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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.
Peanuts, baloons and thrilling sensations on celluloid.
See offbeat goodies and magic crumbs ...weekly!

'Prehistoric Earth' was the title Roger Corman had in mind for his caveman adventure, but AIP favored 'Teenage Caveman' (1958). 
A teeny-weeny cast with Robert Vaughn as the lead stumbles valiantly through the prehistoric wilderness of California.
Mutant dinosaurs, recycled from Hal Roach’s 1940 production 'One Million B.C.' (and others), clumsy hidden messages and 
ludicrous special effects, to say the least, accompany us until the final twist.
The Flintstones discover that their Stone Age existence had been brought about by the Bomb.
The time is not the prehistoric past, but the post-nuclear future!
A human survived the nuclear apocalypse in a screwy anti-radiation suit, designed by the legendary Paul Blaisdell, for several hundred years. 
A Pulp fantasia C-Movie bombshell...
The Beastman - The last human survivor of the atomic blasts.
The foam rubber 'mutant anteater' suit was designed by Paul Blaisdell, an almost forgotten Monster-Maker of the early days 
of exploitation cinema. 
Paul and Jackie Blaisdell with some of their creatures.
Paul Blaisdell was the make-up wizard behind the scenes of the famous trash flicks of Roger Corman and AIP.
He designed the exhilarating creatures for 'The Beast with 1.000.000 Eyes', 'It conquered the World', 
'The She-Creature', 'Voodoo Woman', 'Invasion of the Saucer-Man' and 'It! The Terror from beyond Space', 
all on a quickie budget and in a tight timeframe. A real great artist!
Make-Up design for a Nuclear Holocaust Methuselah. Grandpa's a little tousled.
Director Roger Corman is looking for a new angle to showcase rubber Grandpa.
In the big nose are instruments to smell out radioactivity.
A very effectively low-budget Creature suit by Paul Blaisdell. 
The Symbol Maker's Teenage Son has spontaneously invented Bow and Arrow and straightway killed a deer with his new weapon. 
This is Robert Vaughn (Napoleon Solo) showing his very best performance. 
'How many times will it happen again?', asks the commentary.
'Will there be survivors next time, or will it be the end?'.

Yakima Canutt was the Stunt Coordinator and 2nd Unit Director on the Samuel Bronston Epic 'Fall of the Roman Empire'.
On his side for the tricky jobs, his eldest son Tap Canutt and the stunt veteran Jack Williams.
One of the first assignments of Yakima Canutt was the scene on the Puente de la Cantina (Valsain, Madrid) with 
lots of extras and a couple of jumps from the bridge.
Stephen Boyd, head of the Roman army, had sentenced some of his soldiers and gladiators to death for cowardice.
They were shoved off the bridge to fall to their deaths below.
Stunt legend Tap Canutt did some of the falls of around thirty to forty feet, landing on thick pads.
The scenes were staged by his father, 2nd unit director Yakima Canutt.
Yakima in his book 'Stunt Man - the Autobiography of Yakima Canutt': 
'Working on that picture was one of the most pleasant jobs I ever did'.
A great stunt jump of Tap Canutt. 
Tap (left) was doubling Stephen Boyd and Jack Williams (right) was doubling Christopher Plummer in the impressive 
Chariot Race, directed by Yakima Canutt. 
Learn more about the most breathtaking Chariot duel ever filmed here: Chariot Race.
Tap was landing on thick pads camouflaged with trees and bushes (dashed line). In full shots they used dummies. 
The camera panned down with the dummy from the middle of the bridge and got the splash into the small stream below, cut, 
then Yakima shoot a real man close by floating in the stream.
Too bad, the scenes were partially cut.

"Open Channel D"

Hey, that's not me, could be what James MacArthur, one of the Stars of the 'Battle of the Bulge', was saying 
to Henry Plitt, president of Balaban & Katz, as they view a poster on the film.
The occasion was the opening of the film at the B&K State Lake Theater (Chicago).
The State Lake, a single screen theater with 2649 seats, has been closed since 1985th. 
Another great and proud old school cinema gone.
Check out this guide to movie theaters: Cinema Treasures.

The daring plan of Riggs to defuse a car bomb somewhat failed ...the International Control Systems 
Incorporated Building explodes in a huge fireball.
The 'Lethal Weapon 3' production had the chance to use a real building that was scheduled for demolition, 
the former City Hall building of Orlando, Florida.
Special Effects Supervisor Matt Sweeney and his crew prepared the building for the challenging big explosion 
effect (pyro, gas, ...) in the City of Orlando, together with the demolition guys for the real blast (caving-in). 
Live ...in the middle of the City of Orlando - The ICSI building collapses, thanks to our friends Riggs and Murtaugh. 
A splendid visual effect of a bomb explosion.
"I'm too old for this shit."

