Friday, December 02, 2005

The Making of King Kong, Part 3

" 'King Kong' was made partly out of the genius of Willis Harold O'Brien and what he called 'animation in depth,' a method by which inanimate objects are given an illusion of life and movement on film."
[You'll notice how the "figure" of Fay Wray looks so fake next to the very realistic King Kong and pterydactl?]
This is from "The Making of King Kong" by Orville Goldner and George E. Turner, Ballantine Books, New York, 1975, page 41.
[One of the dinosaur models used in "King Kong"]
They go on to say:
"The basic idea, known as stop-motion, is a simple one that was exploited before 1900 by a pioneer French producer, George Melies. A subject is placed in position and a single frame is shot of that placement. The subject then is moved slightly and another frame is exposed. Further related positions are photographed in this manner, describing the increments of movement of whatever action is to be simulated on the film. The strip of 'still' frames, when projected in the usual way, are blended by the 'persistence of vision' into a semblance of motion. The speed at which the subject appears to movie is determined by the distance between the positions photographed: fast-movie objects require less footage and therefore the placements are farther apart than would be necessary for slow-moving effects. It was by this method that a bed was made to dance and leap all over the room in Edwin S. Porters wonderful trick film of 1906, The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend.
[The model used for the brontosaurus in "King Kong."]
"Although O'Brien was far from being the first film-maker to utilize dimentional animation, his efforts were more ambitious than those of his predecessors or contemporaries and it was he who refined and developed the technique until he attained near-perfection."
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Miss Maven wonders . . . with all the remakes that Hollywood has been putting out lately, why hasn't anyone found THIS title?!
THE DREAM OF A RAREBIT FIEND?!?!
You'll forgive Miss Maven while she swoons from fear at all the blood and gore that that title could produce!!
And please don't bring up all the even bloodier and gorier sequels that they could make!
Smelling salts, where are Maven's smelling salts . . . ?!?!
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When Miss Maven recovers, she will accept all notes, suggestions and smelling salt . . . er, ideas . . . at theoldmoviemaven@yahoo.com.

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