lunes, 19 de junio de 2017

Small daring paintings: Emilio Ruiz del Rio.

He just needed one stick to hold the sheet of cut out aluminum, and he was ready to paint. Then, something to cover the support stick like a rock,  a bush, a pole or just another aluminum portion and make it invisible painting the background landscape.

Emilio Ruiz was very often asked to add some elements to a real location. It could be a castle, a church, a house o whatever.  On his early years, he used the traditional glass shot technique. Which is very suitable for filming inside a studio, but going to the location with a huge sheet of glass is not an easy task, not cheap either, for the low budget films he used to work at. He started to used a very simple method to avoid this problem;  painting on a sheet of cut out metal, thin aluminum.  Depending on the painted element size, he used one or two fastening points. Usually one vertical and another horizontal ( figure2) But sometimes the painted element was so small he  could  be attached with one single  fixing (figure 1) During the sixties and seventies  he became an expert on this kind of small tricks, and he got so much confidence that sometimes he does not even bother to hide the support with a foreground element (rock, bush, etc) and he just paste another aluminum strip and paint  it  with the background colors.  With so many years of experience, Emilio Ruiz knew how far could he get with those tricks.

So,  if you are watching a European coproduction on the sixties or seventies, and suspect something on the background could be a painting if there is a pole, a rock or anything similar on the foreground,  it is very probable you are watching an Emilio Ruiz  "in-camera" miniature painting. 

Talking about daring tricks, this is one if the boldest " in camera" paintings of Emilio Ruiz. For the film  Special mission Lady Chaplin (1966, Alberto De Martino) He painted a building over a hill with an invisible vertical support in the middle of the frame.

Why I ´m so sure? , well I have seen the film, and during a second the trick is exposed when a yellow car  moves on the road that crosses the frame horizontally and goes behind the painting just for a second.
The film is on Youtube, so you can see the trick at the beginning of the film during the title credits at 0: 36


Scherezade (1963, Pierre Gaspard-Huit)

A bullet for Rommel ( 1969, Leon Klimovsky)
They got only four real tanks and the director wanted a column of them. At the central part of the frame,  there is a miniature cut out painting  that hides a small structure with a miniature landscape with a road and small models of tanks moving down the path. 

Kill them and come back alone (1969, Enzo Castellari)
Both views of that ruined church are foreground painted miniatures.

Eagles over London (1969, Enzo Castellari)

A reason to live a reason to die  (1972, Tonino Valerii)

Zorro ( 1975, Duccio Tessari)

The  inglorious Bastards (1978, Enzo Castellari)

There are many more, that ´s just a glimpse of Emilio Ruiz´s art. 

jueves, 12 de mayo de 2016

The North Star (1943)

That Lewis Mileston Drama War film  have many  wonderful  miniatures and matte paintings shots, as many of the Sam Goldwyn films, with Clarence Slifer and Ray Binger credited for the Photographic  effects.  In praise of the impressive visual and artistic imagery on that film we shouldn't forget the name of production designer  William Cameron Menzies who is credited as associate producer.

Matte camera operator Clarence   Slifer was head of photographic effect unit at many films produced by  David Oselznick during the 30´s and 40´s, but also share his duties with Sam Goldwyn films.   Ray Binger was  another  special effects  cinematographer who worked also very often for Sam Goldwyn productions.

Although there is not matte painter credited at "The North Star" Clarence Sliffer  used to work  frequently with the same  group of artists as Jack Cosgrove , Albert Simpson, Jack Shaw, and Fitch Fulton.   I can only guess that  the  excellent matte work on that films was made by some of those artist. 

Some wonderful miniature shots made for the war scenes.

lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2015

Jumping the Chasm

There are many iconic subjects that depict the art of matte paintings.  Probably a castle or fortress on the top of a hill could be the most popular. Apart from other all time matte subjects, the jumping of a huge spectacular chasm has been without a doubt one of the frequent topic under request for matte painters.
We’ve seen people jumping gorges since the silent era. That’s a small overview of some of those great exciting moments of magic on the screen.

 1929    Tide of empire  MGM.
Warren Newcombe was working at MGM matte department since 1925, I guess he must be involved on that shot. Maybe also Ferdinand Pinney Earle who was painting mattes for MGM during the 20´S.

1935. She   RKO Pictures
Vernon L. Walker as Photographic effects supervisor, and Linwood B. Dunn as optical effects, the matte paintings probably were done by Mario Larrinaga and Byron Crabbe

1936 Santa Fe bound
Produced by Reliable Pictures Corporation, there is not  VFX credit of any kind. And I don’t have any idea who could have painted that.

 1944. Ali Babá and the Forty thieves. Universal Pictures
John Fulton was credited as photographic effects. Russell Lawson was head of Universal matte department at that time, and probably with John De Cuir as matte painter assistant.

