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The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
JULY 2016
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!

The problems of 'The NeverEnding Story II' are the non-effects shots of Director George Miller ('Mad Max').
Actually, everything is there, but the implementation is lethargic and without any wit and verve.
The only magic of the show are the outstanding different Effects Crews.
Visual Effects, Mechanical FX, Animatronics, Puppets, Creature Make-Up FX, Miniatures, matte paintings, 
all performed by well-known experts.
One of the great 'Makers' of 'The NeverEnding Story II' is the Conceptual Artist Ludwig Angerer 'der Ältere'.
He designed the concepts for the imaginatively Sets of the movie.
Learn more about the Artist of Fantasy Ludwig Angerer der Ältere here:
Concept Art of the Silver City - Ludwig Angerer.
Inside of Horok Castle, the Castle of the Evil Xayide (Clarissa Burt). 
Gloomy and sinister Concept Art of Ludwig Angerer with great colors - Kodak Transparency.
Movie scene. Angerers concept and a Syd Dutton matte.
Xayide in Horok Castle. Even the color scheme of the Set was taken from the concept of Angerer.
Ludwig Angerers Concept Art of Horok Castle, the Seeing Hand. 
The Castle shaped like a hand stands in a deep canyon - Kodak Transparency.
Model Miniature of the Horok Castle - Kodak Transparency of the Studio Set
A great and atmospheric model miniature set on Stage 7 at the Bavaria Studios, Munich. 
Excellent use of fog and the art of illuminating. Fantastic!
The Motion Control Camera system follows a miniature Falkor (with Bastian puppet), hanging on wires, 
on the way to Horok Castle.
The great Cover Art for the Pressbook (left side) and other promotion material was painted by Renato Casaro.
You will find more Casaro Art on the Blog entry for June!
Jonathan Brandis (1976–2003) was playing Bastian, the lead role on 'The NeverEnding Story II'.
In November 2003, Brandis died after hanging himself at the age of 27. 
He will be remembered as 'Lucas' in the TV Series 'SeaQuest'.
One of the different great puppets of the show.
Smerg - The most horrible flying Dragon.
An elaborate mechanical puppet for just a few seconds on celluloid.
Smerg in Action. 
Soon more of 'The NeverEnding Story'.

The Carlton Cinema, a former roller skating rink, was located in Watford, Hertfordshire, in the north of Greater London (England).
It opened 21 February 1921 under the name 'Super Cinema' with a seating capacity of over 1000.
Around September 1930 the 'Super' changed its name to 'The Carlton', a famous cinema in Watford.
There have been various modifications over time, the balcony was closed. 
Rank Organisation turned the old Super cinema into a modern single level theater with far less than 1000 seats.
The ceiling dome, a relic from the old skating days, was restored and had stylish lights studded into the 
plaster as the main decorative feature of the auditorium.
However, the cinema business soon changed dramatically.
The Carlton Cinema closed on 19th July 1980 with 'Zombies – Dawn of the Dead' and the venerable theater was 
demolished in just a few days in September 1982.
Maureen Askew, the manager of the Carlton cinema, on a unique promotion ride for 'Death Race 2000', 
showing at the Carlton in 1976. This is cult classic promotion!
The promotion monster car of Frankenstein, played by David Carradine, was built in England on a Healey 3000 
chassis with a Trident body (see photo). 
The Monster has been kitted out with rubber teeth and a dragon-like armor.
Obviously there was a small accident, the Monster has lost a tooth.
Has Frankenstein found a new victim ...?
Traffic wardens paled, pedestrians leapt for the pavements, old women faltered halfway across zebra crossings, 
as Frankenstein roars through the streets of London.
The Trident sign is missing, but all teeth are healthy.

The 'X-Men' movie of Bryan Singer is a pretty digital-heavy movie. 
All the different visual effects companies rotated at maximum power.
Judging by what was possible in 2000, they all did a good job. 
Well, but 'X-Men' still has some cool physical effects (Colin Chilvers), makeup surprises, nice Sets and other 
good old hand made stuff on board. 
A zippy flick based on the beloved Marvel comic books.
X-Men bluescreen Action - Studio Sets.
Magneto (Ian McKellen) is thrilled about Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) hanging on a cliff.
The Players on a well done studio set and a bluescreen are the practical elements for the scene.
Then follow the unavoidable 'dreams in digital'. Often well managed, but very often terribly failed.
Not entirely convincing ...and probably a good idea to do it as a night scene!
Yeah, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) fighting with Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) on the head of the Statue of Liberty.
Hugh Jackman is a great Wolverine. 
The close-ups of the dancing on Miss Liberty scenes are bluescreen studio shots.
Wolverine hanging on the Statue of Liberty.
Director Guy Hamilton filmed some much more convincing Action Scenes on the Statue of Liberty for his 
underrated Action movie 'Remo Williams', 1985.
Check out the Blog entry for May for some rare photos.
Another excellent Studio Set - The torch of the Statue of Liberty.
Shooting the close-ups for the striking Wolverine show.
Wolverine in the middle of the 'fire', on top of the torch.