Authors visit Film Set, 1955 - Charles Esme Thornton Warren (centre) and James Benson, joint authors of 'Above us the Waves', 
visit Pinewood Studios to watch the film version of their best-selling book being made.
They are seen here inside midget submarine X3 with screen star Donald Sinden (left) who portrays the sub's commander. 
'Above us the Waves', starring John Mills, Donald Sinden, John Gregson, Michael Medwin and James Robertson Justice, 
tells the story of the heroic men who manned Britain's human torpedoes and midget submarines during the War.
Directed by Ralph Thomas, with Special Effects and Miniatures handled by Bill Warrington and Charlie Staffell.

Alistair MacLean was a Scottish novelist who wrote popular thrillers and adventure stories.
He wrote many best-selling action novels that were turned into often successful movies.
By far my favorite one is the grandiose 'ICE STATION ZEBRA', followed by 'The Guns of Navarone', 
'Where Eagles Dare' and 'The Satan Bug'.
'The Guns of Navarone' was directed by John Lee Thompson ('Mackenna's Gold').
A big and influential prestige picture with first-rate Players and Makers.
The Assistant Director on 'Navarone' was Peter Yates, who later filmed himself a great war movie ('Murphy's War'). 
The Visual Effects were handled by Bob Cuff. 
Special Effects Supervisor Bill Warrington and Sound Effects maestro Chris Greenham won the Academy Award for 
their work on the movie in the category of Best Special Effects, 1962.
They had a good team of FX boys who helped (often uncredited) to earn that Oscar.
To name a few, Wally Veevers, Garth Inns, Johnny Stears and Pat Moore were there to help.
But not everything went smoothly...
Flames billow from the stricken gunboat after Gregory Peck (Mallory) and his commandos have set it on fire 
and killed its crew. The caique, still alongside the german vessel, was then able to continue on its 
journey towards the island of Navarone so that the commandos could set about their task of blowing up the island's guns.
An explosion wrecks the wheelhouse and forward gun position, killing one of the few remaining Germans left on board. 
The direction of the explosion was given by some kind of metal cone/cylinder.
In order to avoid any hazards for the stuntman the Sp/Fx boys used broken up pieces of cork (among others) as shrapnel. 
Well, the soft cork pieces fly on high speed and this poor stuntman here is almost in the middle of the action ...
A little too close, the actor/stuntman playing the German sailor received injuries to his face 
and neck caused by pieces of cork.
Nothing serious, but immediate attention was forthcoming from the Greek doctor attached to the company, 
and from Anthony Quinn, left, who pointed out what might have happened if he had not been so lucky! 
Next to some brilliantly staged action scenes the movie offers a very spectacluar piece of set design, the Guns of Navarone.
Several behind-the-scenes reports about the making of 'Guns of Navarone' will follow. 

14 March 2016 - Happy Birthday Sir Michael Caine! 
Today he celebrates his 83th birthday - Our fondest congratulations Captain Douglas!
The photo shows Michael Caine (Captain Douglas) celebrating his 35th birthday during the filming of 'PLAY DIRTY' 
on set in Almeria, Spain. The crew has prepared a big cake for him.
1968 - Almeria, Spain.
The versatile british special effects master KIT WEST (photo) staged a large-scale Sandstorm in the desert 
of Cabo de Gata for the cynical war movie gem 'PLAY DIRTY'.
See hundreds of behind-the-scenes and making of photos here: www.kit-west-spfx.com

The Samuel Bronston epic 'King of Kings' (1961), directed by Nicholas Ray ('55 days at Peking'), was shot on location in Spain. 
Numerous Spanish experts were involved in the production.
Here we see the spanish stuntman Manolo Gonzales with a fifty-foot free fall from the Tower of the Temple of Jerusalem Set.
A dangerous jump into stacked cardboard boxes.
Manolo was specially hired for this job and paid per jump for it. A common practice for stunt specialists. 
Intensive preparations for the stunt. The cardboard boxes are stacked.
The Temple of Jerusalem was designed by the very famous Production Designer Georges Wakhévitch.
In charge of the set decoration was Enrique Alarcón, supported by Julio Molina de Juanes, Gil Parrondo and others, 
all fairly well known and successful.
The busy construction crew of Francisco Rodriguez Asensio built the temple set on the site of the 
Sevilla Films Studio (Madrid, Spain).
Asensio built the colossal sets for all the Samuel Bronston epics and sets for an incredible number of other films.
Georges Wakhévitch (1907-1984) was a Painter, Set Decorator, Art Director and Production Designer (Sets, costumes).
Soon more about him and his work in a short story on the colorful Terence Young costume drama 'Mayerling', 1968.
I have some nice and unknown photos for a promising blog entry.

