visible.
A hot summer shooting day...
Rare 'Genghis Khan' Kodak 2.25 transparency of a beautiful young girl on a horse - Zrmanja Plateau.
That's not Françoise Dorléac (Bortei), is it?
No, that can't be.
Possibly a stand-in, body or stunt double?
Neither the scene nor the girl appears in the film.
Who knows more about this exciting beauty?
Someone was apparently quite impressed, after all, she made it onto an official 'Genghis Khan' press photo.
Omar Sharif on the left photo and the unknown sheer loveliness on the one on the right.
Photo of the Zrmanja Canyon in comparison with the pic of the unknown surprise from Genghis Khan's yurt.
A girl from Croatia ...or Serbia?
What's her name?
James Mason offers one of his delightful absurd impersonations while talking with the amused Khan (Omar Sharif) 
in the Camp.
Here you find more of Kam Ling: I suspect I will find work more agreeable than death!
See James Mason in Almeria, Spain: 'Capo del Oro' Beach Club.
Off Topic:
One or the other of you probably knows the refreshingly absurd Lucifer from the old 
Battlestar Galactica television show.
Lucifer is the robot assistant to Count Baltar and somehow the brother in the spirit of Kam Ling (James Mason). 
The similarities are amazing.
The catastrophic junk 'Scalawag', a Swashbuckler with Kirk Douglas, used the stunning Zrmanja Canyon as a backdrop, 
presumably to distract from the embarrassing plot of the show.
Perhaps you are wondering about the Serbian Lobby Card. 
It showed a mirror image of the Zrmanja Canyon and I corrected that.
Now the canyon is displayed correctly ...but the labels are mirrored.
Two Croatian Extras of 'Genghis Khan' ready for a scene to be shot in the China Set on the Avala Studios backlot.
Learn more about the great epic 'Genghis Khan' here: It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

Two veterans of epic cinema, James Mason and Alec Guinness, are playing Backgammon during a break 
in filming 'Fall of the Roman Empire' on set in the Valsain mountains near Segovia, Spain. 
Standing behind of them, watching the match, is Director Anthony Mann wearing some kind of moon suit.
It was damn cold during the filming of the big-scale Samuel Bronston production.
There was plenty of gambling on film sets all over the world.
Yul Brynner was also a passionate backgammon player who enjoyed a fast game even between two takes 
in the middle of nowhere.
Check out this: Catlow.
Anthony Quinn always brought a couple of chessboards to each of his different movie sets and challenged everyone 
on the set to play a game with him.
There was poker, soccer and one or the other even made a few strokes with the golf club directly on the film set.
Sometimes the cast and crew have been quite inventive when it comes to gambling.
On the Set of 'Return of the Seven' the actors gambled away their cash on a self-made wheel of fortune.
Your stakes please: Wheel of Fortune.