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The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
This Blog will be offering a colorful kaleidoscope of movie magic for cinema aficionados.
Crispy peanuts, colorful baloons and thrilling sensations on celluloid.
See offbeat goodies and magic crumbs ...weekly!

Special Effects wizard KIT WEST passed away in his home in London on April 16th.
Your intensive assistance was an honour and privilige for me.
Take care, buddy!


This is one of the better of the numerous 70s B-Movie mutation flicks from the world of low-budget film-making.
The great Strother Martin as mad scientist clearly steals the show among the performers.
He wants to transfrom Dirk Benedict into a King Cobra (!) with the help of some special Dietary supplements. 
What? Who cares ...please do not ask!
The leisurely little horror movie surprises with a topnotch make-up design by John Chambers ('Planet of the Apes').
Hisssssss flexible Snake Man make-up is great fun, which explains the cult status of the film.
The weird doctor (Strother Martin) offers a delicious breakfast, a syringe with a special 'Snake Man' serum.
German Lobby Card. Strother Martin with John Chambers 'Snake Man'.
Some of John Chambers most prominent genre creations are his groundbreaking ape appliances for the 'Planet of the Apes' film series.
He received an honorary Academy Award, 1968, for his outstanding makeup achievement for 'Planet of the Apes'.
Other feature films Chambers worked on include 'Phantom of the Paradise' (1974) and 'The Island of Dr. Moreau' (1977).
He also worked for some well known TV shows like the original 'The Outer Limits'.
Chambers designed David McCallum's 'Sixth Finger' make-up for the 'The Sixth Finger' episode.
On the right side you can see his flexible make-up for 'Sssssss' (1973) in development, with a foam latex mask and 
prosthetic appliances.
The poor Dirk Benedict transforms into a human reptile ...to save mankind? What a wonderful plan of of Doc Martin!
'Sssssss' design by make-up artist and prosthetic makeup expert John chambers, 1973.
The Snake Man in development with the help of Nick Marcellino and Daniel C. Striepeke.
The prosthetic latex appliances on the body are imitating the skin scales of a Snake.
A snake metamorphosis mask from 'Sssssss' made by John Chambers for Dirk Benedict’s character 'David Blake'. 
The masks are hand-painted and detailed in flesh tones and feature a preliminary transformation and a more 
pronounced snake-like mask with exaggerated scales.
The Cult Horror B-Movie flick is available on Blu-ray in suitable quality.

A huge snake, a Cobra, coils its way through the Arch of Titus into Rome.
Inside of the Cobra are twenty-four snake dancers and twelve girl musicians which emerge from the construction 
and do their Go-Go snake dancing.
These glittering scenes are only in the longer version but not in the shorter movie version.
Shooting the Snake. 
Part of Cleopatras triumphant procession into Rome with an endless parade of Extras in exotic costumes.
The Snake Dancers. Many of the female Extras complained about the too sexy constumes.
Even decades later, it is unquestionably a first class costume design. 
This is the 'leading dancing Queen' with a special snake headgear. All others have a different uniform headgear.
The costume consists essentially of a latex snake which wraps around one leg, pelvis and the chest.
One Arm and hand look like a snake, a rubber 'Cobra snake glove'.
A few small make-up appliances in the form of leaves on the body.
An extensive Make-up and Costume crew was required to prepare the numerous snake dancers.
Cinecitta Studios, 1962.
What a show!
Sssssss ...Go-Go Girls dancing the Cobra.
Rehearsal for the big show. Some dancers wear the first design of a rubber Cobra glove.
I already have a 'Cleopatra' story online about the 'Pinewood Disaster'. 
You will find it here: Raindrops falling on a Ghost Town.

Long lines of fans outside of the '34th Street East Theatre' in New York for the opening day of 'JAWS', 1975.
The '34th Street East Movie Theatre' was a single-screen deluxe Cinema with a seating capacity of about 500.
A stadium type Theatre with a mezzanine or lodge area slightly raised above the rest of the orchestra, 
operated by Walter Reade-Stirling Theatres.
241 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016
The '34th Street East' was opened on July 16, 1963 with Richard Harris in “This Sporting Life” and closed 
it doors in September of 1997. 
The building was demolished Fall 2015.
(Photo credit: 'International Projectionist', April 1964.)

