Home Painting Matte Shot – a tribute to Golden Period particular fx: The Visible Results of MIGHTY JOE YOUNG: O’Bie’s ninth Marvel of the World

Matte Shot – a tribute to Golden Period particular fx: The Visible Results of MIGHTY JOE YOUNG: O’Bie’s ninth Marvel of the World



Pete’s Editorial:

Welcome as soon as once more to a different installment of Matte Shot, the venue for devotees of ‘old fashioned’ film magic, the place we have a good time the practitioners of conventional particular visible results, and dissect their strategies and pioneering achievements from the pre-computerised period – which as we all know, constituted the vast majority of the movement image manufacturing splendidly for close to on ninety years.

At this time, I’ve some thrilling bits of reports and updates, which bookend the one movie being examined on this subject of Matte Shot.  I say ‘single movie’ because the manufacturing I’ve chosen has such a huge variety of visible results pictures that there merely is not area to have a multi-film article this time round.

The 1949 function MIGHTY JOE YOUNG was a mammoth results showcase, with a large cease movement part, complimented by a lot of painted mattes, course of pictures, optical methods, miniature mayhem and mechanical gags, all of which I’ll try and illustrate and develop upon right here as greatest I can.

Willis O’Brien idea watercolour for MIGHTY JOE YOUNG.

Moreover, I merely should make point out of an thrilling new e book now obtainable on my favorite topic, conventional particular results!!  I am going to element this important publication beneath.

Additionally, I’m most delighted to say that I’ve only in the near past acquired a number of stunning unique matte work from Invoice Taylor’s assortment, with the very good artistry and expertise of Syd Dutton in addition to the matte maestro himself, the nice Albert Whitlock.  I am so thrilled to personal these items, which entice untold examine, shut examination and admiration every time I take a look at them.  Extra on these later on this weblog publish after the ‘foremost function’….

One of many breathtaking mattes lately acquired by NZ Pete.  The others might be seen within the latter stretch of this very weblog publish.  Verify ’em out … ya know you need to!

***This publish, and all 171 earlier blogs referred to as ‘Matte Shot’, had been initially created by Peter Prepare dinner for nzpetesmatteshot, with all content material, structure and textual content initially revealed at http://nzpetesmatteshot.blogspot.com/


A New E-book on the Historical past of Film Particular Results:  

I’ve nearly each e book – and a ton of journals and mags relationship method again – on conventional particular results (*except the magnificent ‘Grasp of the Majicks’, which is the best of the realm), although I might need to say that this new launch from writer Mark Wolf simply matches the very best of them, and proudly stands head and shoulders above the overwhelming majority.  What makes this quantity totally different is that the writer, Mark Wolf, is not a mere ‘scribe for rent’ as was the case with many different related books over time, with Mark himself an skilled profession results man in varied capacities on quite a few productions.  Mark’s data of the artform, methodology and the technical consultants concerned is intensive to say the least, with fairly probably the broadest survey of all elements of pre-CGI period trickery examined, illustrated and mentioned intimately, than I can recall seeing in fairly some time.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS: Particular Visible Results B.C – earlier than computer systems covers all of it; from the silent period pioneers, miniaturists, matte artists, make up specialists, particular props, optical printer trickery, cease movement, results cinematography, and even the hokey bottom-of-the-fx-barrell flicks and methods that a few of us (moi) really get a kick out of(!)

The e book (sure, a ‘actual’ quantity printed on paper and sure!) is out there from Amazon (click on right here), and, I imagine, from chosen bookstores within the US a minimum of.  When you do not imagine my ‘thumbs up’ editorial, then simply take a look at the 100% optimistic 5 star evaluations on that website.  NZ Pete’s highest suggestion!

Beneath are a number of profusely illustrated pattern pages for the enlightenment of my readers…


The Particular Visible Results of MIGHTY JOE YOUNG:  O’Bie’s ninth Marvel of the World

With the success of the a lot earlier bona-fide basic KING KONG (1933), creators Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack sought to re-boot the just about an identical situation with a lot of the identical manufacturing staff and technical experience, in addition to one of many key KONG forged members for MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949).  The movie adopted the identical primary premise of the aforementioned KONG – misunderstood beast falling in love (of types) with blond magnificence, and being ultimately exploited for financial achieve by dodgy profiteers.  Certainly not on a par with KONG (the human performances in MJY go away a hell of lots to be desired, and are, at occasions, downright terrible), it is nonetheless a outstanding image – and higher by a longshot than the dismal SON OF KONG – with Joe’s breathtakingly life-like cease movement achievements bringing a lot ‘humanity’ to the title character, that will set the benchmark for a few years to observe with animated character results.

The viability of MJY rested fully upon the producer’s certainty that the nice Willis O’Brien – the visible results wizard behind CREATION, KING KONG, THE LOST WORLD and THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII amongst others – could be on board.  The movie merely couldn’t have gone into manufacturing with out O’Bie as chief creator and designer of particular photographic results.  Right here we are able to see O’Bie at work, most likely as early as 1947 on an exquisite idea portray for MJY which might function the centrepiece within the general FX motion.

For many who do not know – and disgrace on you for not figuring out – Willis O’Brien continues to be thought-about the daddy (or grandfather) of fantasy movie trick images.  A real cinematic visionary whose notions, foresight and creativeness spurned not solely a listing of among the best results movies and outright masterpieces of the style (KING KONG…want I say extra?), however a person who additionally stimulated the youthful imaginations and actions of scores of up and coming visible results artists equivalent to Ray Harryhausen, Mario Larrinaga, Jim Danforth, David Allen, Randall William Prepare dinner, Jim Aupperle, Mark Wolf, Dennis Muren, Peter Lord, Gene Warren, Phil Tippett and lots of extra, to not point out movie famous administrators equivalent to Merian C. Cooper, Peter Jackson, George Pal and others. 

The remnants of one of many six Joe puppets trying considerably worse for put on many many years later.

One other necessary artistic staffer from the KONG ensemble was the legendary Marcel Delgado.  Marcel specialised in constructing the puppets and making miniatures.  At far left is without doubt one of the Joe armatures constructed by the extremely expert RKO machinist, Harry Cunningham, whereas at far proper is without doubt one of the cowboy armatures as made for the unimaginable roping set piece.

In what was Ray Harryhausen’s first function movie expertise, as First Technician below O’Bie, his intensive cease movement work on MJY set a benchmark and launched Ray’s profession skyward whereby he by no means appeared again, besides in full admiration for Willis O’Brien in taking an opportunity on his untested abilities within the first place.  Listed here are photographs from Ray’s latter days with him tinkering with one of many unique precision engineered Joe armatures.

Harryhausen at work, most likely in 1948, on essentially the most intricate animated sequence, the place a goup of cowboys on horseback attempt to lasso Joe to convey him down.  Notice the putting jungle matte artwork on a number of panes of glass.  Extra about this sequence later!

One other take a look at Ray animating a Joe puppet in entrance of a giant glass painted vista with rear projected space for reside motion (additionally seen at excessive left).

A uncommon and really revealing studio breakdown containing a whole checklist of credit in addition to the VFX price range itemised all the way down to the smallest element.  Extremely informative.  For many who cannot learn the kind I am going to point out specifics in varied captions that observe.  Notice the credit score for Harryhausen which has had a handwritten notation “God bless him!”, probably the handywork of Ray himself?  Cheeky fellow!