1948.  Man from Texas   VFX Jack Rabin.
Jack Rabin got credit as matte effects. That film is  before he tamed up with  Irving Block to supply VFX for low budget films. Rabin worked  in several FX department from  Selznick,  Warner bros and T.C. Fox dong miniatures, opticals and matte paintings.  After joined with  Block, most of the matte painting work was done by his partner.

1953.     Rob Roy: The highland Rogue. Disney production.
Matte paintings by Peter Ellenshaw made at  Elstree Studios in London with Albert Whitlock as matte assistant.

1954 . Passion. RKO. Pictures
No FX credit but probably Albert Maxwell Simpson, who was working for RKO during those years.

1957. Zorro rides into terror  (TV series Zorro)    Disney
Peter Ellenshaw was in charge of the matte paintings.

1957. Zorro secret passage  (TV series Zorro)  Disney
Again  mattes by Peter Ellenshaw.

1962.     Taras Bulba. United artist . 
Although it was Russell Lawson credited on that film, and he was responsible for most of the matte paintings on that show, Albert Whitclock was commissioned by Howard Anderson Company to execute the paintings for the gorge horse jumping.

 1964    Cheyenne Autumn  Warner. Bros
No FX credit on that film, but  probably  the matte work was by Lou Lichtenfield head of matte paintings at Warner Studios.

1972. Evil Roy Slade Universal Pictures
Albert Whitlock credited as head of matte department at Universal Studios.

1986    Solarbabies  VFX by Boos film Studios.
Veteran matte artist  Mat Yuricich was supervisor of  matte paintings with Michelle Moen as matte assistant.

 1994.       On deadly ground  
Roco Gioffre, former Yuricich assistant, was responsible for those matte paintings.

There are much more matte paintings on that jumping issue.  That was just a representative small selection.

viernes, 19 de junio de 2015

Don Q Son of Zorro (1925)

Director: Donald Crisp
Cinematography:  Henry Sharp
Master of properties: Harold MacChesney
Lighting effects: William S. Johnson
Technical effects: Ned Mann

Matte painting: Conrad Tritschler (uncredited)

Ned Mann was  an all around FX supervisor but mostly his work was involved with miniatures. I assume some of the above images are hanging miniatures because Ned Mann used to work with expert miniature
maker Ross Jacklin.

When Ned Mann went to  England hired by Alexander Korda  to supervise FX for his films, he took  Jacklin with him to make  foreground miniatures for The Things to come

British Opical effects master Tom Howard talks about Nedd Mann miniature effect at he book   "Movie Magic. The story of special effects in the cinema."
 By John Brosnan.

“Mann's team of Americans included a famous miniature hanger called Ross Jacklin, whose one skill was to build foreground miniatures which you could pan and tilt a camera over yet still keep them married into a full-size set”

Conrad Tritschler is one of those old time matte painters from the silent era whose work remains almost unknown.  He was a British scenic and backdrop painter for Stage Theatre. He moved to USA at 1923 to work for Richard Walton Tully productions on films like Trilby (1923) and Flowing Gold (1924) where  he painted sets and backdrops.

Sometime during the late twenties and early thirties he went to work for Howard Anderson Company to execute glass and matte paintings on films like White Zombie (1932) or The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) He died in London at 1939. 

Those two images I think could be hanging miniatures.

Conrad Tritschler matte painting.

Before and after from one of the Tritschler matte paintings. 

martes, 26 de mayo de 2015

Howard Anderson Company: Darrell Anderson matte painter

It exist such small information about VFX and matte artist Darrell A. Anderson that trying to get sign of his works it is almost a guess game.  And mostly this is what I’m doing here, guessing.

Those are the facts I know about Darrel A. Anderson. 
Born in California, 1933, the son of Howard Alvin Anderson, and brother of Howard Andrew Anderson. His father founded Howard Anderson Special Photographic Effects Company around 1927.  Both brothers joined his father company providing opticals, titles, mattes, and miniatures. Darrell became matte artist and cinematographer.  The Howard A. Anderson Company worked extensively for TV series during the 60´s and 70´s. Most of Darrell’s  work remain uncredited.
His filmography at IMDB.
 1979- J-Men Forever (photographer: second unit - as Darrell Anderson)
 1978- Superman (additional model photography: USA - as Darrell Anderson)
 1972- The Dirt Gang (special photographic consultant)
 1967-1968 The invaders (TV Series) (special photographic effects - 40 episodes)
 1966- 1969 Star Trek (TV Series) (special effects - as Darrell Anderson)
 1964- Seven days of May (opticals - uncredited)
 1950- Tripoli (special photographic effects)

 The list of titles credited for Howard Anderson Company is huge, and I can imagine Darrell worked on most of titles especially from the 50´s to 70´s.

