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February 2021
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!

'Camelot' was the last big movie produced by Jack L. Warner (1892–1978) before leaving Warner Brothers.
The controversial producer was a staunch conservative Republican and an active supporter of the Hollywood blacklist.
He strongly believed in the Vietnam War and was publicly proud of the confused Warner Bros./Seven Arts anti-communist 
and pro-South Vietnam flick 'The Green Berets'.
The epic musical opus 'Camelot' helped Warner to gain a more positive publicity again, shortly before his retirement.
The colorful, lavish and flamboyant road-show was a pompous big-scale adventure.
'Camelot' shows off the biggest outdoor Set ever constructed on the Warner Studio Backlot, 
the impressing Camelot Castle.
And of course one of the largest indoor set was also created for this film, the Great Hall and Throne Room.
Art Director Edward Carrere was the architect of both, the Castle and the opulent interior Set.
The Throne Room with the handsome rough hewn Thrones of Arthur and Guenevere.
Huge wooden beams decorated with elaborate sculptures and carvings.
Warner Studios - Stage 7 - Construction of the Great Hall and Throne Room.
The enormous height of the studio was fully utilized.
The $500.000 'Great Hall' looked colossal, especially when you looked up from the ground into the 
detailed ceiling structure. Wow effect!
As if you were in an old magnificent cathedral!
Producer Jack Warner made it clear to every cameraman that he wants to see the costly ceiling of the 
vast in scope production on film.
The spectacular Great Hall Set was 70 feet high, 265 feet feet long and 135 feet wide.
Many experts were involved in the construction. Roofers, plasterers, sculptors, ...
The main building material used was wood.
On the left, a wooden arch of the roof frame is waiting to be lifted into the correct position by crane.
The use of so many wooden beams and elements, some of which are very massive, is rather unusual for a studio set.
Quick assembly and disassembly is usually the preferred option. 
With plywood and styrofoam as the preferred building material.
A scene of style and great 'Knight' flair.
You walk through the enormous hall and at the end of it you reach the Throne Room.
Many knight costumes, parts and armour, were flown in from Spain and originally come from the 
Samuel Bronston production 'El Cid'. 
A few tricks, tools and devices that the legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt came up with for the battle scenes 
in 'El Cid' were also used here.
His sons Tap and Joe Canutt were stunt doubles for Franco Nero and Anthony Rogers in the 
jousting sequence of 'Camelot'.
At the 'Camelot' construction site - Stage 7 - Warner Studios.
What looks like massive stone walls on the left and right were actually just thin wood paneling.
With the right color and texture, the illusion will be perfect.
Lancelot Du Lac (Franco Nero) wobbles on his horse through the Great Hall.
On the way to the Throne Room he passes the enormous beams all decorated with sculptures.
If you look closely you will discover a lot of fine embellishments, also in height.
Those guys over there on the right are working on the steps.
The Steps which led to the Throne Room will be copper-stripped.
Various architectural motifs were combined to create distinctive Camelot period.
The free interpretation of Production Designer John Truscott and Art Director Edward Carrere.
In order to fill the huge hollow space with more life, a swarm of pigeons flew through the Great Hall 
during the filming.
The tame birds certainly created a good mood and some funny moments for the cast and crew.
The lighting is great, the colors, everything fits.
The Set has a magical aura.
All the furnishings (sculptured benches,...) and decorative pieces were manufactured by studio artisans.
Incandescent lamps, rather than arcs, were used for lighting.
And fire, torchlight and candlelight add an exciting visual element to sequences like these.
What a Set!
Director Joshua Logan wanted to capture the mythical magic of Camelot on film.
The mission was largely completed successfully.
Of course you want to see more:
- Merlyn's Magic Forest on Stage 8
- Camelot Castle on Warner Studios backlot
Photo of the construction site for comparison with the screenshot above.
The Sound of Success - 1967 - A press luncheon hosted by Warner for hundreds of people at the Stage 7.
Lovely British actress Vanessa Redgrave grants a rare Press interview as she interrupts her work on 
the new film version of the musical play 'Camelot'.
Vanesssa Redgrave, as Lady Guenevere, is likely to enjoy the acclaim that Audrey Hepburn gathered with 
'May Fair Lady' and Julie Andrews reaped with 'The Sound of Music'.
The meet-and-greet event with the charming Vanessa Redgrave inside the breathtaking 'Great Hall Set', 
with a nice view into the Throne Room, was a very clever move of Producer Jack Warner.
The number has not missed its effect.
In the end, however, such gimmicks could not save the old-fashioned glorification of monarchy.