Uncommon for the period to see so many technical credit up on display, however good on them for going that further mile.  The movie wasn’t made by RKO, simply distributed by them.  Argosy Productions was a small unbiased agency arrange years earlier than by director John Ford and producer Merian C. Cooper (for the John Wayne image STAGECOACH) which was daring within the days when mega studios dominated the roost and sometimes had 100% management.  Ford himself had a credit score however had nothing to do with MJY, as he mentioned on the time that ‘movies about big gorilla’s weren’t his forte‘(!)  Traditional!

I simply love to return throughout pictures of matte painters at work, none extra so than from the so referred to as golden period the place such imagery was often verboten and shunned by the entrance workplace who by no means wished their secrets and techniques or behind the scenes trickery to ‘get out’.  Their had been 4 expert matte painters assigned to MJY, headed by outdated time veteran Fitch Fulton – the daddy of storied results man John P. Fulton (certainly one of my faves).  Below Fitch had been Louis Litchtenfield, Jack Shaw and Vernon Taylor.  George Webb would lay out the numerous glass pictures for the painters. I am not in a position to affirm the identification of the artist proven above, apart from to say he is undoubtedly not Fitch Fulton, who was fairly outdated on the time.  * Photograph courtesy of Dr. Harry Heuser of Aberystwyth College and included within the e book SMOKE AND MIRRORS. 

MJY begins off with a grand and stunningly composited tilt down from the cloudscape to an excellent African panorama.

At left is a preliminary composite, with further foreground foliage, probably added by Willis O’Brien himself as I as soon as learn.  The proper shot is the ultimate on display matte tilt down, made as a multi-plane shot with a minimum of three separate painted glasses.  The shot is astounding in it is decision, significantly as a reside motion plate of the river in addition to cease movement birds have been very efficiently added, with very minimal grain construct up or distinction, which one would possibly count on from such a composite shot.  A marvel which units the tone of the movie so nicely.  It must be famous that the Artwork Director was none apart from former head of MGM’s particular results division, James Basevi.  British born Basevi began off within the discipline with such movies as the unique MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1928) and on by such epics as SAN FRANCISCO (1936) for which he designed and supervised unimaginable scenes of destruction.  James additionally offered dramatic visuals for HURRICANE (1937) and the Gary Cooper epic THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO (1938) earlier than shifting into artwork path for Hitchcock and others.

There’s nevertheless a curious anomaly with this shot, whereby what seems to be the relection of passing motor visitors seen alongside the perimeters of the particular water plate, although I appear to be the one ‘nerd’ to identify it.

After the downward tilt, the digicam pushes into the small compound and dissolves to a different shot.
A better view of the unknown matte painter making use of brush strokes to the center of the three giant glasses.  I’ve seen photographs of each Jack Shaw and Lou Litchtenfield, although none of Vern Taylor, so I am unsure right here.  It may nicely be Litchtenfield?

Magnificent element.

In keeping with the unique official FX price range, there have been 31 glass work at a price of $800 per glass, coming to some $24’800.oo in whole.  Looks like an excellent deal to me.

The primary side of that very same matte shot because it was preserved in Willis’ private 1949 photograph album pertaining to the shoot.
A second vantage level displaying the identical painter at work, sandwiched between the dense jungle foreground glass and the sprawling African valley painted glass.  The sky could be a separate glass in itself.
The glass mattes measured sometimes some twelve ft in width and had been mounted in sturdy picket frames, with the frames costing some $1500 in whole.  I sadly presume they had been all scraped down for re-use after the manufacturing, as was commonplace on the time.  The horror!!!!!!  🙁

One other great behind the scenes take a look at using the glass portray, of which MJY has dozens.  Right here a digicam assistant holds the clapper simply behind a big painted glass extending the roof and jungle past for the compound set.

The ultimate, invisible mixture.  The movie wasn’t shot at RKO as some suppose, fairly over on the Pathe Studios in Culver Metropolis as a wholly unbiased undertaking.
One of many many unique idea sketches made by O’Bie, with this being for the great caged lion sequence.

The primary appearence of Joe – or Mister Joseph Younger of Africa as he was titled in early drafts – is certainly a present stopper if ever there have been one.  Out of nowhere, Joe arrives and instantly has a confrontation with a really pissed off caged lion.  The sequence is a jaw dropper in each respect.  A brilliantly designed and conceived motion piece the place visuals and audio are so nicely mixed to most impact.

From O’Brien’s private archive is that this earlier than and after displaying the reside motion lion in addition to a seperate plate of flowing water.  The lion ingredient would finally be projected into the miniature cage.

Additionally from O’Bie’s album is that this 1947 body enlargement of one of many cuts.

Whereas Willis was general visible results director, as a result of huge calls for on MJY’s technical necessities he was solely ever in a position to be fingers on with particular animated pictures in varied sequences.  The lions share – pun supposed – was carried out by the very younger and contemporary Ray Harryhausen.  Numerous accounts state that some 80% of the MJY cease movement was Ray’s, with some statements by Harryhausen himself in later years elevating this to 90%.  Others had been concerned, and I am going to define these later, however all the lion sequence I perceive, was Harryhausen’s work, and damned very good work it’s at that!
Ray spent a full month finishing this sophisticated sequence with out help.
The extent to which Ray ‘injected’ emotion and feeling within the Joe puppet was astounding, and nonetheless holds up at the moment 70 years later.  Ray wrote:  “After I obtained the reside footage of the lion I counted the variety of frames it took for the picture of the lion to rock forwards and backwards and matched them to the variety of frames I wanted to shoot for Joe rocking the mannequin cage.  Then the true lion was projected on a bit display inside the cage and the 2 actions matched”.

The ‘stop-you-in-your-tracks’ second in visible results comes when Joe rocks the cage forwards and backwards suggestions over the wagon, with the lion spilling out.  A bravura instance of technical ingenuity.  The lion was a reside motion ingredient, very skillfully projected (some accounts say rear whereas others state entrance projected, which is extra probably) into the in any other case ’empty’ miniature wagon. The 2nd unit lion footage was very rigorously choreographed at an animal sanctuary, with compelled rocking motions launched by it is coach, below O’Bie’s supervision, to match what was supposed for later cease movement motion.
Some accounts state that the lion plate was projected in on a second digicam go(?), although maybe an knowledgeable can inform me how that might be executed when working with a cease movement arrange the place the miniature elements are non-repeatable??  I am hoping Harry Walton or Jim Danforth can elaborate.  🙂
Joe smashes up the cage, which all required delicate wire rigs to ‘animate’ the destruction.  At this level, the ‘actual’ lion is substituted with an animated puppet, which has a go at Joe and a little bit of a tussle ensues.
From this unique digicam check we are able to see extra trickery that basically completes the scene.  At left is the fantastically rendered multi-plane glass painted jungle, with an actual lion break up screened in.  The underside of the animation desk can be seen.  At proper we are able to see the ultimate composite with the identical matted plate mixed as a rear projection ingredient behind the miniature Joe and wagons.  The intelligent bit is a brilliantly hidden transition between the cease movement lion, because it jumps off the wagon and for a fraction of a second is hidden, and the remainder of continuation the place the actual lion is seen working off into the jungle.  Harryhausen’s match up in addition to the physics of the puppet lion motion are distinctive.  Apparently John Ford considered this sequence in tough reduce type and instantly despatched phrase by the digicam division to inform Ray how a lot he liked that scene.  (A later account by Ray said that Ford himself got here as much as Harryhausen and personally thanked him).

