Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Creepy Castles & Menacing Mansions

I’ve had my fair share of technical problems with Google’s ‘Blogger’ over the past year, and things seem to be going from bad to worse with today’s blog article nearly shelved indefinitely due to serious failings with the godamned ‘Blogger’ whereby it’s now become next to impossible to remain ‘logged in’ while preparing blogs (a problem many furious bloggers around the globe seem to be stuck with it would appear!).  For the past several days the system will log out every few minutes or sometimes seconds with this cryptic dialogue box: “you have been logged out by other place-do you wish to log in again?”  Talk about bloody infuriating.  It makes me want to pull my hair out!  I might have to reduce blogs both in number, size and frequency as this situation is next to impossible to work with.  I’ll see if things resolve themselves, fingers crossed.  If the blog goes 'silent', you'll know why!   :(

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Today's blog is one I've been hanging onto for a while.  Among the broad range of matte art subject matter one has always appealed to me - that being the 'haunted house' or gothic mansion as depicted in traditional matte art.  While some classics are represented here in ‘glass shot’ form a number of equally chilling classic gothic homestead settings from films such as Robert Wise’s classic spine tingler THE HAUNTING (1963), Richard Matheson’s excellent LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (1973), Peter Medak’s THE CHANGELING (1979) and Kubrick’s THE SHINING (1980) don’t make it as those wonderful settings were either actual locations, or as in the case of the excellent George C.Scott frightfest THE CHANGELING, a full size purpose built exterior façade.  Some effectively menacing more recent demonic street addresses such as the under rated remake of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL  (1999) I’ve deliberately not included as the digital realm falls outside the scope (and interest) of this blog.
Not a matte shot, but one of the best actual locations, Ettington Park Hotel in Britain used in an excellent film, Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING (1963).  Tom Howard's special Infra Red photography enhanced the eerie quality of the manor home in the film.


Roger Corman's Poe film TALES OF TERROR (1962).
Although I've packed quite a number of interesting shots into today's blog I've not managed to find anywhere near the variety of 1940's gothic mattes I'd like to have, though happily, before looking at the vintage glass shots and fascinating frames from years gone by I've been most fortunate, thanks to visual effects man Harry Walton,  to demonstrate in step  by step fashion the actual preparation, photography and compositing of just such a shot, which Harry produced in the 1970's while at Cascade Films.  I'm most grateful (again) to Harry for his time in dragging out his old photo album and taking the time to send me not only the images but excellent blow by blow technical detail and reminiscences.  So before the tribute to glass shots of old, here's a close look at Harry's 'Alcazar' matte in the making.....








PHOTOGRAPHIC FX 101 - THE MAKING OF A MATTE

By Harry Walton



Alcazar Matte: the fine art oil painting in progress.
"I originally painted this castle in 1976 as a fine art piece. This is an original negative matte shot but there is a strange story behind this shot - this was the first painting that I ever did. The painting is oil on a 30"x40" masonite panel. As a young kid I loved those moody castle shots on the sea shore in those early great Roger Corman/Vincent Price "POE" movies. Till this day I still love matte shots with castles. So one day I decided to do this castle painting as a fine art piece with the cliffs and water all painted and with no intention of this being a filmed matte shot".

The finished original fine art Alcazar painting.
"When I started work at CPC in 1978 (still at Cascade's Stage 6 effects facility) I wanted to set up a matte department and do a matte shot (from the remnants of Stage 6's matte stand) and Roy Seawright agreed. Since this was an internal test project I tried to be efficient as possible using existing resources whenever possible. So I decided to use my Alcazar castle painting that I did 2 years earlier and I also wanted to do this as an original negative composite".

The painting set up in my garage.       Harry Walton matting out the water area with black paint on a glass in front of the painting. I didn’t want to paint the matte directly on the painting. This was for an in camera 16mm test that I did with my Bolex at home.


"So the weird part is, is that I had to engineer the shot in reverse! I had to find a location that would reasonably fit the painting that I had already done. Being a California surfer for 15 years I had some pretty good ideas of beach locations with protruding cliffs". 


 Harry Walton working on the 16mm matte set up in his garage.
Who parks cars in their garage in this business?

 "Spending a couple Saturdays I scouted some locations and found the best place in Laguna Beach which I took some reference photos of. There was a structure on this cliff, a large condominium or apartment, which made physical sense to replace it with my castle".

These photos courtesy of David Stipes –  Harry Walton preparing the Mitchell plate camera and the foreground glass.
This is a 35mm frame blow up of the live action plate in Laguna beach. I nicely asked the
 people (bottom of frame) sunning themselves if they would move so we could shoot the
    plate without sun bathers. They refused to move, so I painted in a rock to cover them up!