'Cocoon - The Return' - It quickly becomes clear that this sequel to the successful 'Cocoon' will be a bumpy 'return'.
Director Daniel Petrie ('Fort Apache - The Bronx') failed to refresh the story with new ideas.
There are only little surprises, the magic is gone.
A harmless, average film, kept alive by the wonderful ensemble of fun-loving seniors.
The old 'socks' playing great.
Full of energy and still hungry...
The flying Don 'Magic' Ameche hanging on wires in front of a blue screen.
Several scenes for the Basketball game between some kidz and our seniors were shot on a studio stage at ILM.
The long shot of Don Ameche was filmed against a blue screen so his image could be seperated from the backdrop 
and remastered into the basketball scenery.
Don Ameche, 1988 - 35mm slide.
Jump shot ...what a lay-up! Don has fun with the ILM crew.
Here you find a colorful story about the model miniatures of 'Cocoon': MANTA III.

Your comments are always welcome!

'Murphy's War' is surely not one of the best known works by director Peter Yates.
The highly respected director of 'Bullitt' (1968), 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle' (1973) and 'Krull' (1983).
But the excellent war movie deserves more attention ...and a quality blu-ray release!
'Murphy's War' has it all, an outstanding directing, editing and a great camera work in the regions of Puerto Ordaz 
and Castillo San Francisco de Asís (Fort Villapol) on the Orinoco River in Venezuela.
Peter O'Toole is the sole survivor of the crew of a trading ship, the Mount Kyle, which had been sunk by the German 
U-boat, commanded by Lauchs, superbly played by the German actor Horst Janson.
All survivors were riddled with bullets, except for one, Murphy.
Peter O'Toole is 'Murphy of the Orinoco', who obsessively tries to sink the German U-Boat by any means.
Here we see him in an elaborate scene at the beginning of the film with Director Peter Yates and DOP Douglas Slocombe.
The crew built a special hanging platform on the Orinoco river, 1970.
Douglas Slocombe (1913-2016) was the artist behind the beautiful cinematography in 'Murphy's War', 
with splendid shots of the Jungle and the Orinoco. 
A prime cinematographer and a favorite of Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones).
Slocombe won the BAFTA, the British equivalent of the Oscar, three times, for 'The Servant' (1963), 
'The Great Gatsby' (1974) and 'Julia' (1977).
He was the DOP on a lot of cult movies like 'The Italian Job' or 'Rollerball'.
At the age of 103 Douglas Slocombe died on February 22, 2016.
Director Peter Yates spared no efforts. 
The filming on the Orinoco in the green hell of Venezuela was exhausting for everyone involved.
Horst Janson: 'The moist heat was our greatest enemy'.
Director Peter Yates with Philippe Noiret and Peter O'Toole.
Despite the strenuous shooting is still time for adventure. An an-eater visited the camp Murphy.
Horst Janson: 'Peter O'Toole and myself were invited by the local extras for a celebration. 
There were roasted chickens (on a spit) with a spicy, sweet-smelling gravy.
Peter and I sit down and we took a taste ... only seconds later we had stomach pain as if we had swallowed 
razor blades. No filming on the next day, because we were still in bed with stomach cramps.'
The German U-Boat commander Lauchs (Horst Janson) fights a bitter private war with Murphy (Peter O'Toole), 
and no prisoners are taken.
Part of his U-Boat crew is Ingo Mogendorf. 
This guy has surely some interesting stories to tell, unfortunately he did not respond to my request.
Ingo is living in southern Spain and ran a well-known Table-Dance Nightclub for many years.
The floatplane in 'Murphy's War' is a Grumman J2F 'Duck', an American single-engine amphibious biplane.
Here we see the 'Duck' in front of the Castillo San Francisco de Asís on the Orinoco river.
On the shore, the small village is built. You can see the rough construction. 
The crew also built a full size mock up 'Duck' that was later destroyed by Lauchs and his trigger-happy crew.
Frank Tallman flew the Grumman J2F-6 'Duck' amphibian he restored in Murphy's War.
Frank was the flying supervisor for 'Catch-22', he piloted a Stearman Crop Duster in 'Charley Varrick' 
and worked for movies like 'Capricorn One' and '1941'.
"Murphy's War" - An underrated, almost forgotten film treasure awaits your discovery!
(Horst Jansons comments found in an old 'Bravo' magazine.)

See Cultural treasures from war zones - Coming soon!
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