Harryhausen together with his favorite Joe out of the six puppets – every of which appeared to have a barely totally different ‘really feel’ so far as motion went.
One of many varied African vista’s as matte artwork.
Remaining composite.

Ray with visible results cinematographer Bert Willis – one other KONG veteran – who oversaw images of all the miniature set ups.  Willis was an outdated hand in particular camerawork and had beforehand labored with O’Bie way back to THE LOST WORLD in 1924, in addition to a key member of the results unit on KONG in 1933.  In an interview, Bert remarked: “The scene I used to be most pleased with was the one the place Joe knocks over the lion cage, which used back and front projection.  I lit that one”.

MJY not solely required a miniature ape puppet, however quite a few horses, cowboys, a child and various people in articulated type.  Right here is without doubt one of the outstanding miniature horse and rider combo’s, I imagine, constructed by Marcel Delgado.  Proven right here in white shirt is specialist taxidermist, George Lofgren, who mastered varied processes for utilising rigorously preserved and rubberised cover from an unborn calf with the intention to present a really convincing non-ripple fur for the varied Joe puppets, as a much more credible pores and skin than was attainable with KONG years earlier the place the animator’s fingers prompted a lot fur disturbance from body to border.  The assorted miniature props that had been closely used all through MJY had been constructed by brothers Marcel and Victor Delgado.

A check for the ape vs cowpokes sequence.

Three frames from yet one more sensational sequence, with a cease movement horse and rider galloping by a multi-plane glass painted jungle setting.  

A substantial amount of surprising technical help got here to Willis by the use of an organization digicam grip named Pete Peterson, who because it turned out was fascinated by what he witnessed being executed on the varied cease movement set ups and requested if may ‘have a go’.  O’Bie granted Peterson a number of check pictures and was astounded at how achieved the fabric appeared when performed again.  Earlier than lengthy, Pete was assigned as a member of the visible results staff and in reality would play a considerable half in animating plenty of sequences and key pictures, with nice finesse.  I imagine among the horse materials was Pete’s as he had a terrific love for horses and an in depth affinity for the way they moved and behaved. 

A flawless rear projected miniature arrange.

A really nicely executed mixture of matte painted set extension, reside motion cowboys, puppet Joe, miniature foreground and stable rear projection work.

By the way, MJY was initially slated to be shot in color utilizing the newly developed monopack Eastmancolor system of the time, however checks proved disastrous as color matching between course of projections and mannequin set ups had been a significant drawback, with line ups trying good when in entrance of the digicam but getting back from the lab as full mismatches in tones and hues.  It had at all times proved a easy activity handy develop 35mm checks when working with black and white and get a quick consequence, however the manufacturing couldn’t afford the expensive down time ready for color checks to be despatched away and be processed elsewhere.

The plateau sequence, with intensive matte artwork and far extremely advanced multi-element motion about to happen down beneath.

One of many fantastically crafted miniature animated horses (and cowpoke) circle Joe, with a brilliantly timed transition because the horse strikes off display proper and reappears once more coming again across the rear of the shot, however this time as an actual horse and rider as a part of a course of projected plate.  This gag is used a dozen occasions to glorious impact and is pure genius.
O’Brien was adamant that the sequence have horsemen not solely seen behind or close to to Joe, however to fully encircle him in motion pictures.  Apparently Willis animated some cuts, as did Victor Delgado, however these had been deemed as not working in nicely with the remainder of the sequence so had been subsequently dropped in enhancing. Peterson and Harryhausen shared animation duties on these pictures.


Pete Peterson had suffered a lifelong, crippling debility of a number of sclerosis, and as such needed to animate from as snug a place as was attainable, and in later years on subsequent photos labored on specifically lowered miniature set ups, close to to the ground out of bodily necessity.

Apparently, the movie’s director, Ernest Schoedsack was nearly sightless by the point manufacturing started, have had each retina’s indifferent in a excessive altitude flying incident.  Ernest was unable to direct outside in direct daylight and was severely compromised together with his imaginative and prescient in any other case.  As an apart, a number of years later the primary main studio movie in 3-Dimension, HOUSE OF WAX, was directed at Warner Bros by Andre deToth – a person with solely one eye, thus by no means in a position to see the ‘3-D’ himself.  However not many individuals know that.

Matte artists Fitch Fulton and Louis Litchtenfield shared the workload for these sequences. There’s a main shift of the painted matte throughout this shot which oddly slipped by.
Stay motion plate images for later inclusion into advanced miniature cease movement scenes.

Frames from the lasso sequence the place cowpokes hurl ropes over Joe in anattempt to subdue him.
Initially, Willis had commissioned a studio sculptor to make a clay mannequin horse as a macquette for Delgado to work from however this proved unworkable so Marcel  himself ended up designing the armatures and constructing all the horses from scratch, with O’Bie being very proud of the ultimate outcomes.

A neat little bit of motion with nicely matched cease movement wacking course of horseman to the bottom.

The results digicam operator would take some preliminary footage right into a small darkroom on the stage and develop hand checks of every arrange.  They might then return in, course of the strip, print up 5×7’s and examine them carefully for matching and line up of parts.

“I am solely ready to be pushed simply to date…”

Creator Paul Mandell wrote a superb article on MJY for Cinefantastique journal, and described the sequence as thus:  “The horsemen really roped a bulldozer and a number of other picket posts, which had been obliterated by break up screening the motion on both facet of the body.  When the doctored scenes confirmed cowboys slinging lariats right into a comfortable matte line, the mannequin of Joe was positioned in entrance of the break up, and animated accordingly”.

Whereas on KONG O’Bie had labored effectively with a small, tight results crew of round six key technicians, the brand new union guidelines dictated an enormous crew of 25, extremely unionised staffers and issues did sometimes get out of hand in consequence.  The story goes that when somebody felt like quitting work early and going dwelling, an arm or leg on certainly one of Marcel’s puppets could be mysteriously ‘damaged’, which might convey filming to a halt that day whereas Delgado went about repairing or changing the mannequin.
Frames from the great lasso sequence.  The ropes had been tiny wires that Harryhausen would rigorously match by eye to the background motion seen within the rear projected course of plate.  This work proved extraordinarily taxing for Ray, having to match and align the frames one after the other by the rack-over of the Mitchell animation digicam.
A really achieved artist in his personal proper, O’Bie rendered scores of watercolour sketches for confirmed scenes and unused proposals, not just for MJY, however for a terrific many different potential tasks that will by no means, sadly, see the sunshine of day.

The closely unionised shoot proved troublesome for Harryhausen, with such easy issues as shifting a lightweight or digicam being formally ‘off limits’ and solely to be carried out by an official union member of that particular native who could be pointlessly placed on the payroll.  Later, Ray made positive to function non-union as greatest he may on all of his later photos.

All concerned within the fingers on animation spoke very extremely of the very good engineering expertise of machinist Harry Cunningham.  Harry milled and constructed some six Joe armatures of various scales, with the smallest being simply 4 inches tall.  Every one had exact simian skeletal joints constructed out of dural, with precise ball and socket or hinge joints the place relevant which aided Harryhausen’s animation to such a practical stage, based mostly upon observations of precise gorilla’s in captivity.  Mushy wire sections had been inserted for lip and eyebrow motion, and a thick rotational allen screw below the chin made for exacting jaw actions.  Marcel Delgado and his brother Victor would then set concerning the activity of build up the mannequin, layer by layer utilizing foam rubber muscle mass and wads of cotton wool over the skeletal armatures. Then the Delgado’s would apply the rigorously ready George Lofren fur hides and sew these in place invisibly,  The identical method was used for the mannequin lions and horses with glorious outcomes.

