Holiday Cheer From Dr. Strangelove

Written by Joe D on December 16th, 2008

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“Peace On Earth” or ” Purity Of Essence”! The letters P.O.E. are the A-bomb attack recall code thought up by General Jack D. Ripper in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to stop worrying and love the Bomb!

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Rainwater and Grain Alchohol!

My old pal Pablo Ferro told me that WeeGee was the still photographer on Strangelove. Stanley knew WeeGee from his days as a young New York photographer for Look magazine.

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Watch The Birdie!
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Pablo also told me that Peter Sellers was going to play bomber pilot Maj. T. J. “King” Kong but Sellers broke his leg and Kubrick brought in Slim Pickens.

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Major Kong Rides The Bomb!
Another friend. Ray Lovejoy, worked as the assisstant editor on the film. He told me that Peter Sellars did many improvised variations in his performances as President Muffley and Dr. Strangelove. Maybe one day Stanley’s daughter will investigate the outtakes.
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Lt. Mandrake trying to cope with Gen.Ripper

Legend has it that some negative was destroyed in a lab in England, Kubrick flipped and moved his negative to another lab but he insisted it be moved in an armored car! Ray also told me that Pablo went to the lab late one night, he was working on the title sequence. He barges in at midnight, sporting a Mohawk haircut and wearing an electric Indian blanket. The entire negative cutting department resigned! They quit, walked off! Pablo was ahead of his time.
So Happy Holidays from Dr. Strangelove and all his friends here at Film Forno. Peace On Earth, Purity Of Essence or whatever floats your holiday boat.
Here’s Peter Sellers interviewing WeeGee:

Sellers riffs on English accents on the Strangelove set.

More Zeman, Inspirace

Written by Joe D on December 14th, 2008

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Thanks to The Film Walrus for bringing to my attention the fact that Inspirace was posted on Youtube. This is an incredible film! A truly inspired and inspirational piece of art. Zeman heated blown glass figures and bent them between exposures to bring them to life. This magical film takes place in a drop of water on a leaf. Zeman opens a window into a jeweled world of fantasy and wonder, like a glimpse into a phantasmagorical Fabergé Egg.

Karel Zeman, visionary, proto steam punk

Written by Joe D on December 12th, 2008

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Check out this doc on the great Karel Zeman, Czech animator, special effects guru, all around genius. I don’t know about you but I vastly prefer mechanical, physical, optical effects to the digital junk created by an army of ants with computers. Zeman made the super cool Fantastic World of Jules Verne in a Victorian roto-gravure style, it rocks! Anyway here’s a couple of videos as a sample.The first is the doc, the second is a trailer for Jules Verne.

Larry Roemer, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Written by Joe D on December 10th, 2008

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Xmas is just around the corner so here’s a tale of holiday magic from the old days in NYC when I worked as a film cutter on all kinds of stuff. I needed some sound effects for a project I was working on, I made some calls, finally I found what I was looking for so I jumped into a cab and shot over to 45th st.

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Night Falls On 45th St.
Back in the day everything was on 45th street, optical houses, editing rooms, sound transfer, you name it. Once I was on 45th st. , it was also at xmas time, Dec. 16th 1985. It was late afternoon, getting dark, cold, windy. I came out of the Optical House at 45 w 45th and heard sirens , I could swear I saw some guys in overcoats hurrying down the street, looking back and laughing nervously. That night on the news I found out Mafia don Paul Castellano had been hit at Sparks Steakhouse over on 46 th st.
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Anyway, I headed over to Magno Empire, a small office in a big building, an offshoot of Magno Sound, a big sound mixing outfit. I go in and ask for Larry, an older gent comes out and goes to get my sound effects, a yong guy working there comes up and we start talking. “You know who Larry is?” he asks. ” Nah, who is he” I reply. “He directed Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.” the young guy answers. When Larry comes back,I tell him what a fan I am of the show, what a pleasure it is to meet him. Larry lights up like an Xmas tree, he invites me back into his den and we talk for a while. Finally I have to leave, back to work. Larry stops me. “You like Spike Jones?” he asks. “Sure.” I reply. “Here, you’ll love this.” Larry hands me a cassette of Spike Jones greatest hits that he’s put together. I noticed in the end credits of Rudolph that Ralph Friedman was a sound mixer on it. Ralph was the founder of Magno Sound, I guess he was throwing Larry a bone, giving him a gig at Magno Empire in his waning years, not much stop motion to direct in those days. I see on IMDB that Larry (in 1966, two years after Rudolph) directed a stop motion Ballad Of Smokey The Bear. This featured the voice of the great James Cagney.
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Larry Roemer wherever you are I salute you.

36th Chamber Of Shaolin

Written by Joe D on December 7th, 2008

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What the heck, here’s another classic Kung Fu epic starring the great Gordon Liu. This film influenced Quentin Tarantino quite a bit and the ShawScope opening banner seen on this trailer is the one used at the beginning of Kill Bill. It came from a print of this film. Here’s the trailer - This is essential Kung Fu, Check it out!

Dirty Ho

Written by Joe D on December 6th, 2008

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Gordon Liu as Pai Mei from Kill Bill

In the mood for some imaginative, entertaining, kick ass kung fu? Then check out Dirty Ho starring the great Gordon Liu. I had the pleasure of working on a film Mr. Liu appeared in, Kill Bill. He was in both parts of KB and to me is especially memorable in his portrayal of Pai Mei. But here is the trailer from Dirty Ho.

Lee Marvin, a portrait by John Boorman

Written by Joe D on December 2nd, 2008

Here is a biographic film about the late, great Lee Marvin, put together by his friend and collaborator the great director John Boorman. It’s fascinating stuff especially the parts about Lee’s WWII experiences. Thanks to Lars Nilsen, the film guru over at Weird Wednesday for turning me on to ths cool film. There are several parts so keep watching.