"Back at the CPC/Cascade matte department I set up my painting on the matte stand and filmed some overexposed clips of the painting with my matte camera. These 'thin' overexposed 35mm film clips will later be mounted in the viewing tube film clip holder of the Mitchell plate camera for line up at the location. So I and the matte crew (David Stipes, Mike Griffin and Bill Stromberg?) loaded up the equipment and headed for Laguna beach".
       Jump ahead to 1978. I am now working for C.P.C. Associates,
        formerly Cascade Pictures of California. Harry Walton in the
        matte department on Cascade’s stage 6, now C.P.C. I am using
      my model 4 Acme camera for this 35mm original negative composite.
Frame blow up with the hold out matte.

"I remember it being a hard walk on this long flight of stairs down to the sand carrying all this heavy equipment. With the clip of the castle in the camera I found the best position on the beach where the castle fit best on the rocks. The glass was set up on the sand, braced and draped with black douvateen. I then proceeded to lay out the matte with black tape matting out the castle area, painted sky and partially through the cliffs which of course was matting out the real sky and condominium. I then shot a lot of takes for dip tests and final compositing. Since the painting was a night shot I wanted to simulate that as much as possible when shooting the live action which was during broad daylight. I think I shot the live action about 2 stops underexposed with a steel blue filter in the camera’s filter slot".

              I have now painted the black matte on the painting itself and I am at the point of making
                dip tests and color tests. At left is the refrigerator where the latent image negative is kept.
"Back at the CPC/Cascade matte department it was almost standard operating procedure for matching the painting to the live action. I found the best exposure of the painting to overall match the luminance of the live action and then made painting adjustments in the cliff area and where the sky met the live horizon.  I timed the color and density of the final prints from the lab to further push the day shot to a night scene. Unfortunately the perspectives of the castle don't fit the live shot but it was fun for all involved and I got the  procedures worked out and the matte department set up for future work".

Frame blow up of the final day for night o-neg matte composite.
I animated one of the castle's lights going on or off as well".
            

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NZ Pete's Scrapbook Tribute of Creepy Castles, Hair Raising Houses and Menacing Mansions....                                enjoy!

I know nothing about the film EIGHT HEADS IN A DUFFLE BAG (1997) other than Syd Dutton provided this nice atmospheric abode.  It may in fact be a digital matte?

Russ Lawson painted these classic castle views for effects man David Horsley for the classic ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948).

Both Syd Dutton and Robert Stromberg painted evocative mattes on ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1993)

Dizzying birds eye vantage point matte painting from ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1993)

Same film, though this time a miniature mansion filmed against a real sunset as I recall.

The popular and still funny 60's tv show, with matte art by former Hal Roach matte artist Louis McManus.

Warner's THE ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN (1948) borrowed mattes from an earlier Errol Flynn show ROBIN HOOD with the long shot used in half a dozen Warner shows, and the closer view stolen from a Columbia Pictures Cornel Wilde costumer THE BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST.  Note the incongruous reflections in the moat!
Delightfully wacky mattes by Jim Fetherolf from the very dire Disney picture BABES IN TOYLAND (1961).

More Jim Fetherolf mattework from BABES IN TOYLAND (1961)

Disney's BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS (1971) featured alot of great mattes, largely by Alan Maley.

Pinewood's THE BLACK KNIGHT (1954) also had many castle mattes by Cliff Culley and maybe Al Whitlock?

Columbia's THE BLACK ARROW (1948), mattes supervised by Lawrence Butler.

The unbelievably cheesy Universal costumer THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH (1954) featured a stilted Tony Curtis, a bodacious Janet Leigh and just one solitary matte shot by Russell Lawson.

Irving Block mattes from the 1956 show THE BLACK SLEEP.

An unidentified painted rooftop matte by Jan Domela from the thirties.

Well, technically neither castle nor manor house - more like a pirate pub made out of old sailing boats... but I like it.  Two of the many, many mattes by Peter Ellenshaw and Jim Fetherolf in Disney's BLACKBEARD'S GHOST (1968)

Perhaps the most recognisable of all gothic mansions - the wonderful Mario Larrinaga-Chesley Bonestell glass shots of Xanadu for Welles' CITIZEN KANE (1941).  Sadly, the final shots don't look anywhere near as good as this 'virgin' painting shown above, with far too much else composited into the shot, masking it's eerie beauty.

Another CITIZEN KANE matte.

More classic mattes of Xanadu from CITIZEN KANE, as supervised by Vernon L.Walker

Syd Dutton and Albert Whitlock matte work for CLUE (1985).

Textbook thunder and lightning creepy manor mattes by Whitlock and Dutton for CLUE (1985).


Bob Cuff's monumental matte for THE COLDITZ STORY (1957).

Another excellent matte from THE COLDITZ STORY painted either by Bob Cuff or George Samuels probably.