The Cunningham armatures had been so good that Marcel Delgado remarked: “They had been like a Swiss watch.  You simply moved it and it went wherever you wished it to go.”

The movie was shot at Pathe Studios, with the cavernous hanger-like Stage One, which had utilized by Cecil B. DeMille for KING OF KINGS again in 1926, repurposed as a whole particular results stage, with all matte portray, mannequin making, course of and animation in particular person cubicles, partitioned off with heavy black velvet drapes.

One other good horse fall fx gag.

An fascinating speedy reduce of Robert Armstrong (so good in KONG however fairly hammy in MJY) galloping up in what seems to be both a rear projection with glass painted foreground foliage or miniature bushes?

Of word, this complete roping sequence was as soon as once more placed on celluloid twenty years later by Ray for his VALLEY OF GWANGI, although not with a monkey on that event.

“Sufficient of this shit…. you are simply beginning to actually piss me off!”
At left is Peter Stich, the fx unit painter who labored on the ultimate paint schemes of the miniatures, proven right here with certainly one of Marcel Delgado’s very good miniature horse and rider puppet combo’s, as O’Bie appears to be like on in apparent appreciation.  Notice the matte portray behind them.
O’Bie had by no means heard of Harryhausen till the younger fan, and devoted KONG addict, chilly referred to as him at some point round 1940, whereas O’Bie was working at MGM on what could be his unrealised dream undertaking WAR EAGLES (now that is a movie I might have liked to have seen utilizing conventional strategies) and managed to point out O’Bie a few of his personal hand crafted fashions and 16mm quick movies.  O’Bie simply felt he was being type to an enthusiastic younger fan however was very impressed with the plain expertise on show.  O’Bie’s spouse, Darlyne was, by all accounts, VERY impressed, and informed O’Bie how proficient this Ray fellow was.  Their paths crossed a number of occasions, with Ray engaged on some George Pal Puppetoon quick topics in Hollywood, so when MJY lastly obtained the inexperienced gentle, O’Bie knew the person he’d like to rent as his chief assistant.  The remaining, as they are saying, is historical past.
Fixed manipulation of the puppets created its personal issues, with put on and tear from a lot dealing with leading to repairs that will usually be fairly substantial, the place the mannequin would possibly want stripping again and relayering of froth latex.

A very groovy little bit of enterprise with very properly realised animation of the struggling cowboy.

Reportedly, Merian Cooper had a lifelong fascination with jungles, which most likely explains why so lots of his movies had been set there.
Extra makes an attempt to lasso the large ape, all nicely orchestrated.

Notice the skillfull mix between the miniature wire ‘rope’ and the true rope held by the actor.

For essentially the most half, the miniature rear projection pictures work very nicely, with some unavoidable ‘sizzling spot’ from the supply projector in sure pictures.  Harold Stine was results cameraman for all the course of pictures, and was the brother of Clifford Stine, a famous results cameraman who was certainly one of O’Bies crew on KONG and did superb work a few years in a while EARTHQUAKE (1974).

Visible results cinematographer, Bert Willis was interviewed by writer Paul Mandell:  “O’Bie was a tremendous artist, and a fair higher cartoonist.  We had gobo’s on the lights and he’d doodle throughout them with chalk.  Frankly, O’Bie obtained me into hassle on a number of events.  We might be taking pictures, and he’d be, , getting juiced up throughout the road someplace [in his little ‘oasis’, the Coral Island Bar].  I caught warmth from Cooper and studio boss Walter Daniels extra occasions than I care to recollect,  However I liked the person.  I believe I used to be nearer to O’Brien than some other worker.”

Assorted plot units within the unique remedies had been dropped alongside the way in which, equivalent to having Joe’s transport aircraft crash throughout a thunderstorm on a desert island and saving the crew from marauding lions; a pointless courtroom sub plot and a tug of battle with an Indian elephant.

Largely glass painted.

Shut up body enlargement from the above glass portray.

Along with constructing all the mannequin armatures, Harry Cunningham additionally constructed the particular course of projectors for scenes equivalent to this.  4 had been constructed at a price of $4000 every, plus a further $300 for a set of 4 air condensers and $800 for 4 lenses.  I recall that both Jim Danforth or Mark Sullivan later owned a type of unique MJY projectors.

Within the official 1949 FX value breakdown it value $4000 for materials and labour to make 6 gorillas, 2 horses, 4 males, 4 lions (and a partridge in a pear tree?) in miniature in addition to plaster casts of certainly one of every and a full measurement mechanical gorilla arm and hand.  That is a suggestion you possibly can’t refuse.

Whereas the sooner KONG photos had each closely utilised the Dunning and in addition the Williams travelling matte processes for composite images, O’Bie made the early resolution to mix pictures in a simpler – and optically degraded – trend as attainable by virtually completely counting on course of projection on each the small scale miniature set ups in addition to the complete measurement reside motion necessities, which basically, labored surprisingly nicely, and infrequently with gorgeous outcomes.  The identical wouldn’t be the case had they shot in color as first examined, with color course of pictures being notoriously poor in high quality on the time and for a while after.  The one travelling mattes within the image are a few pictures later within the present with hand drawn rotoscope results.

Everybody agreed that Marcel Delgado was indispensible.  Marcel’s brother, Victor – one other unique KONG alumni – was assigned to the miniatures store as prop maker and check animator.  O’Bie most popular to work with tried and true technicians he knew from earlier collaborations.

O’Bie was insistant to keep away from expensive and time consuming – and finally unneccessary – optical printer composites, as he felt, fairly rightly that higher and faster outcomes might be achieved in digicam, regardless of Linwood Dunn’s arguements to the other.

The movie had a 47 sturdy particular results unit, with lots of these being KING KONG and SON OF KONG veterans.

In actual life, Willis O’Brien had suffered a terrific deal, together with his first spouse, Hazel murdering his two teenaged sons in chilly blood whereas he was filming SON OF KONG, then, as destiny would have it, surviving her personal suicide try.

Now this one’s a terrific little matte shot that most individuals do not discover.  A rider projected into a totally painted jungle setting, with Joe about to lash out and seize the man.  Fitch Fulton was already an old style veteran within the matte discipline, having began way back to the outdated William Fox days on movies such because the great THE BIG TRAIL (1930) the place John Wayne obtained his first lead.  Fulton – the daddy of John – painted for years at what grew to become twentieth Century Fox, in addition to RKO on reveals like CITIZEN KANE and SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (each 1940).  Fitch additionally painted stunning Technicolor pictures as Jack Cosgrove’s chief artist on GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) and did putting jungle mattes, additionally in full blown Technicolor for Korda’s JUNGLE BOOK (1942).

This sequence the place Robert Armstrong is pulled up off his horse by Joe was a really sophisticated affair, with photographic challenges that weren’t in a position to be corrected.

A stuntman rigged in a physique harness hanging from a crane on the Pathe backlot in entrance of a partial mock up of pretend rockwall, was filmed swinging wildly forwards and backwards.  Many months later that footage was rear projected body by body into the glass painted scene on the animation stage as Harryhausen rigorously matched the plate together with his Joe animated gestures.  An issue arose when the reside motion plate stuntman ‘swung’ to excessive and large and thus vanished behind the glass portray for some 40 frames.  After some deliberation with O’Bie it was determined the very best plan of action was to make photographic cutouts of the person to cowl for the ‘lacking’ 40 frames of motion.  The cutout was delicately ready and hand retouched with paint for definition, from which level Ray continued and accomplished the shot.

