viernes, 26 de julio de 2013

A Song to remember and Rumpus in the Haren

I’m back again to Hollywood golden years. And once more from Columbia Pictures. It doesn’t mean that was my favourite Major Studio Production, but I have to admit,  I feel curiosity almost fascination about the matte paintings of Columbia films, probably because is a mystery who were the painters of that matte work.

From  1944 to the early 60´s the head of Columbia VFX department was Lawrence Butler, with none matte artist credited.It is for sure that Butler should have had some painters working with him due to the huge amount of matte work on Columbia films.  
As we have seen on other articles, the quality of their paintings is truly inconstant. 

 The matte paintings from “A song to remember” (1945) are a good example of that fluctuating  condition.  
That first view of Paris looks unconvincing as a poor scenic painting. Almost as a background painting for an animation film.

The next painting of street’s of Paris looks much better.
Nice painting of a night view of George Sand’s mansion.

The Majorca island  full view is again not too good. 

But that last rendition of a Majorcan landscape is a beautiful and evocative painting.

As an extra bonus for Columbia mattes  Rumpus in the Harem” (1956) a short comedy with  the Three Stooges at middle orient, showing a nice matte painting of Arabic cityscape. 

martes, 9 de julio de 2013

Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Queen of Spades

Two British films from 1949. Kind Hearst and coronets and the Queen of spades.
What they have in common, apart from the year is the same art director, William Kellner.  

The first film was an Ealing Studios Production, with Sydney Pearson credited for Special effects and Geoffrey Dickinson for process and matte painting effects.
There is some wonderful miniatures like that riverside landscape with a painted backing. All miniature included the small boat with parasol.
Also miniatures with painted baking of two war ships sinking after colliding.
A matte painting of the upper part and ceiling for the scene of the trial of peers at the House of Lords.
Although this Blog is focused to matte painting, as a big fan to make up effects I can’t miss the opportunity to show some make up work by Harry Frampton on one of my favourites actors, Alec Guinness.

Not much matte paintings today, sorry. For Queen of spades, there is only a wonderful foreground miniature to show. There was no FX credited, so I have to assume that art director was responsible for that trick.  As interesting data, Ken Adam worked as draughtsman at the art department.
 At the first look it doesn’t look like a trick shot, but a complete and full building.

 With unbalanced light, the trick is revealed.

jueves, 4 de julio de 2013

Timbuktu 1958

Three beautiful matte paintings on black and white for an action adventure film from 1958 Timbuktu directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by Edward Small productions, with Victor Mature and Yvonne de Carlo.

 No credit for Special effects of any kind, although I think Alex Weldon was responsible for pyrotechnic and mechanical effects.

Edward Small productions from the 40´s, and early 50´s used to be distributed by Columbia Pictures (Black Arrow 1948, Lorna Doone 1951), but latter on he worked for United Artist (Salomon and Sheba 1959, Jack the giant killer 1962, or Timbuktu 1958) All those films have matte painting, but as far as I know United Artist didn’t have FX department, and Columbia used to assign matte works to a freelance artists or commission works to other studios matte departments. 

At some other films by Edward Small (The man in the iron mask 1939 or The Corsican brothers 1941) FX credit were for Howard Anderson Company. As far as I know many matte artist worked for H. A. Company including Albert Whitlock.
 These three matte paintings could have been done by any artists that used to get works from out of his department like Jan Domela, or any freelance matte painters like Howard Fisher, Cliff Silsby, Louis McManus, or Albert Maxwell Simpson.