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Subject: Article: Old-Fashioned Movie Effects

Written By: Hairspray on 06/26/02 at 11:14 a.m.

Old-Fashioned Effects

It’s hard to imagine a movie without computer-generated special effects. Computers made
dinosaurs come to life in “Jurassic Park.” Gary Sinise appeared handicapped in “Forrest
Gump” and the Titanic sank again.

But what about movies before computers dazzled our eyes with illusions? Bet you didn’t
know just how ingenious these effects were.

“The Ten Commandments” (1923):
Before Cecil B. DeMille directed Charlton Heston in the 1956 remake, this 1923 version
shows Moses parting a Red Sea made out of Jell-O.

“The Wizard of Oz” (1939): The tornado that whisked Dorothy some where over the
rainbow was really a 35-foot muslin stocking. Maybe Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt
would’ve had an easier time in “Twister” if they had been chasing stockings.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946): The snow falling in Frank Capra’s classic was made out
of foamite (a fire-fighting chemical), soap and water. The mixture was pumped through a
wind machine at a high pressure to create the effect of silent, falling snow, allowing Capra
to record sound live. Films before this used cornflakes painted white, which fell too
loudly, resulting in dialogue being dubbed in later.

“Psycho” (1960): Alfred Hitchcock used chocolate sauce for blood in this
black-and-white horror film.


CPU (Computer Power User) Magazine
International Movie Database (www.imdb.com)
“Special Effects: Titanic and Beyond” (www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/specialfx2)

Subject: Re: Article: Old-Fashioned Movie Effects

Written By: mrgazpacho on 06/26/02 at 06:12 p.m.

It's a *LOT* easier in Black and White  :)

Subject: Re: Article: Old-Fashioned Movie Effects

Written By: Hairspray on 06/26/02 at 06:13 p.m.

Nice to see a bit of interest here.  ;)

Subject: Re: Article: Old-Fashioned Movie Effects

Written By: MissInformation on 06/26/02 at 07:28 p.m.

I love the old science fiction movies where you can see the fishing line that holds up the little model space ships.  I just recently watched the old silent film Metropolis, and where I found it very amusing (yep, spent a lot of time laughing at the props and making up my own dialog), I was impressed with what they did with what they knew how to do.



Subject: Re: Article: Old-Fashioned Movie Effects

Written By: XenaKat13 on 06/27/02 at 09:12 a.m.

I love to watch the "special effects" on old movies, and try to figure out how they were done.  

For years, I thought the tornado in the "Wizard Of Oz" was a film of a real tornado projected on a background screen.

My daughter still think's it's a real one.