Miniature man and ape.

Matte artist Lou Litchtenfield informed writer Paul Mandell:  “The glass portray for the rock set was simply terrible!  We had simply completed one glass.  This one specifically was a frontal piece, and a whole lot of work. We did not need to contact it till the paint was dry, so we left a word on it for the janitor who got here within the subsequent morning to scrub the glass.  Which meant ‘Clear off the opening.’  He wiped the entire damned factor off, and we needed to begin once more from scratch!”

As Joe dropped Armstrong to the bottom the stunt harness gadget was seen dangling beneath the matte line like a vine.  Ray remarked:  “We by no means tried to appropriate that.  It appeared like a minor factor on the time.  Audiences had been much less vital in these days and we did not suppose they’d discover.  We needed to transfer on”.
Willis O’Brien was a person brimming over with concepts and creativeness, with actually dozens of unrealised situations, movie tasks and potential colaborations, although only a few ever obtained picked up by Hollywood producers or cash males.  To make ends meet between scarce assignments of his selecting, O’Bie would dabble in matte portray for a number of studios on reveals like THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS and GOING MY WAY – primarily throughout the infamous movement image strike of the mid 1940’s when picket traces turned actually nasty.  Different jobs for rent included a number of advisor credit on movies far beneath his standing and expertise, usually merely to have his celebrated identify related to an in any other case nugatory image, equivalent to THE GIANT BEHEMOTH and the dreadful Irwin Allen remake of THE LOST WORLD the place I do not imagine he really had any enter in any respect apart from Fox utilizing his identify as a promotional gimmick.

The movie went method over price range and got here in at round $2 million, which for 1947 was a head spinning determine.  The animation and results had been round $200’000 or thereabouts.

Initially, O’Bie employed Harryhausen in late 1945 as an assistant whose many duties included sharpening O’Bie’s pencils, slicing cardboard mattes and varied different chores.  They’d identified one another in an informal capability for a number of years, with it being Ray’s dream to ultimately work together with his idol.  Getting the decision up was a deal with however the on once more, off once more begin date for filming was disconcerting.  Each Ray and O’Bie had been by no means fully assured as as to whether MJY would ever get off the bottom.  Even nicely into his twilight years, Ray had nothing lower than reverence for Willis.

A matte check body from 1947.  One of many artists employed was Jack Shaw, one other outdated timer who had lengthy associations with grasp visible results artist Jack Cosgrove on reveals like GONE WITH THE WIND, SINCE YOU WENT AWAY and DUEL IN THE SUN.  Jack additionally painted a lot of the matte pictures at Hal Roach Studios and Roy Seawright for issues just like the TOPPER collection and the unique ONE MILLION YEARS BC.  A few years later, whereas at Warner Bros, engaged on HELEN OF TROY, Shaw would once more cross paths with Willis O’Brien as matte artist on Irwin Allen’s ANIMAL WORLD (1956), which was his closing movie.

An earlier check with photograph cutouts standing in for the principals.
Matted off and closing comp.

BluRay body seize.

Former stuntman and bit participant Ben Johnson was the main man, although was, sadly extremely picket in MJY, with even his animated puppet doppleganger having extra life on display, although he ultimately grew to become an glorious character actor in a couple of hundred photos equivalent to Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH and sometimes labored together with his buddies John Ford and John Wayne, and he gained an Oscar in 1971 for Peter Bogdanovich’s basic THE LAST PICTURE SHOW.

Matte artist Lou Litchtenfield was interviewed in Cinefantastique journal in 1998 and mentioned the glass pictures and his relationship with supervising matte artist Fitch Fulton:  “Fitch was our head matte painter, a grumpy however lovable outdated bastard.  He did the fundamental design of the set ups.  He’d do a sketch and we would not even use an artwork director; we had been on our personal.  I co-painted the jungle and mountains, and a number of other for the nightclub.  The best way we labored it, an enormous glass mountainscape was positioned in again of the set.  An intermediate glass had twisted bushes and vines.  The miniature was on a tabletop in entrance of that, and in entrance of that was one other glass of foreground rocks and bushes.  Generally we might all work on one concurrently”.

Notice the standard drop from the crisp higher body to this one, with the multi-part composite (a number of glass work, reside motion water, miniature ape and fence) rear projected onto a big display behind the actors as Terry Moore (not a patch on Fay Wray in my sincere opinion) throws a banana to Joe.

Glass work, miniature foreground and projected hens in cage.

Take a look at frames earlier than and after projected plate.
Harryhausen animates the compound sequence.

Ray with miniatures painter Peter Stich, and O’Bie at far proper, pose in entrance of a glass matte.  Ray talked about in an interview that he favored this image because it was the one one he had of him along with O’Bie.

An excellent manufacturing design illustration for the Golden Safari nightclub which might be later rendered as matte artwork for the outside and a mixture of giant miniature, glass artwork, cease movement set ups and full sized stage units for the motion packed interiors.

The digicam pulls again from the neon signage.

Matte painted nightclub with reside motion road plate, probably augmented by a further painted foreground with palm bushes.  One other of the matte painters assigned to the movie was Vernon Taylor, about whom I do know little or no, apart from him being a daily Warner Bros matte artist.

A grand digicam transfer by a mix glass painted, miniature and reside motion nightclub inside is one thing in itself, with a gorgeous multi-plane transfer and a left sweep on and upward into the treetop viewing gallery.  

I obtained to chatting with Jim Danforth about these MJY pictures:  “A few of the push-in pictures had been executed on a number of panes of glass as you described. They had been NOT optical blow-ups. This was ground-breaking work. The final precept was first defined to me by L. B. (Invoice) Abbott after I labored with him at Fox.  Nonetheless, it had by no means been utilized as spectacularly because it was in Mighty Joe Younger.  Nonetheless, the pictures that basically impressed me had been executed (I’m fairly positive) by putting giant sheets of impartial density gels over the method display, behind the portray.
I used this technique when doing the pull-back shot for Portnoy’s Grievance. When the projector was turned off, the display space was fully black, even although it was illuminated by a really vibrant gentle. 
The concept is that gentle passing by the gel is diminished based on the angle of incidence (for instance, a forty five diploma angle will scale back the gentle by the sq. root of two (1.4 approx.) A few of the gentle will go by the display and be absorbed by the display density.  Some will bounce again, however won’t be at an angle, so it will likely be absorbed solely by the nominal density of the filter fairly than (in my instance) 1.4 occasions the density.
When all of the components are mixed, the result’s a jet-black display space, regardless that the portray is illuminated by a really vibrant gentle.”

The digicam transfer continues, with a number of pockets of projected reside motion.

It nonetheless strikes in, at this level with a radical shift to the left and upward to disclose a musical combo seen as a course of plate inside the glass portray.