Terrific matte paintings from the Roger Corman Poe picture COMEDY OF TERRORS (1963) which although uncredited I'd bet my left arm were the work of Albert Whitlock, who painted numerous shots around that time for effects contractors Butler-Glouner.  The mattes here have all the hallmarks of Whitlock, with bold split screens running straight across the scenery and cutting through trees etc, yet perfectly matched and blended in the what look like clean latent image final comps.

Jan Domela painted thousands of mattes over his long 40 plus year career, with these being two of the many from Bing Crosby's A CONNECTICUTT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT (1949).

Another Jan Domela castle - this being from the Danny Kaye comedy THE COURT JESTER (1956).

Not really gothic, nor a castle, DeMille's THE CRUSADES (1935) painted by Jan Domela.

Possibly painted sky and right roof - CRY WOLF (1947) from Warner Brothers.

Les Bowie matte top up for Hammer's THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957).

RKO's Val Lewton classic CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944) probably the work of Al Simpson.

Lee LeBlanc's matte of David Niven's house for PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES (1960)

One of the greatest visual effects films ever - Disney's DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE (1959).  Peter Ellenshaw supervised the all round fantastic effects, with a troupe of artists painting the many, many mattes such as Albert Whitlock and Jim Fetherolf.  A classic entertainment and one unjustly neglected for an Oscar in the visual effects stakes.  A visual effects masterpiece bar none!!!

Selznick's 1935 DAVID COPPERFIELD.  Top frame a multi part composite of partial set, painting and coastline plate.

One of the funniest films ever made - The Marx Brothers' A DAY AT THE RACES (1937) - with this matte later showing up slightly altered in later MGM films.  A classic and all time favourite of this author.

An Emil Kosa shot from Fox's DO NOT DISTURB (1965)

A Jan Domela painted mountain and castle cum fortress, from the VistaVision film OMAR KHAYAM (1957).  I have hi-rez photos of another spectacular painting from this film - in fact the only known surviving Domela matte which - if this bloody blogger will cooperate - I'll include in an upcoming 'Mattes Up Close-Part Three'...  we'll see!!!

Rare before and after pictures of a silent hanging foreground miniature castle for the 1924 silent film DOROTHY VERNON OF HADDON HALL.

Russell Lawson painted castle for John P.Fulton on DRACULA'S DAUGHTER (1936).


Very early sound horror - the Bela Lugosi DRACULA (1931).  Photographic effects by Frank Booth, Universals' head of fx prior to Fulton, with matte art probably by Jack Cosgrove and Russell Lawson.

Peter Melrose matte from Hammer's DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1966).
Francis Ford Coppola's 1990 incarnation of BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA was an  effects showcase for Matte World.  The above frame is a miniature with the director's prerequisite for as much in camera trickery as possible.

More from BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA (1990) with exemplary matte art from Craig Barron's effects house Matte World.  Artists on the film included Brian Flora, Bill Mather, Sean Joyce and Mike Pangrazio.  The lower left frame is a miniature.

The arguably bizarre 'look' for Vlad's castle:  BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.

Another depiction of the timeless charmer, this being the rather good Frank Langella version of DRACULA (1979).  Albert Whitlock provided the various matte shots, with this one being an actual still inhabited location in Brittany with Whitlock augmenting the castle with turrets, spires and a moody, moving cloud laden sky.

Another terrific Whitlock shot from the 1979 DRACULA, with all painted except the area immediately surrounding the coach blended with a soft edged semi circular matte matte.

ILM's DRAGONSLAYER castle, as painted by Alan Maley in 1981.

Two Fred Sersen shots which work very well in the film DRAGONWYCK (1947).

Mid 40's matte composite from the RKO picture GAME OF DEATH possibly painted by Albert Maxwell Simpson.

A pair of Emilio Ruiz miniature effects shots from a 1960's Spanish horror film.

Although in no way gothic, a castle nor haunted - a good deal of murder and trechery does take place in this entirely matte painted house in the 1971 Agatha Christie mystery ENDLESS NIGHT.

Rare before and after pictures of the invisible matte work employed by Tom Howard's artists at MGM-Elstree for the Hayley Mills thriller ENDLESS NIGHT.

A film I've always wanted to see... EQUINOX (1969) with mattes painted by Jim Danforth.

I think this one was EVIL DEAD II - with mattes by Bob Kayganich

One of many castles created by Les Bowie over the years, with this being from THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1967).  This is a partial miniature partial painting by Ray Caple.

Beautiful first generation mattes-a-plenty are to be found in the two Lucasfilm EWOK ADVENTURES (many more to feature later in an ILM matte special blog... if this mothershagger  of a blogger thing allows me!).  The frame at left is a foreground miniature split screened onto horizon.  Matte artists on the two tele movies include Caroleen Green, Jim Danforth, Chris Evans and others.  Great work.

