Hey, Mean Streets, am I right? (Say “yes” or we can’t be friends.)
(That trailer actually leaves out the best part of that scene, which is the guy, dumbfounded, saying, “I’m a mook?” as if he knows what it means…)
That’s the true “magic of cinema” for me. Screw Star Wars style special effects:
Did you know Veronica Lake was 7 months pregnant in Sullivan’s Travels…?
TCM’s other Cult Films this month include the commie pinko bullshit that is The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951); The Crimson Kimono (1959), a Sam Fuller meditation on “‘reverse racism,’ if there is such a thing” (so sayeth TCM, despite Fuller using that very term) and The Valley of Gwangi (1969), which I would much rather read about than watch:
The extent of Harryhausen’s unique talent is hard today to properly reckon–machines now do this work, with a machine’s patience and precision. Consider Harryhausen’s working conditions: he needed specially-made film, whose sprocket holes were guaranteed not to slip or waver. This would be threaded into a special camera, whose reliability and accuracy was given no allowance for error. The camera would be bolted into special tripods, which would then be weighted down with sandbags and chains, just to make sure.
Because the monsters and beasties he created were to interact with live actors and filmed separately, those live-action images would be projected onto a screen affixed to the miniature set. Harryhausen needed to dress his miniature replica to match the real location–and then light it to correspond. The intensity of the lights was such that they damaged the rubber models–obliging the animator to make rubber replicas to use in place of the real ones, during the laborious process of lighting. Yes, that’s right, even miniature dinosaurs and toy skeletons had stand-ins, just like the stars.
Every movement of these miniatures was miniscule, and methodical. The work was so maddeningly intricate, even so much as a telephone call could derail him. On some projects, the level of complexity permitted him to record just 14 frames in an entire day’s work. That’s barely half a second, in case you were wondering.