One other matte artist on MJY who labored below Fitch Fulton was Louis Litchtenfield.  Lou started at Selznick Worldwide within the artwork division below William Cameron Menzies within the late thirties and had involvment in laying out matte ideas and common help within the results division below the legendary Jack Cosgrove on GONE WITH THE WIND (1939).  Lou wasn’t one to let the grass develop below his ft, as they are saying, and spent the following decade shifting between varied studios’ matte departments studying the ropes and totally different methods as he went alongside.  He painted at Columbia, RKO and MGM for various intervals earlier than turning into a part of the fixtures at Warner Bros as head of photographic results within the 1950’s the place he would rent again his former boss, Jack Cosgrove, in addition to Fitch’s son John for a time.   Lou painted mattes on many massive reveals equivalent to THE FOUNTAINHEAD, LAND OF THE PHARAOHS, HELEN OF TROY, THE SILVER CHALICE and lots of extra.  In later years he offered mattes for the remake of KING KONG (1976) and FLASH GORDON (1980).

I ponder if that giant hanging lighting fixture may have been a miniature?

The enduring Stunning Dreamer sequence unfolds.

On of essentially the most elaborately staged and talked about moments in MJY comes when the candy Terry Moore performs at piano to the shock accompaniment of our bushy pal, Joe.

An early check body of the matte parts lined up with the cease movement.

The sequence is actually extraordinary for plenty of causes.  The primary one being it was virtually fully animated by the previous grip, Pete Peterson, who, as talked about, was a eager beginner dwelling film experimenter with 8mm cease movement in his spare time and was incessantly in awe whereas watching O’Bie and Ray go about their enterprise on the set.

Not solely does Joe elevate up the particular stage platform with our heroine, however he too is standing on a slowly rotating rostrum, rigorously balancing his human pal.  Virtually each shot was Pete’s work, with Ray pitching in for one or two, and O’Bie himself contributing one shut up reduce.  Some lengthy pictures had been filmed with the whole lot executed as cease movement, together with the Terry Moore character, in puppet type, and fantastically executed all of it turned out to be.

An exquisite {photograph} from O’Bie’s private album displaying Peterson attending to essentially the most delicate of advanced animation.  The reside motion plate of Terry Moore and her piano just isn’t but seen however will likely be projected one body at a time on the display behind the fashions.  Bert Willis and his crew photographed all the animation and miniatures, whereas Harold Stine shot all the course of plates, usually in session with Roy Hunt, the general manufacturing D.P, to make sure continuity in lighting and such.
Unimaginable timing and planning was wanted to match the precise velocity of the pre-filmed Terry Moore reside motion revolutions and that of the puppet Joe revolutions.  The sequence is solely elegant.

A detailed up of Peterson at work.  Reportedly, Pete was (totally justified) in his pleasure at how this scene turned out.

The precise Golden Safari inside was an enormous set constructed on Pathe’s stage 11, with a lot visible results work utilized to additional lengthen the setting in lengthy pictures, with a number of painted planes of matte artwork on glass and quite a few miniature rear projections every from its personal particular person projector, offering the reside motion plates such because the bands of musicians and different folks to the treetop cabana’s and such.  All in all, these pictures are extremely nicely executed for 1949.

The shameless hucksters proceed to use Joe for each cent they will, with this occasion – a staged tug-of-war between Joe and twelve of the ugliest musclemen ever assembled being an instance.

The muscle males on set had been pulling in opposition to an precise rope that was connected to a mechanical ratchet gadget, to provide them actual stress and a few forwards and backwards give.  Ray elaborated in an article:  “Within the animation studio I positioned the mannequin of Joe in entrance of the place the ratchet stood within the rear projected plate and matched the true projected rope to the entrance of Joe’s fingers, in addition to including a miniature rope showing from the opposite facet of Joe’s fingers.  In different phrases, the mannequin’s fingers coated the alternate from ‘actual’ to ‘miniature’.”

A tricky man has a go at slugging it out with Joe.  Massive mistake.  Good work by Ray and splendid ape-boxing strikes too!

“It is the identical each time… cannot an enormous gorilla go right into a bar with out some Chuck Norris wanna-be giving me crap.” 

Issues are booming on the gorilla vaudeville circuit…

Matte portray check for what could be a pivotal flip of occasions…

The organ grinder and the monkey… has it actually sunk to this?  A touching and emotionally shifting sequence the place the principally drunk viewers hurl big frisbee sized pretend cash at Joe.  Very good character animation by Harryhausen, matched with expert cel animation of the hurtling cash.

Numerous trials had been made to perform this sequence together with utilizing cease movement methods with giant balsa wooden cash, although this was deserted as being impractical.  Ultimately O’Brien managed to rent a former Disney animator, Scott Whittaker, to render the pictures as cartoon cel animation, rigorously matching the mannerisms and reactions of Joe as to the place the cash ought to goal, from which they had been bi-packed into the Joe footage as backlit travelling mattes on Linwood Dunn’s optical printer.  Scott spent greater than a month rotoscoping and animating the cartoon footage, and the completed materials labored a deal with.

Ben Johnson consols a despondent Joe who continues to be pissed at having been knocked again for SON OF KONG(!)
The movie takes a darkish flip when three loudmouth drunks trouble Joe and introduce him to the ‘demon booze’.  Not a smart resolution because it seems.

Good delicate animation the place Joe samples the booze…

…however no matter you do, do not open the cigarette lighter.  However don’t fret people, these bars are product of ‘chromed metal’    (get it?)  😉

‘Do not get mad Joe…..Get even’.

A paste up picture displaying Joe climbing the fake tree within the Golden Safari in some kind of jungle flashback…

An unused idea by O’Bie which might have had Joe selecting up obnoxious extras and throwing them into a big tank of crocodiles.  It will get my vote!

One thing I at all times admired about MJY (and in addition a later very a lot below rated Peterson/O’Brien image, THE BLACK SCORPION), was the ingenious digicam work and extremely imaginative orchestration of among the memorable cease movement gags.  It is a nice, dizzying downview as Joe climbs the pretend tree to survey the approaching carnage.

A lot destruction takes place, with rigorously wired and rigged miniature units being torn to items in entrance of a course of display.

Effectively, that godammned cello is gonna be the very first thing to go!

…Adopted by that piano!  Notice the tremendous wires holding the mannequin in place.

An awesome photograph of the proficient Pete Peterson animating among the tree home carnage.  Apparently, Pete’s spouse had labored beforehand with O’Bie animating birds on KING KONG again in ’33.
Joe the swinger.  Harryhausen spoke concerning the work:  “Suspending Joe on wires was by no means simple, particularly when he needed to be airborne.  All the pieces needed to be rigged forward of time.  When you go away a clamp free, you are on the mercy of gravity.  Usually we used very skinny piano wire, however I typically used assist rods, as O’Bie had executed on KING KONG.”

Visible results idea paste up combining already filmed stunt motion with the proposed miniature work.

And the identical sequence because it was lastly put collectively.  Giant miniature set and puppet, with body by body again projected stunt motion.

Efficient destruction, with all materials property harm achieved as delicate cease movement in addition to Joe.  Astonishingly, not solely was the motion animated right here, however Bert Willis’ fx digicam was additionally match moved body by body as a truck in on the ultimate a part of the scene throughout Ray’s animation.

As with the primary appearence of Joe again in the beginning, he as soon as once more encounters a pleasure of lions caged in thick glass.  One other terrific piece of fx work right here, with precise lions filmed on a safari ranch in California, below coach Mel Koontz, and added into the miniature set as rear projected course of pictures.  What sells the shot is the good transition because the glass cage shatters and the ‘projected’ actual lion is changed by certainly one of Marcel Delgado’s fabricated animated lions because it leaps onto Joe.  Excellent!  You’ll be able to sweep all of your bloody CGI Marvel stuff out the door mates, these are ‘particular’ results!