Beautiful and mysterious vision from the hand of Al Whitlock from the not very good EXORCIST II-THE HERETIC (1977)

Another of Corman's Poe pictures - and a good one too.  THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960) with what I reckon to be Albert Whitlock painted mattes.  Those trademark spindly trees feature in all of the Poe/Corman mattes.

More photographic effects from FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER.  The effects were credited to Lawrence Butler and Donald Glouner who didn't have a matte artist and would frequently employ Albert Whitlock to execute mattes.

A beautifully rendered piece of perspective art (something I always have a fondness for). The subtle moving skies once again suggest the hand and brush of Whitlock.  From FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960).

Doug Ferris's castle from Roman Polanski's difficult to get one's head around FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (1967)

One of the greatest painters of castles (and sailing ships) was the late, great Peter Ellenshaw.  Here are some of the many mattes from the Disney picture THE FIGHTING PRINCE OF DONEGAL (1966).

Britain's Magic Camera Company (at one stage known as Meddings Magic Camera Co.) provided several astounding miniature sequences of Camelot for the 1995 film FIRST KNIGHT.

Old Warner Bros mattes from the energetic Burt Lancaster show THE FLAME AND THE ARROW (1950)

Multi-plane glass shot set up for the 1974 FLESH GORDON painted by either Joe Musso or Jim Danforth.

A detailed Cliff Culley/Leigh Took miniature set up at Pinewood possibly for the 1978 film HAWK THE SLAYER.

One of veteran matte artist Doug Ferris' many castles - with this possibly from the film CHARLEMAINE?

Okay... it's not a castle nor a house nor even a matte painting, but it is a fantastic slice of gothic imagery engineered by the great John Fulton for James Whale's classic 1931 landmark film FRANKENSTEIN.  Beautiful miniature windmill by Charlie Baker and maybe Don Jahraus, flawlessly split screened onto a limited stage set by Fulton and cameraman Frank Booth, with subtle travelling matte addition of Colin Clive and Karloff onto the balcony.

A  flawless Leigh Took glass shot which adds a fictional castle to an existing landscape for the Peter Sellers film THE FIENDISH PLOT OF DR FU MAN CHU (1979)

MGM's famed Newcombe department supplied this sublime matte for Ingrid Bergman's GASLIGHT.

Paramount's resident matte artist Jan Domela provided several classic creepy house shots for the very funny 1940 Bob Hope vehicle THE GHOST BREAKERS.  Many of the mattes would end up being recycled (as would many of the jokes) in a later 1953 remake, SCARED STIFF, with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.

An exceptionally convincing Russ Lawsen matte painted composite from THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942).

A miniature castle by Charlie Baker goes up in flames in GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, with fx by John P.Fulton.

The 1981 film GHOST STORY had a fair chunk of work by Albert Whitlock, though most of the shots never made the final cut.  This frame is an actual location street with several subtle details augmented by Whitlock such as snow, lights and sky.

Percy Day and a very 'green' Peter Ellenshaw created this estate (possibly miniature) for the 1935 film THE GHOST GOES WEST

Jack Lemmon's evil address miniature from THE GREAT RACE (1966).

One of Albert Whitlock's last credits while at Disney - GREYFRIAR'S BOBBY (1960).

GUEST HOUSE PARADISO - possibly a Leigh Took matte shot?

Well, it's not gothic, haunted nor creepy - but it is a matte shot none the less.  An Emil Kosa shot from the very amusing Walter Matthau picture THE GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN (1967).

Another of Roger Corman's Edgar Allen Poe films - THE HAUNTED PALACE (1963). Mattes quite possibly by Albert Whitlock?

A Leigh Took glass shot from the 1978 Jack Palance film HAWK, THE SLAYER.

Pretty creepy??  A Fred Sersen shot from Ernst Lubitsch's HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1943)

Percy Day glass shots for Laurence Olivier's HENRY V  (1944).


The Institute for the Very, Very Nervous..... an Albert Whitlock creation for Mel Brooks' spoof on Hitchcock movies HIGH ANXIETY (1978), in which Al also had a speaking role and appears as a key character.

One of Ray Caple's mattes topping up an existing ruin, from the dreadful HIGHLANDER (1986).

A masterpiece of matte art by either Syd Dutton or Albert Whitlock - from the lackluster Mel Brooks spoof HISTORY OF THE WORLD - PART ONE (1981).  The many exquisite mattes should have garnered at least an Oscar nomination.

A John Fulton shot, no doubt painted by Russ Lawsen, for the 1941 HOLD THAT GHOST.

A lousy quality vhs grab of a nice Michael Pangrazio tilt down matte shot from the funny HOT SHOTS-PART DEUX.

Utterly magnificent full frame paintings by Albert Whitlock for the rarely seen early 1970's made for television adaptation THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES.      Thanks to my pal Domingo for these gems.

The indescribable Japanese haunted house non stop rollercoaster ride, HOUSE (1977) which has a number of matte paintings and loads of insanely over the top opticals and incomprehensible action.