The Anderson Company's work on Star Trek was nominated for an Emmy Award twice (both times together with other companies providing effects for Star Trek): In 1967 Darrell Anderson was nominated for Individual Achievements in Cinematography, together with Dunn and Joseph Westheimer and in 1969 the company was nominated for Special Classification Achievements together with the Westheimer Company, Van der Veer Photo Effects and Cinema Research.
If someone can enlighten me with more information about him, please go ahead and make my day.

And now let’s go try to find the matte painting work of Darrell Anderson. As I am looking over the Anderson Company, I will also show some matte paintings made by them before Darrell Anderson. In fact Howard Anderson Senior is credited as matte painter at IMDB on four films on the 40´S.  I’m not sure if Anderson senior was the painter himself or if he hired a matte painter and he was responsible for the shots.

On of those films is Dangerous passage (1944) that was a Pine-Thomas production. William H, Pine and William C Thomas created that prolific B-Movie production company working for Paramount Pictures from 1940 to 1957. From 1957 they moved to United Artist. It was during the first period when Howard Anderson Company provided VFX for many of their films.  Most of his work was uncredited as the miniature and mattes for Dangerous passage.

 Small set of the ship’s hull wit the actor hanging between two matte paintings with the matted in ocean. 

Cloudy sky painting.
Miniature ship on dangerous passage.

 Another film on witch Howard Anderson Senior is credited as matte painter at IMDB is Captain Kidd.  On the film credits is only Lee Zavitz for special effects.

There are some miniatures shots of sailing ships.
Composite of ships on a map, an a London harbour view, probably a miniature with painted elements.

Tripoli (1950) was Pine-Thomas production starred by John Payne as many of their adventure and western films.  This time Darrel Anderson is credited alongside with Alex Weldon for special effects. Weldon worked very often with Howard Anderson before going to Spain to supervise FX work for many of the big pictures filmed in Europe during the 60´s and 70´s. He should be in charge of pyrotechnics and mechanical effects.

If the born date is correct, 1933, he must be very young when joined his father VFX Company. He was first credited at 195o film Tripoli, at the age of 17 years. Pretty young for a matte painter!!!!

Miniatures ships and models probably by Weldon. The last one with a matte painting of a bowsprit.
Matte paintings by Darrel Anderson.

Captain China 1950 was a Pine –Thomas production, again starred by John Payne with Alex Weldon credited as Special effects. This time here is not any Anderson credited.
But there are a couple of matte paintings on Captain China. I guess probably by Darrell Anderson.

The right section of the ship is a matte panting.  You can see the separation line on the gangway handrail.

Two more Pyne -Thomas productions.  Pirate adventures Caribbean (1952) with two small matte paintings

And the western The eagle and the hawk (1950) featuring many matte paintings that I guess were painted by Darrell Anderson

Howard Anderson Company was frequently contributor on Edward Small production films. Sometimes credited and some other uncredited.
For The Corsican brother (1941) they were in charge of photographic effects (credited) and a couple of matte paintings that were probably executed by the same artist that used to work on the other Howard Anderson films.

Another Edward Small film is Cagliostro; Black magic (1949) with two wonderful matte paintings. This time there is not FX credited so, I cannot be not sure Howard Anderson was in charge of those mattes.

Last year I showed some matte paintings from the Edward Small film Timbuktu (1959) Again there was not FX credited but if it was under Howard Anderson Company probably were painted by Darrel Anderson.

Matte painting from Desert Sands (1955) with Howard Anderson Company credited for Special photographic effects. Probably matte painting by Darrell Anderson.

At Invasion of the saucer Men (1957) Special effects were credited to Howard Anderson and Alex Weldon. 
The Martian creatures were made by FX sculptor Paul Blaisdell

Howard Anderson and Alex Weldon were in charge of miniature saucers.
There are not matte paintings on that film, just some painted backings for model shots.

Another Sci-Fi film 12 to the moon (1960) produced by Columbia pictures.  Howard Anderson company credited for special photographic effects. There are many planet earth vies from the space.

Miniature rocket ship.

Mate paintings were used to show some aerial vies of frozen cities.

 For the western remake of Gunga Din Sergeants 3 (1962) Howard Anderson Company was in charge of photographic effects with two matte paintings. Probably by Darrel Anderson

The Howard Anderson company was overactive on the filed of TV series. Most celebrated by the Star Trek (1966-69) photographic effects. A far as I know, they hired Albert Whitlock to make the matte paintings. 

The Anderson Company were also responsible for some matte paintings for another legendary  TV series The untouchables (1959-63)  Again I cannot be sure but  I can assume it was the work of Darrel Anderson.