Joe is not about to be pussy-whipped by some rattling lion.

Or is he??  🙁

Once more, totally charming results images, animation, enhancing, sound results and many others.

Joe makes use of all his would possibly and pushes an enormous pretend tree over, inflicting a lot concern to the nightclub house owners who weren’t insured for simply such a disaster.  At all times learn the tremendous print!

Beautifully executed destruction on what should have been a major scaled miniature set.  The general Golden Safari miniature set measured some thirty ft throughout and contained 5 course of projection set ups for the true lions inside the faked African settings in glass fronted cages.  Jack Lannon was the bodily/mechanical results man on the movie.

Puppet Joe in entrance of course of projected miniature carnage, together with mannequin tree toppling.  The explosion of glass and sparks is yet one more reside motion plate projected in behind the principle miniature set, body by body.

We’re at present in hiatus whereas we discover a lookalike gorilla who will work, actually, for peanuts.
The town officers need to have Joe despatched to the pet food manufacturing facility, however Terry/Jill has different concepts...

On the run… similar to Thelma and Louise.  Pete Peterson dealt with all of those pictures.

Extremely, even the getaway truck was a cease movement miniature.
As was this complete detour arrange.

A fantastically crafted miniature valley and mountainscape, probably constructed by Victor Delgado, and it appears to be like prefer it has been augmented with a foreground glass portray to help with depth of discipline – a standard apply within the outdated days with slower movie inventory and many others.

All animated; the truck, the ape and the lady.
Pete Peterson and mates.

The County Sherrif and his cohorts are quickly approaching.  All miniature cease movement work.

Merian C.Cooper requested for some gentle comedic touches, so Peterson animated some expressive, close to ‘human’ gestures and a few thumb tapping gags, which happy the producer however not Harryhausen.
There’s some very nice curling lip and sneer expressions right here.

No, your eyes are not decieving you… MIGHTY JOE YOUNG actually does change hue within the final reel to emphasize the hazard of the visible results packed fiery conclusion at this burning orphanage.

Behind the scenes photograph from O’Brien’s private album.  Notice the fuel jets and particular shaker rigging below the miniature which had been managed by particular results man Jack Lannon.

Fully miniature set with cease movement truck approaching.  The rooftop fires are both rear projections or probably added later optically.

Miniatures and animated truck.  Certainly one of O’Bie’s shut associates from the KONG movies, Buzz Gibson, was on board MJY, although in what precise capability I do not know.  He did some cease movement on the KONG movies so might have helped with related work right here?

I’ve a lot admiration to Bert Willis and his crew for the wonderful miniature cinematography all through MJY, none extra so than within the final couple of reels the place the work is actually excellent.  Bert’s crew included Monroe Askins, Pinky Arnett, Richard DeVol, George Hollister and Tex Wheaton.

OMG… it is an inferno….a towering inferno!

A substantial quantity of intelligent optical work is obvious in these scenes, with Ben Johnson and Terry Moore matted into the big burning mannequin as they climb the steps.  Numerous hearth parts and falling flaming particles had been additionally superimposed by Linwood Dunn and Cecil Love on the Acme-Dunn optical printer.

It is actually very spectacular, and I might like to see an actual breakdown of the weather that went collectively right here.  Nice work!!

I believe the actors had been on a small set of stairs with a big course of display behind them stuffed with miniature conflagration footage, with a break up screened proper facet in foreground with a burning mannequin in entrance of the actors… plus the superimposed particles falling.
Harold Stine photographed the regularly collapsing seven foot tall miniature orphanage at 96 frames per second.

Extra glorious miniature work as Joe senses hassle above, and clambers as much as the roof.

All the animation employees had an element to play within the tree sequences, together with Marcel Delgado, who did the lengthy pictures with the smallest 4 inch Joe mannequin.

Harryhausen had a small foot pedal on the ground to advance the digicam and projector body by body.  Digital camera assistant Monroe Askins was tasked with at all times ensuring the Mitchell was sufficiently locked down and working correctly.

The orphanage begins to break down.

Joe breaks open the wall and rescues his gal.  One other excellent little bit of trick work combining course of hearth fx, a further course of plate of Terry Moore, a miniature construction – destroyed in cease movement – and naturally, our pal Joe

The whole final reel is filled with wall to wall visible results; from giant scale miniatures, pyro results, mattes, break up display results, animation, optical superimpositions and rear projection – typically suddenly in a single given shot!
I am pretty positive that that is Pete Peterson, although it positive is a sensational behind the scenes photograph.

Apparently, these specifically tinted sequences had been lacking from prints for plenty of years – probably as a result of the price of putting 35mm or 16mm prints with particular necessities.  A number of preliminary launch prints had these reels printed by Technicolor, although the associated fee was an excessive amount of for the producers so the remaining prints relied upon a simplified ‘tone and tint’ course of utilizing customary black & white movie.  The DVD’s and BluRays have restored all of it as supposed.

The sudden change to tinted footage was jarring on the time for audiences, to not point out theatre projectionists, who scrambled to verify whether or not they had threaded the proper movie for the change over!

An expertly carried out little bit of miniature demolition and results camerawork.

The miniature was mounted on a big rocker platform which shook the pre-prepared (plaster?) construction free to nice impact.

I’ve seen the sequence in plain outdated monochrome and it is not half as efficient.

A remarkably crisp muliple half composite that has all of the hallmarks of being first technology.  The reside motion rooftop set has been mixed flawlessly with what seems to be an intensive matte painted downview, with folks, probably painted and with slot gag ‘motion'(?), or a reside motion plate with actual extras.  Additionally, some optically added hearth to set the scene.  Among the finest pictures within the movie.

Left, a break up display matte.  Proper, full miniature set and characters.

MJY took some two years of intensive pre-production, adopted by round 14 months of animation, matte and composite work, and three months of principal images.

The highest left body is from Marcel Delgado’s animation utilizing the smallest of the 6 Joe fashions.

One other tremendously efficient shot has the newborn crawling alongside the ledge whereas all burns round him.  A brilliantly executed scene with mannequin rooftop and tree, full with Ray’s animated puppet child – constructed by Marcel Delgado – and rear projected inferno.  

An extremely highly effective shot the place all hope appears misplaced.

A substantial amount of emotion was injected into the Joe puppets, largely by Ray Harryhausen, armed with a modelling instrument, a screwdriver, an animators floor gauge, and a pencil eraser to facilitate eyebrow actions and manipulation.

Yet one more extremely ingenious piece of motion the place the tree falls to the bottom with Joe, nonetheless safely clutching the newborn.  The neat factor is that the digicam’s POV follows the tree collapse in a single movement shot, virtually as if the cameraman had been bolted to the tree!!  Brilliantly conceived and executed.

A second angle reveals onlookers projected in.

“I can not maintain her collectively Captain…she’s breakin’ up!”
Cooper was so impressed by Harryhausen’s output that he loaded a bonus onto his $250 wage per week.

First charge miniature destruction married with first charge animation.

Body by body…

“So…what do you say we break up this joint and head off someplace for a quiet drink?”

T’was magnificence who, this time, did not kill the beast…  He lived to a ripe outdated age again in ole’ Africa (*and no 12 foot gorilla’s had been harmed throughout the making of this movement image).