December 17, 1991, World Premiere of the Oliver Stone thriller 'JFK' at the Fox Westwood Village theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles.
The Fox Westwood Village Theater is a single-screen theater which seats over 1,300 people. 
Built in 1930, and opened in 1931 as a first-run movie venue, the Fox Village Theater is still one of the best movie 
premiere venues in the world. Over the 85-year history hundreds of films have premiered at the theater.
Typically the streets get shut down and are used for red carpet arrivals.
The most striking feature of the Westwood Theater is the iconic 170-foot white Spanish Revival/Moderne tower 
which looms over the Broxton and Weyburn Avenues intersection. 
Atop the tower is a blue and white metal Art Deco “Fox” sign, which was renovated in the late 1980s.
Halfway up the tower there are carved winged lions which sit at the base of projecting columns. 
At the bottom of the tower just above the entrance is a blue and white sign with the legend 
"Fox Westwood Village". By night the elegant white tower literally becomes a beacon with its signs 
and the shaft of the tower illuminated.
In the late 1970s new 70mm projection equipment was installed and a larger screen added. 
The most recent re-modeling was about 1998-1999 with the theater getting new seating and carpet.
It is currently operated by Regency Theaters under the name Regency Village Theater.
Though historic, the theater has quality sound, comfortable seats, a large screen and digital projector with 3-D capability.
Regency WESTWOOD VILLAGE THEATER
961 Broxton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA. 90024

Director Bernhard Wicki had to accept many changes and requirements and succeeded nevertheless an outstanding film 
about human greed and corruptibility and the fact that money can buy anything, even justice.
A fascinating black and white production with great pictures (Armando Nannuzzi) and superb performers.
Ingrid Bergman is impressively smooth and efficient.
She is watching with delight how Anthony Quinn's "good friends" turn against him and enjoy the benefits of free credits.
Everyone knows that it can only be paid if Quinn dies. Even his own wife.
The film was shot around Ponte Galeria and Capranica in Italy, 1963.
A big Set, the town of 'Guellen', was built and the old train station of Capranica was used as the Station of 'Guellen'.
Guellen goes back to the German word 'Guelle', slurry, a manure from urine and feces.
Irinia Demick, the playmate of the producer Darryl F. Zanuck, with a model of the town of 'Guellen', 1963.
She is playing the lovely Anya in 'The Visit'.
In the background you can see how the city is taking shape.
'Guellen' - Most of these buildings consisted only of facades.
The Church of Guellen, 1963.
Irinia Demick sitting in a piece of the church tower Set. The tip of one of the two small towers.
Karla Zachanassian (Ingrid Bergman) observing the power of her money and its consequences.
Irinia Demick in a water tank. The tower on the left with the tip-tanks is used for storm effects.
In the background on the right the construction site of the 'Guellen' Set.
Is that really Ponte Galeria?
There may be an information in any of the books on Director Bernhard Wicki?
The Station of Guellen is the old train station of Capranica, near Rome.

A dull plodding 70s animal terror pic of TV Western Director William F. Claxton.
The acting of a bunch of worn-out actors is rudimentary and the special effects hardly special, but the 
pugnaciously Easter Bunnies are a real screamer. It's carrot time! 
The concept of 'Night of the Lepus' is not bad, but the adaptation of the script is a ridiculous attempt.
The main problem are the harmless cute Rabbits.
They are completely miscasted as bloodthirsty and aggressive monsters.
The extreme close ups on the rabbits and the ketchup on the snouts to suggest that they were monsters are an absolute joke.
A strange rubber rabbit or a stop-motion puppet rampaging through a miniature set, wow, that would have been a real asset!
Rory Calhoun reached the destroyed Store of a Gas Station.
A giant rabbit, a performer in a lousy fur costume, killed the owner
The players of 'Night of the Lepus': Rory Calhoun, Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh and DeForest Kelley. 
That's great cinema!
Final Sale at the General Store. A surprisingly well staged miniature effect. Look how cute!
'Trained' domestic rabbits filmed against a miniature Set. 
A simple but suitable miniature Set - Monster rabbits looking for the offers of the week, deer steaks! 
This guy looks like production designer and 2nd Unit Director Stan Jolley (?).
The animals were trained by Lou Schumacher, Lee Sollenberger and Henry Cowl.
I love the rabbit stampede scenes and the scenes in the town accompanied by roaring sound effects.
Dollhouse raid of the Rabbit Gang.
The Warner Brothers Archive Collection made it possible.

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