A wonderful, though mystery, original matte painting from a private collection - possibly a Jack Cosgrove shot?

Iconic Universal Pictures matte shot from HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945), probably painted by Russ Lawsen.

An actual castle in Europe which has been altered and extended with matte art for the film INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1988).

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) miniature in snowfall and the matte painted front of the house.

Tom Howard supervised mattes from the British film IVANHOE (1952) possibly painted by Judy Jordan.

Although it's not his style, I believe Albert Whitlock painted these shots for JACK, THE GIANT KILLER (1962).

Vintage Jan Domela glass shot from an unknown film, probably late twenties.

Moody glass shots from the Sersen dept at Fox for the Orson Welles version of JANE EYRE (1944).

Another JANE EYRE matte.

A very early trial matte painting by a then 19 year old budding effects man, Jim Danforth.

Jim Danforth posing in front of a spectacular painting for a tv commercial while at Cascade Films.

Jack Cosgrove's expansive technicolor vista for JOAN OF ARC (1948)

For the unimpressive 1995 Sylvester Stallone show, JUDGE DREDD, matte painter Doug Ferris supplied this very impressive matte shot of the Aspen Penal Colony.


Many excellent mattes may be found in the Spencer Tracy picture KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1947).

More stately frames from the Newcombe boys matte art for KEEPER OF THE FLAME.

Cliff Culley miniature and painting from A KID IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT (1988).

Both Ellenshaw and Whitlock painted mattes for Disney's KIDNAPPED (1961)

Absolutely magnificent glass shots from a little known 1964 Soviet era fantasy along the lines of The Wizard of Oz, titled KINGDOM OF THE CROOKED MIRRORS.  Stunning art and clean compositing.

Hammer's 1963 KISS OF THE VAMPIRE matte by Les Bowie and Ray Caple.

Russell Lawson mattes for the Maureen O'Hara picture LADY GODIVA (1955)

I don't have any idea who painted this - LADY JANE (1986) with Helena Bonham-Carter.

Two Charles Stoneham mattes from THE LAST DAYS OF PATTON (1987)

A great little hybrid movie which is part Hammer and part Run Run Shaw, THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974).  This matte shot ranks as one of the all time worst unfortunately.  Les Bowie really missed the boat on this one!

Beautiful, uncredited mattes from the 40's Columbia show LORNA DOONE.

Lots of atmosphere here in these RKO mattes from THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942)

Illusion Arts' Bill Taylor and Syd Dutton painted and photographed this manor home for MANNEQUIN 2.

A Fred Sersen shot from Tyrone Power's THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940).

Alfred Hitchcock's weakest film, MARNIE (1963), featured full frame totally painted shots by Albert Whitlock.

John Ford - an odd choice for this genre - directed MARY OF SCOTLAND (1935) for RKO.

One of the best of the Vincent Price Poe films MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964) benefitted from exquisite Nicholas Roeg cinematography and first rate mattes from Bob Cuff and Ray Caple.



This full painting came up for auction a few years ago, purported to be an Al Whitlock work.  Bill Taylor feels this to not be the case as the composition and sky just isn't Whitlock's style.  Bill felt it may be the work of Al's son Mark, a sometime matte painter in the 80's.

An unidentified and beautifully detailed classic era matte - possibly from RKO or Universal?

One of those grand pastel paintings from the MGM Newcombe department.  Title unknown.

Quite probably a digital matte for the film THE MISTS OF AVALON.

Marcel Delgado miniature orphanage and Pete Peterson stop motion truck from the Willis O'Brien Oscar winning MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949).

Uncredited castle matte from THOSE DARING YOUNG MEN IN THEIR JAUNTY JALOPIES aka MONTE CARLO OR BUST (1969).  Possibly done by Cliff Culley or Charles Stoneham at Pinewood?

Forboding glass shots by Byron Crabbe for the 1932 RKO classic THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME.

Byron Crabbe's pre-production drawing for Count Zaroff's jungle castle for MOST DANGEROUS GAME

A favourite movie for me as a kid - MUNSTER GO HOME (1966) had nice Albert Whitlock mansion matte art.

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The totally 'off the wall' address, presumably painted by Russell Lawson for John P.Fulton for this wacky 1941 W.C Fields show, with great mountaintop abode of Margaret Dumont (don't ask).

Wonderfully eerie mental asylum for the Hammer thriller NIGHTMARE (1964).  Les Bowie, Ian Scoones and Kit West all contributed to these shots, with the top frame being a forced perspective miniature set backed by a Caple painted asylum on a hill.  Bottom frame is a Ray Caple painting split screened atop partial set.