The higher left and center frames are from the top title of MJY whereas the remainder of these frames come from the re-issue trailer.  They made such good trailers again then that will tempt any 12 12 months outdated boy to go alongside.  I do not suppose the movie was a very profitable one, sadly, with a number of atrocious evaluations right here and there, however reportedly theatres had promote out homes in varied venues, so it actually had an viewers.  I imagine that the manufacturing firm, Arko/Argosy, had a cope with RKO for a 50/50 break up of worldwide distribution rights.

Willis and the Oscar for Finest Particular Results.  The trophy really was meant to go to the producer, as was the accepted apply, however Cooper fortunately gave the statuette to his longtime pal and inventive affiliate, not just for MJY, however as an acknowledgement for all he’d executed on KING KONG, which preceeded the FX Oscar class by some six years.  This Oscar has simply come up for public sale ought to any of my readers have an interest??

The unique pressbook from an period once they actually knew find out how to promote a film!


NZ Pete’s Massive Field of Mattes:

As I discussed, I used to be very glad to lately recieve a big, solidly constructed picket crate from Los Angeles containing a bounty of great unique Common and Phantasm Arts matte work from Invoice Taylor’s assortment.  I am so thrilled with these stunning items, which embrace certainly one of Albert Whitlock’s and a half dozen of Syd Dutton’s in addition to a few unidentified works on the reverse sides of two mattes.  

Out of neccessity I had to decide on mattes ready on hardboard (or Masonite because it’s referred to as within the States) for protected transport functions over an enormous distance to the opposite finish of the globe. A few them had been already of their unique outdated Common pine frames so I have been busy establishing frames for the rest, in addition to mounting identical up on wall area, which was a activity and a half given the very giant dimensions of the mattes and the added weight of the picket frames.  Three of them went atop a excessive staircase and that required very precarious balancing acts atop excessive ladder wedged on a slender fringe of steps.  Bought there after some sweating and swearing.

Listed here are the mattes and a few shut up particulars as nicely.  If anybody else has acquired any of these many mattes that had been lately auctioned off, do inform me what you’ve.

Get pleasure from

The 130kg crate which reached New Zealand fairly speedily but sat in NZ Customs for some 9 days until they lastly obtained round to opening it and analyzing the very nicely packed contents, which they apparently additionally photographed for some unknown motive?  Not less than in obtained right here, which on this pandemic of ‘the pox’ is in itself, a small mercy.
Most likely my favorite one, and a matte that merely attracts within the eye of the viewer with it is myriad community of roadways and an exquisite vanishing level.  It is certainly one of many mattes that Syd painted for a brief lived sci-fi collection OTHERWORLD (1985) – a present that has a devoted fan base nonetheless to today.  The huge measurement measuring round 96 inches in width appeared extreme for television however the closing shot concerned a foreground glass painted sizzling air balloon with painted folks which travelled body by body up and over the futuristic metropolis, with the digicam following the balloon’s progress.  Syd informed me that he designed all of it to resemble an enormous circuit board.

Element of Syd’s free and impressionistic brushwork which sells as photograph actual when considered in toto.

Extra of the identical.

Annoyingly, OTHERWORLD has by no means been launched on any type of dwelling video in any respect, regardless of having a cult following.  C’mon Common/MCA…. get off your lazy arses and launch this 8 half collection… please.


I like sturdy perspective work in matte artwork, and this one proudly fills a wall in my lounge.

One other Dutton matte portray, additionally from OTHERWORLD (1985), is a stunner, and is fantastically rendered.  The ultimate shot within the present concerned delicate painted gentle rays coming by the bushes on an overlay, with a gradual push in on the fort.  My spouse, who’s firmly disinterested in mattes and fails to ‘share the enjoyment’, and took MUCH convincing to permit me to embark on this matte importing enterprise, loves this one and admits to having nice admiration for the remainder of ’em too.


This one is a stunner, with all the weather falling into place that I like: an evocative sky with finely crafted clouds, sturdy architectural element and an exquisite sense of backlight.  It was painted by Syd Dutton round 1988 for a business for a French vitality firm.  See beneath…
A body from the ultimate composite (perhaps a tilt up?) which present a guardian and youngster stroll up a ridge and level out the ‘metropolis of the longer term’, which presumably is powered most effectively by some French vitality company of some description.  There’s animated visitors on the freeways and, I believe, shifting clouds drifting throughout the vista.

Shut up of the futuristic metropolis.

Syd makes all of it look really easy…

A putting tenth Century European panorama with conventional motte and bailey fortifications as painted for the fantasy movie DRAGONHEART (1996) starring Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery.  Syd Dutton painted this stunning matte after the movie’s unique results contractors, ILM, didn’t give you a passable consequence, with Phantasm Arts coming to the rescue.

Element from the very giant 78 inch large matte.

And right here I can say I am so glad to personal an unique Albert Whitlock matte.  This attractive sundown throughout a valley is a sight to behold up shut, and was painted for the Andy Kaufman robotic love story HEARTBEEPS (1981).  The additional sky at left was a normal Whitlock/Dutton gag, painted intentionally to permit later drifting cloud trickery with the sky uncovered in separate comfortable matted bands because the portray is moved body by body on a horizontal matte stand.

Whitlock was the grasp of sunshine when it got here to delicate infusion and gently inter-woven hues. Genius!

Simply love these violet hues creeping over the valley.

Of curiosity, I’ve a video interview with Whitlock at Common at work on this matte and describing intimately the numerous further gags that will likely be employed so as to add life to the uncooked portray, together with a burnt in solar ingredient, shifting clouds, advanced painted overlay animation of the final rays of daylight regularly fading from the foliage.  For a subsequent wider shot as seen by the manufacturing facility home windows by the principle characters, an actual tree was positioned on set outdoors the window in entrance of a blue display which coated the unpainted left facet of the paintings.
One other of Syd’s mattes, and certainly one of many he painted for the favored television collection from the late eighties, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  I discover this significantly atmospheric.

The completed scene with the boat added in addition to a painted overlay of sunshine rays.  That collection had a lot matte work.

Shut up
A bonus portray as discovered in the back of one of many different mattes was this Japanese temple in a thunderstorm from the relentlessly violent Christopher Lambert actioner THE HUNTED (1995).

Earlier than and after displaying the ultimate composite with drifting cloudscape, moon ingredient, lightning flash interactive gags and rain all added on the matte stand.  Notice the highest of the tree at proper has not been painted on the unique matte however does seem within the completed composite.  The tree high was painted on a foreground glass in order to facilitate the shifting clouds and different painted overlays with lightning highlights throughout the clouds and temple.

Element plus half a tree!

Though Dutton did paint on this movie, he thinks this shot was executed by one other artist, more than likely Robert Stromberg.

And at last, one other fascinating little ‘bonus’ of types, on the reverse facet of one of many work.  What seems to be a free blocking in of a matte that will likely be ultimately accomplished individually (see beneath…)

The completed matte portray that Syd painted for what he informed me was a ‘Terry Bedford business’.  Syd talked about that the ultimate composite included a coyote or giant canine bipacked up on the ridge and howling on the sky.
***This publish, and all 171 earlier blogs referred to as ‘Matte Shot’, had been initially created by Peter Prepare dinner for nzpetesmatteshot, with all content material, structure and textual content initially revealed at http://nzpetesmatteshot.blogspot.com/

I hope you loved this journey as a lot as I did.  Your suggestions is at all times welcomed and appreciated.

Keep protected wherever on this planet you occur to be.



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