What a wonderful grounded genuine story. 
A devotion to real life.
Wide landscapes, loneliness, relationships, romance - this is the life of Will Penny, an aging cow-hand.
He only knows this way of life.
Then a woman stumbles into his life with her young son.
That offers a lot of potential for great pictures and stories.
Director Tom Gries and his stellar cast manage to reach the full potential of the story.
All actors deliver credible and appropriate performances that fit the tale.
If you want to single someone out, it's Chuck.
His Will Penny is great Cinema!
He was never better in a Western movie.
Charlton Heston himself often said that of all the films he has made, this was his favorite.
I would also like to highlight the splendid Joan Hackett (Catherine), the boy Jon Gries (Button), 
the young son of Director Tom Gries, and the truly hilarious performance of Donald Pleasence as mad priest.
Lucien Ballard, the cinematographer best known for his collaboration with director Sam Peckinpah on such films 
as 'The Wild Bunch', lensed some nice pictures of untouched, lonely landscapes in natural colors.
A true surprise is the carefully selected downbeat ending, far away from being a typical Hollywood finale.
A problem for the box-office, but not for Will, he did it right and honest.
Will Penny: It's just a case of too soon old and too late smart.
On Set at the Barber Shop.
Chuck and his wife Lydia during a break in filming 'Will Penny' - March 1967.
Both are in their costumes and ready to film the scene in the Barber Shop.
Lydia Clarke is playing Mrs. Fraker, the wife of the barber.
Will and Blue (Lee Majors) take the injured Dutchy (Anthony Zerbe) to the local Barber. 
 The barber also takes on the role of an unskilled doctor for the small town.
Lunch with the family - 1967.
Chuck, his wife Lydia, and little daughter Holly try to enjoy the sparse menu.
Holly was obviously hoping for a little more.
Daddy, I don't like dried meat with beans ...I want a Cheeseburger, chips and a Coke!
The food didn't really convince her, but the afternoon promises to be more exciting for Holly.
Equipped with mom's Nikon camera, she wants to take a few photos of Daddy playing cowboy.
Will Penny - realistic, honest, outstanding!
The blog and website are well stocked with reports on Charlton Heston and his films.
Go on a search!
Well, I've picked out two for you:
See Family Heston in Madrid - The filming of '55 days at Peking'
See Chuck directing an epic - The filming of 'Anthony and Cleopatra'
And there is so much more!

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)

Shooting of a stunt scene with Nicolas Cage in the diner just before the entire building explodes in a fireball.
Actor Nicolas Cage spent weeks prior to shooting and several hours each day during production working out 
and lifting weights with trainer Lee Nicholl to build strength and endurance.
He also trained with kick boxing champion Benny Urquidez to perfect his fighting technique.
Nicholl put Cage on a strict dietary regimen to help him tone and bulk up muscle while reducing his already 
slim physique to a mere body fat of a few percent.
Urquidez, who takes a rather spiritual approach to training, enticed many members of the crew to join him 
in his dojo for daily workouts and meditation sessions during lunch.
Lerner Airfield (Wendover).
The meticulously planned mid-air skyjacking masterminded by ultra-villain Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom (John Malkovich) 
got into serious trouble when drug baron Francisco Cindino (Jesse Borrego) didn't want to stick to Cyrus' plan anymore 
and tries to escape with a hidden private jet.
Bad luck! 
The Jet, hit by a crane arm, crashes through a gas station and almost into the diner.
Set preparations for the crash scene.
After the jet stops, Francisco is trying to climb out of the back of the broken in half plane and gasoline 
is shooting out of the ground where the knocked over gas pumps were. 
While Francisco is yelling for help and hanging out of the back of the jet Cyrus takes a cigarette from the corner 
of Swamp Thing's (M.C.Gainey) mouth and throws it into the gasoline-kerosene mixture ...bang, a hot flash! 
What a fireball!
The plane has already done a lot of damage and the leaked fuel is about to explode.
In the diner, Poe tries to escape the fireball.
The camera crew films Poe running down the aisle while the special effects guys (right) manage 
the controlled explosion show.
Wham! It's time to leave the oven quickly...
Nicolas Cage in the old pressbook:
'Whether I wanted to or not, I did most of my own stunts.
They wanted to see my face on camera with the explosions five feet from me, and the flaming helicopters 
dropping behind me, and the ball-bearing bullets flying over my head.
So there was a level of intensity - fear, you might say.
To be honest, it was scary.'
It seems as if they used gas jets or modern wave-flamers for the flames & fire effects. 
They can be aimed very precisely.
Wave-flamers were often used to create a propane-style flame. 
To be on the safe side, the tables and benches on the left have all been removed.
A Set up for a low angle shot of the running Poe.
The final explosion was filmed without Cage standing close by. 
And all the tables and benches are back in again.
The special effects guy on the right choreographing the flames no longer has to be careful and lets it fly.
Everything neatly cut together results in a smooth scene at the end.
We zoom in a little closer.
Now the flames are also fed in from the side.
There is even a cone of fire peeking out of the window on the right.
What is it for? Additional effects lighting?
Look at the 'choreographer' with this fat 'remote shutter' for the jets.
Each jet can be controlled individually.
In any case, fire effects require skillful handling.
Any flame colourizing agents?
In the end, Poe (Nicholas Cage) jumps through a window out of the exploding diner.
Poe's pistol is dangling in the air a bit strange.
As if someone had thrown it into the picture?
In the movie, the finished scene looks a bit more zippy, but that's a different story.
Poe has no time for pain, he has to keep moving to reach his friend and bring him a life-saving 
injection needle (insulin).
Here you find some more stories about the first-rate popcorn thrill ride 'Con Air':
- The last flight of Pinball!
- A Cobra attacks a blue screen!
- A Corvette takes off!