Low budget film maker Brett Piper is a man of many talents - with stop motion animation and glass paintings being just two attributes in this 16mm feature A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL (ya gotta love that title - imposed on him I believe by the Troma guys.... no surprises there!).  This appears to be an in camera glass shot of a castle as the bottom of the glass frame can be seen here.
Jan Domela mansion matte shot made under Gordon Jennings supervision for the sublimely beautiful 1935 Gary Cooper picture PETER IBBETSEN which has a number of trick shots.

Another Domela shot from PETER IBBETSEN with rare look at painted castle and separate painted sky to allow moving clouds.

Also from PETER IBBETSEN, Gordon Jennings' miniatures in action.

Peter Melrose matte from Hammer's DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1966).

Great Poe film with great Albert Whitlock matte effects - albeit uncredited as usual when working for Butler-Glouner.  Wonderful title font lettering as well, the sort of thing never seen these days... glorious.  I just love old time titles.

Phenomenal skies are a trademark of Whitlock's work: PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961).

I'm always a sucker for extreme perspective design in matte art.  PIT AND THE PENDULUM again, with trademark moving skies by Albert, though also re-used in other Roger Corman films.


Not quite castle nor mansion but I love lighthouses too, so this might fit? I can't be certain, though I think all of these frames from Disney's PETE'S DRAGON (1978) are Harrison Ellenshaw composites with painted elements, certainly the top two frames being effects shots.

Jack Rabin's company provided matte art, courtesy of Irving Block for this fifties version of THE PIED PIPER.


A truly glorious, well blended matte painting by Albert Whitlock for the popular Disney film POLLYANNA (1960).

Not the least bit gothic, nor the standard haunted abode, this Richard Edlund orchestrated miniature split screen effect from POLTERGEIST (1982)  - an unforgettable self implosion.

The 1936 W.C Fields film POPPY has this wonderful address, courtesy of matte artist Jan Domela.

Cliff Culley's Swiss Alpine castle matte shot from THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN (1976).

The 1962 Edgar Allan Poe film PREMATURE BURIAL with what I feel is likely an Al Whitlock matte.

Vintage Warner Bros Stage 5 matte effects from THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER (1937).

Clarence Slifer matte composite from the Bob Hope swashbuckler THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE (1944).

The original David O. Selznick version of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937) had a great many mattes, supervised by the great Jack Cosgrove with painters Byron Crabbe and Albert Maxwell Simpson on board.

The sole redeeming feature to the extremely weak 1979 Peter Sellers remake of PRISONER OF ZENDA were the wonderfully atmospheric mattes by Albert Whitlock and Syd Dutton.

Whitlock again, with the pretty good PSYCHO II (1981) utilising the existing Universal backlot house set, enhanced considerably with moving painted skies and surrounding countryside additions.

Half the motel and all of the countryside has been added by Whitlock and Dutton, with a flawless and fluid camera move added by Bill Taylor to the final composite.

A nerve jangling birds eye view from PSYCHO II with everything in the left frame painted except a tiny strip of live action where the girl runs out from the house.  Another magnificently moody painted sky in the frame at right.

Shepperton's PURE HELL AT ST.TRINIANS (1960) with effects by Wally Veevers and George Samuels.

The notorious Castle Colditz as seen in the true bio-pic REACH FOR THE SKY (1956), probably painted by Cliff Culley.

Alfred Hitchcock's REBECCA (1940) was an Oscar nominee for visual effects for Jack Cosgrove.  This rare original matte painting was, very unusually, painted in colour - not a common practice at the time.  I could never find this exact shot in the film though??

More from REBECCA - with a fantastic and huge detailed miniature, which took up much of the effects stage at Selznick.

Peter Ellenshaw's majestic ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRIE MEN (1952) matte which, as with all of Ellenshaw's matte art has his very distinct signature skies.  I'm convinced that Al Whitlock picked up his 'own sky' stylings from his years under Ellenshaw at Disney.

Another breathtaking Ellenshaw castle (and sky...wow!)... this time from ROB ROY THE HIGHLAND ROGUE (1953)

Locksley castle... in good times and in bad.  A pair of Doug Ferris mattes from ROBIN HOOD - PRINCE OF THIEVES.

Whitlock matte shot from ROMEO AND JULIET - 1954 British version.

MGM Warren Newcombe shot from SCARAMOUCHE (1952).

The amusing British comedy SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS (1960) - though I've no idea who painted on this show?

The 1935 MGM version of SCROOGE.

Robert Stromberg's matte painting for THE SHADOW - a film chock filled with great effects and matte work.

Probable matte top up from the 1950 British period picture SHADOW OF THE EAGLE.  Fx man not known.

David Horsley and Russell Lawson matte effects from the odd SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946)

Sixteen inch tall miniature with painted backing and a matted in ocean plate - from Ray Harryhausen's SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977) - easily the least appealing film of the series by a long shot!

Ray Caple's romantic Cinderella inspired castle from THE SLIPPER AND THE ROSE (1976).