'Mein Gott!', the german flying ace Adolf 'Dolfo' Galland gasped during the filming of 'Battle of Britain' 
near the small railway station of Irurtzun, in the south of San Sebastian (Spain).
'That's him!', Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring.
'It's unbelievable', said Galland, a technical consultant of the film and former General of the German Luftwaffe.
And Hein Riess, the actor, accepted this as the ultimate compliment.
The German Actor and very famous shanty singer (ein echtes Hamburger Original!) Hein Riess was portraying Göring 
with great enthusiasm and gorgeous overexcited. 
It's quite a show to see him stomping around in this shining ornate sky blue uniform studded with gold insignia 
and shouting at his subordinates in simulated fury.
What a brilliant overweight and pompous performance of Hein Riess. Stunning!
Hein Riess (1913-1993 in Hamburg) is Reichsmarschall Herrman Göring - Irurtzun (Spain), April 1968.
Göring’s personal train arrives at Pas-de-Calais - Irurtzun (Spain), April 1968.
General Osterkamp (Wilfried von Aacken) and Field Marshal Kesselring (Peter Hager) welcome the Reichsmarschall.
Hein Riess talking with technical advisor Peter Townsend. 
Peter Townsend (RAF) was one of several military advisors on 'Battle of Britain'.
For Adolf Galland Hein Riess was almost the reincarnation of Göring.
'Even his voice is Göring's', he said. 
Göring (Riess) discusses a scene with Peter Townsend in Irurtzun (Spain).
On the right side a photo of Peter Townsend visiting the 'Battle of Britain' locations in San Sebastian (Spain).
Here we see him (in accompaniment of?) in the inner harbor of San Sebastian.
Soon there will be more short stories about the film in this creepy little cinema.
In the entry for June you will find a story about the fireworks show in Duxford orchestrated by 
maestro Cliff Richardson (Physical Effects Supervisor). 
Vinyl LP of Capt. Hein Riess singing sea Shanties together with the choir 'Die Elbspatzen'.
He died of heart failure a few days before his 80th birthday.

Your comments are always welcome!

'War Gods of the Deep' (1965) is a skinny little fantasy movie. 
An obscure blend of Edgar Allan Poe and Jule Verne.
The poor Vincent Price is the Nemo-like ruler of a subterranean city.
He believes that Susan Hart is the reincarnation of his dead wife.
In the best 'Pathecolor' we can enjoy all the misery. Helpless Players in a dull Comic!
The 'deep-sea' shots are the purest wit, all undoubtedly filmed in a shallow pool and in bungling costumes.
I love trash movies, but that's brutal scary amateurishly... 
The special effects, handled by the Doyen of British Sp/Fx, Les Bowie, are the candle in the dark.
Some pretty well staged mirror tricks, composites and on stage effects are fun to watch.
As usual Les Bowie had only a very small budget to design miracles.
The producers purchased cheap finished effect-scenes from the Toho company for a few coins. 
These scenes are easy to spot. 
They are all from the japanese FX kitchen of Eiji Tsuburaya ('Atragon') and are certainly not among his best work.
Some Pinewood Studio Sets look quite presentable (photo). 
'War Gods of the sleeping pills' is a relentlessly boring movie, completely toothless, produced without inspiration.
Perhaps the film can be of use for people with acute problems falling asleep. 
Help is Here!