This time it's not about the big black suits but about a very small one, Frank the talking pug.
The rough little wise guy got a lot more attention in the second part.
He became a Star, a key supporting player in 'MIB II' and a serious scene stealer.
Agent Frank knows how to party.
ILM had a tough time with all of the schedules and various tasks they had to work through.
The animation workload for Frank was higher than planned and ILM turned to Rhythm & Hues to 
produce a part of the shots with the chattering Frank.
Both houses delivered great results ... and made Frank a Star.
Filming of a scene with Frank, played by Mushu, a real pug.
The little guy had a character of his own and was sometimes more difficult to control than any mechanized alien.
So many people and one small dog.
Frank: Which of you eggheads has my cigar?
Back on the streets, Agent Jay and Agent Kay need the help of Agent Frank.
Of course the little guy is dressed appropriately for the mission, to liberate MIB headquarter 
after Serleena's takeover.
Some funny and cute promotion shots of Frank have been made (35mm Slides).
He knows he's a star!
Agent J: Lose the suit!
Frank: Sure thing partner. No problemo. Just going for the look. 
But if I say so myself, I do find the overall effect very slimming!
Frank's MIB suit was auctioned off at an auction house a few years ago.
A small suit for the price of several large ones.
There's probably a small dog in a suit walking around the neighborhood somewhere right now.
Frank: Listen, partner. I may look like a dog, but I only play one here on Earth.
Frank's chilling out with some friends and a good cigar.
Other minor players in the first film promoted to key supporting roles in the second were the Worm Guys.
Neeble, Gleeble, Sleeble and 'Rambo' Mannix were rebuilt from scratch and fully mechanized for 'MIB II'.
Special makeup expert Bart Mixon (Cinovation) prepares the little rascals for the filming of 
the scene with Frank.
Numerous puppeteers were needed, to let the Worm Guys smoke as relaxed as possible.
Everything is ready to shoot the scene with the capricious chainsmokers.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld is there to keep an eye on his stars.
An animal trainer tries everything to keep Frank happy.
Frank the MIB action hero.
Never give up, the next cigar is sure to come.
Creature mastermind Rick Baker disusses the upcoming Worm Guy scenes.
A groovy sequence that takes place in their extravagant designer apartment.
The Worm Guys will be the top act of my upcoming 'MIB II' story.
Before that, here are a few reruns of good old shows:
MIB - Push the little red button
MIB - The Flying Saucer rig
MIB 2 - Serleena and the scum of the Universe
Check the blog for more!

Total Recall - The 'Decompression effect puppets' by Rob Bottin (special makeup effects design and creation).
At the last moment Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) can prevent Cohaagen (Ronny Cox) from blowing up the reactor, 
but the bomb tears a large hole in the hollow mountain sucking the oxygen atmosphere out with it.
Cohaagen is the first to be sucked out through the hole and only seconds later Melina (Rachel Ticotin) and 
Quaid follow.
They all tumble down the mountainside gasping for breath.
To be able to show the decompression effect in detail, Rob Bottin and his crew built very accurate puppet heads of 
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator), Rachel Ticotin and two heads of Ronny Cox.
The fully articulated and superbly sculpted heads of Quaid and Melina shown here are equipped with numerous 
special effects, like swelling tongues, foreheads, cheeks and the groovy telescoping eye trick.
The magic behind the effect of the inflated heads are ingeniously built-in bladder mechanisms.
The bladders were inflated by puppeteers blowing into tubes.
A full head bladder was stretched over a light mechanical underskeleton and combined with smaller ones.
The bulging eyes that slide in and out convince with real-looking sculpted tendons and muscles.
A formidable cable operated show of Rob Bottin and company.
The sculpting of the puppet replicas is breathtaking, while Arnold Schwarzenegger's stand-in bears little 
resemblance to him.
Take a look at the bunch of cables and tubing coming out of the puppet's torso.
The filming of the closeup decompression effect puppets.
Director Paul Verhoeven (right) explains what he wants to see.
The guys in the back on the left are not 'The Ramones' visiting the filming, these are the Puppeteers for 
the decompression show.
Rob Bottin speaks to them while they were waiting for the starting signal.
See more of 'Total Recall' here: 
- Mutants from Mars!
- Welcome to Johnny Cab!