Quite bizarre design from SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) which suggests to me a strong German expressionist influence.  Photographic effects by John Fulton, with Russell Lawson on matte art.

Syd Dutton's wonderful castle as seen in Mel Brooks' SPACEBALLS (1988) which shows a distinct Whitlock influence.

Two of Jack Cosgrove's Oscar nominated matteshots for Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND (1945).

RKO's suspenseful SPIRAL STAIRCASE with mattes overseen by Vernon L.Walker

A Cliff Culley painted matte from the 1958 Norman Wisdom comedy THE SQUARE PEG

Former Harrison Ellenshaw protege Jean-Pierre Trevor painted this expansive shot for the medieval drama STEALING HEAVEN (1988)

Disney's SUMMER MAGIC (1963) was a film loaded with elaborate matte shots by Peter Ellenshaw, Jim Fetherolf and Constantine Ganakes, with this frame being one of a big pull out shot.

The energetic pirate adventure THE SCARLET BUCCANEER (aka SWASHBUCKLER) saw Albert Whitlock and Bill Taylor busy with a lot of mattes of the fortress and other effects.

A glorious Peter Ellenshaw matte from the effects heavy THE SWORD AND THE ROSE (1953) which also employed Albert Whitlock as an assistant matte artist.

Dark, dank and thoroughly despised - The infamous Bastille from the 1935 version of TALE OF TWO CITIES.


Part of the opening titles from Poe's TALES OF TERROR (1962).

Again, from TALES OF TERROR, although the curious framing of this matte shot has forever mystified me?
I love this shot - wonderfully forboding feeling  doom?  TALES OF TERROR quite possibly another Whitlock matte.

A pair of frames showing the house in different seasons:  TALES OF TERROR (1962).


A Leigh Took matte shot from THE TENTH KINGDOM

I strongly suspect this view from the brilliant Billy Wilder comedy THE APARTMENT (1960) to be a painting?

An unidentified before and after matte painted by Jan Domela sometime in the thirties/
Another Poe film - this one being THE RAVEN (1963) with a surprisingly poor castle comp in the upper frame.

Vintage silent era Fred Sersen glass shot, from THE RED DANCE (1925)

Yet another Roger Corman Poe film - THE TERROR (1963) - a shot that also appears in other films.

A superbly rendered Newcombe shot, from the Gene Kelly version of THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1949)

Another version of THE THREE MUSKETEERS - this one being the 1939 Fox film starring The Ritz Brothers

An unsual one - probably a Russ Lawsen matte from an episode of the 1961 Universal tv series THRILLER

Nice effects shots from the 1940 RKO film TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL DAYS.

Tom Howard's Oscar winning visual effects for TOM THUMB (1958) included a number of mattes, probably painted by Howard's regular matte artist, Judy Jordan at MGM-Elstree.

Doug Ferris effects shot.

A Peter Melrose full frame matte painting from the 1982 TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER.

Beautiful matte either by Bob Cuff or George Samuels for the excellent TUNES OF GLORY (1960).

Some of the very good two dozen odd mattes featured in the mis-directed Hitchcock picture UNDER CAPRICORN (1949).  No idea who did the effects work as film was a British production released by Warner Bros.

A Les Bowie-Kit West miniature castle and mountain from an unknown film.

Before and after Jan Domela matte art from an unknown thirties Paramount film.

Hammer's quite erotic THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970)



Iconic Jan Domela matte shot from Hitchcock's classic VERTIGO (1958).  The matte line runs straight across mid frame just above the archways with Domela adding the roof,the tower, trees and the very ominous sky.


Irving Block matte painted castles from this lesser known Shakespearean play (!)

A pair of creepy house mattes by Ray Caple and Bob Cuff from the Vincent Price film WAR GODS OF THE DEEP (1965)

Terrific Russ Lawsen matte work for John P.Fulton from the excellent Henry Hull horror picture THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON

Douglas Adamson's matte painted chateau from the war film WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968).



The lovely Caroleen Green at work on a castle matte for Ron Howard's WILLOW (1988).

ILM Oscar winning matte work from THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (1986).

Latent image o/neg matte from WITCHES OF EASTWICK.  Matte painters included Sean Joyce and Chris Evans.

ILM matte artist Sean Joyce at work on a shot which would ultimately be deleted from the final WOE film.
One of the only mattes in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) which can be attributed to a single artist - in this case it was Candelario Rivas - one of the painters in the Newcombe department.

A low budget swordplay film, WIZARDS OF THE LOST KINGDOM with matte art by Van Der Veer's Pony Horton who learned his craft under Louis Litchtenfield.

One of my favourite 40's mattes - a Russell Lawson rendering for John Fulton from the classic 1941 film THE WOLFMAN.  I'm forever intrigued by old time 'blends' or matte joins (with a nice soft blend above) and one day - blogger permitting, may do a blog just on the actual 'blend' or matte line.