The charmingly bizarre and sinister fantasy-adventure film 'Return to Oz' (1985), directed and written by 
Walter Murch, is a Disney all-time classic. 
Quite rightly, the film acquired a large cult following through the years!
The terrific opticals, visuals and 'Claymation' wizardry of Will Vinton, Zoran Perisic, Michael Lloyd and 
Ian Wingrove received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, but lost to the excellent 'Cocoon'.
'Return to Oz' is a magic adventure full of gloomy beauty. 
Dorothy, Billina, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead and the flying Gump on the way to the evil Nome King, 
thanks to Mombi's magical powder of life.
Preparing the flying / falling apart 'Gump' shots in the EMI Elstree Studios.
The visual effects crew produced various background plates for the flying sequence.
Here we see the crew working on the 'Emerald City' forest background plate.
A special camera rig will fly across the huge miniature forest which was built on stage for that plate.
A special rig was built for photographing the full-size Gump with the 'Zoptic' system.
The 'Zoptic' front projection system of opticals expert Zoran Perisic was used for the flying scenes.
The Zoptic special effects device enables the Gump to appear to move "indepth" within a background plate, 
while its real position relative to the camera remains unchanged. 
The zoom lens of the camera is closely coordinated with the projection of the background image.
The brave friends landed on Nome King's mountain.
Great composite of a live-action plate and a matte.
The main matte work on 'Return to Oz' was handled by British artist Charles Stoneham and the American painter Robert Scifo.
On the Nome King's mountain.
The Set Construction Crew did a wonderful job and built a great cliff Set surrounded by a painted backdrop.
The excellent Set was designed from the outset as elevated set and was built on a platform, 
to generate space for the puppeteers to work in. 
Jack Pumpkinhead, for example, was operated from beneath the set via rods.
Camera platform for the photographing of the live-action on the elevated Cliff Set.
DOP David Watkin (left, behind the camera) is waiting for the action. 
The guy on the left in a dark sweater looks like Production Designer Norman Reynolds.
Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) is hanging on wires for the 'fall from the clouds' shot.
Director Walter Murch asks the young Fairuza if everything is okay.
The Set was expanded with a painted backdrop (left).
I will return to Oz very soon with more 'Making Of' stories.

"Pete's Dragon" (1977) is a cute and lovely Disney live-action 'musical' film with an animated dragon named Elliott. 
Of course the film has aged, but the animated Elliott still moves nimbly, even today. 
The well mounted special effects and the unpolished old-school dragon animation are quite groovy to watch.
One technique used in the movie involved compositing with a Sodium vapor process, whereby up to three 
scenes might be composited together (live foreground - animated middle ground containing Elliott - live background). 
Don Bluth was the animation director of the Disney show. 
The great character designer Kenneth B. "Ken" Anderson created 'Elliott', the dragon.
Art Cruickshank, Danny Lee and Eustace Lycett handled the effects and Harrison Ellenshaw was the matte man.
The remake of 'Pete's Dragon' will be in the theaters this summer.
But now we look back on the Disney classic from the year 1977th...
Animation Director Don Bluth, left, and layout Artist Joe Hale decide how Elliott should be drawn to fit into a particular scene.
Don Bluth, a Maestro of animation and an independent film maker, was the Director of the highly praised 
'The Secret of NIMH' (1982). 
Director Don Chaffey, left, and layout man Joe Hale review C-prints.
These are frame-by-frame prints made from film exposed on the sodium light stage.
The British movie director Don Chaffey filmed some interesting B-movie flicks. 
'The Viking Queen' (1967) will be featured on this blog soon, 'A twist of sand' (1968) on 
www.movie-locations-spain.com and 'Charley-One-Eye' (1973) on www.kit-west-spfx.com.
Director Don Chaffey checks the 'dragon finder', along with Joe Hale (left) and DOP Frank V. Phillips (right). 
The 'dragon finder' was a handheld shadow box used by the live-action crew for visualizing Elliott on the set. 
Layout artist Joe Hale (left) invented the 'dragon finder'.
The Disney veteran was a layout artist on many Disney classics, among them 
'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' (1961), 'Mary Poppins' (1964) and 'The Fox and the Hound' (1981).
Ken Anderson, right, created the impish cartoon dragon Elliott with magical qualities.
Kenneth B. Anderson (1909-1993), a true Disney legend, was an art director, animator, character creator and 
writer at Walt Disney Productions for over 40 years.
He was a key player in some of the most well-known animated films such as 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (1937), 
'Pinocchio' (1940) , 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' (1961), and 'The Jungle Book' (1967).
Layout man Joe Hale worked with the live-action crew during the cinematography of all scenes involving animated composites.
His job was to make certain that Elliott was always 'accounted for'.
One person who didn't have a difficult time visualizing a dragon who isn't there is Sean Marshall who plays Pete.
Sean Marshall rehearses for a scene in the lighthouse, where Elliott helps save the day by lighting the lamp during a storm.
Actor Mickey Rooney (Lampie) meets a latex Elliott model.
The model was used in many scenes to help the cast visualize the dragon.
Pete (Sean Marshall) is riding on Elliott - Bluescreen studio shot.
Layout Artist Joe Hale tells him where and how to hold on to.
Director of Cinematography Frank V. Phillips behind a Mitchell 35mm - 'Pete's Dragon', december 1976. 
Frank V. Phillips (1912–1994) was a renowned cinematographer, who has worked a lot for television series and movies. 
He was the DOP on the Disney adventure into science fiction, 'The Black Hole', 1979.