Also from the Lon Chaney classic THE WOLFMAN.  Matte photography Roswell Hoffman.

Early, but good Alfred Hitchcock thriller YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1937)Effects person uncertain, but a very young Albert Whitlock was the scenic artist under art director Alfred Junge on this film.

Matthew Yuricich's thunderstorm laden Castle Frankenstein.. or 'Fronkensteen' to be more precise(!)

THIS BLOG HAS BEEN ONE HELL OF AN ORDEAL, WITH THE NON STOP "LOG OUTS" AND SUCH.  IT'S TAKEN A HELL OF A LOT OF PATIENCE AND REALLY FOUL CUSS WORDS IN COMPLETING THIS ARTICLE. I'LL HAVE A BREAK FOR A WHILE IN THE HOPE THAT THE GOOGLE EMPIRE WILL RECTIFY THE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS AS IT'S JUST TOO BLOODY DIFFICULT WORKING AROUND THESE INCESSANT "LOG OUTS".

PETER


13 comments:

  1. Great post. Nice seeing the Psycho II & Hitchcock mattes.

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  2. Wonderful post, I do like a creepy castle matte!

    And I'm sorry to read of your problems with google blogger, I'm glad you managed to get this post complete but I hope the problems clear up soon as I'd be gutted if you had to abandon it!

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  3. Re: The Man Who Would Be King.

    There was nothing wrong with the other matte artists' paintings of the Holy City of Sikandergul high above the mountains as my friend Albert Whitlock told me 25 years ago. The problem was with the plate photography. They had a native with a trumpet in front. The other artists placed the Holy City above the trumpet so that it became too small. Whitlock, while viewing the rushes, found a clever solution: He rotoscoped the trumpet so that he could place the painting in the center.

    Rolf Giesen
    Changchun and Berlin

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  4. Amazing as always! Thanks for this new entry, Pete. Some of my favourite films AND favourite matte paintings standing side by side.

    Und danke Rolf, a very interesting comment on that mysterious Whitlock painting. I wish I could see the other attempts, that didn't make it.

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  5. I have a couple of corrections here, which due to the unforgiving nature of Blogger I'll mention here rather than 'edit' the blog.

    The Harry Walton piece I mentioned 'Roy' Seawright when It should have read as Roy's son 'Ron' Seawright. Both father and son were at Cascade at the same time.

    The Les Bowie before and after of the rooftops and mountains I mistakedly captioned as CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN whereas it should have been HORROR OF DRACULA.

    The black and white Emilio Ruiz castles were actually glass painting shots and not models, and the film was titled HORROR.

    Sorry

    Peter

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  6. Do you know if there are only one matte each in The Princess and the Pirate and MGM's Scrooge or do these films have multiple matte paintings ?

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  7. As always, thank you for the excellent and instructive post!

    Your problems with Blogger are mysterious... I post every day without issue; admittedly none of my posts are as long and involved as yours., though! Could a different browser help? If all else fails, and you are about to give up, maybe a Wordpress blog would work (I've known one of two other folks who have made the switch).

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  8. Hi Steve

    Princess and the Pirate has just the one shot (that I could spot). I've not seen Scrooge and just have the one shot which a reader recently identified for me.

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  9. I absolutely love your blog and find it genuinely inspiring. Imagine my delight (and only slight embarrassment)at finding one of my own half-assed painting included!

    Keep up the great work.

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  10. Hi Brett

    It's always amazing just who stumbles across this blog (you'd be surprised, with one noted multi Oscar winning fx guy extremely miffed that I spelled his name wrong..repeatedly.... gee, sorry Bob)....

    A decidedly ambitious little film as I recall, NYMPHOID was a winner in the stop motion stakes and the material looked great.

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  11. Hi Pete,

    Very cool collection. Thanks for sharing.

    Regarding the mattes shown for 'The Last Days of Patton', that is a real place in England. It's called Harlaxton Manor in Grantham, Lincolnshire, home of Harlaxton College, where I attended college years ago. The exterior and interior have been used for many other movies as well, including the remake of 'The Haunting'.


    Cheers,
    TWM

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  12. The still labelled "An unidentified and beautifully detailed classic era matte - possibly from RKO or Universal?" is from "Glorious Betsy" (Warner Brothers, 1928), with Dolores Costello and Conrad Nagel in the romantic clinch.

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  13. I'd like to comment on The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) supposed matte. Watch just after the two first arrive at the castle, about 30 minutes into it, or chapter 10. There is the long shot of the castle, but then watch how it takes on a matching 3rd dimension as the characters walk about the right edge of the main entrace. It looks so real.

    It kills me that I can't find the location of this castle. It might be a castle at Dolomites, Trentino - Alto Adige, Italy or Cortina d'Ampezzo, Belluno, Veneto, Italy.

    Do you believe this is all well-done production without real castle interiors or exteriors?

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