By James Curtis
He was once the consummate dressmaker of movie structure on a grand scale, inspired by way of German expressionism and the paintings of the nice eu administrators. He used to be identified for his visible aptitude and undying innovation, a guy who meticulously preplanned the colour and layout of every movie via a chain of continuity sketches that made transparent digital camera angles, lighting fixtures, and the actors’ positions for every scene, translating dramatic conventions of the degree to the hot functions of movie.
this is the long-awaited e-book on William Cameron Menzies, Hollywood’s first and maximum creation dressmaker, a role name David O. Selznick invented for Menzies’ remarkable, all-encompassing, Academy Award–winning paintings on Gone With the Wind (which he successfully co-directed).
It used to be Menzies—winner of the first-ever Academy Award for paintings course, together for The Dove (1927) and Tempest (1928), and who was once to boot a director (fourteen photographs) and a manufacturer (twelve pictures)—who replaced the best way video clips have been (and nonetheless are) made, in a occupation that spanned 4 a long time, from the Nineteen Twenties throughout the Nineteen Fifties. His greater than a hundred and twenty motion pictures contain Rosita (1923), Things to Come (1936), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Kings Row (1942), Mr. Lucky (1943), The satisfaction of the Yankees (1943), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Address Unknown (1944), It’s a superb Life (1947), Invaders from Mars (1953), and Around the realm in eighty Days (1956).
Now, James Curtis, acclaimed movie historian and biographer, writes of Menzies’ existence and paintings because the so much influential dressmaker within the background of movie. His artistry encompassed the big, scenic drawings of Douglas Fairbanks’ The Thief of Bagdad (1924), which created a brand new usual for attractiveness at the display and whose unique fairy-tale units are nonetheless considered as natural genius. (“I observed The Thief of Bagdad whilst it first got here out,” acknowledged Orson Welles—he was once, on the time, a nine-year-old boy. “I’ll always remember it.”) Curtis writes of Menzies’ layout and supervision of John Barrymore’s liked Rogue (1927), a movie that is still a masterpiece of craft and synthesis, essentially the most specific photos to emerge from Hollywood’s waning days of silent motion pictures, and of his impressive, opulent appointments for Gone With the Wind (1939).
It was once Menzies who outlined and solidified the position of artwork director as having total keep an eye on of the glance of the movie, taking part with manufacturers like David O. Selznick and Samuel Goldwyn; with administrators equivalent to D. W. Griffith, Raoul Walsh, Alfred Hitchcock, Lewis Milestone, and Frank Capra. And with actors as diverse as Ingrid Bergman, W. C. Fields, Cary furnish, Clark Gable, John Barrymore, Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, Vivien Leigh, Carole Lombard, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, and David Niven.
Interviewing colleagues, actors, administrators, buddies, and relations, and with complete entry to the William Cameron Menzies kin selection of unique paintings, correspondence, scrapbooks, and unpublished writing, Curtis brilliantly offers us the path-finding paintings of the films’ such a lot bold and dynamic creation clothier: his evolution as artist, artwork director, construction clothier, and director. here's a portrait of a guy in his time that makes transparent how the films have been without end reworked by way of his startling, visionary work.
(With sixteen pages of colour illustrations, and black-and-white images throughout.)
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Extra resources for William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come
It used to be Norton who discouraged a Walt Disney model of Alice as the complete movie, with the only exception of Mary Pickford, will be lively. Fox movie, at Colonel Joy’s instigation, reflected a dwell motion photograph, as did common. Mrs. Norton, a onetime Broadway actress and now her husband’s supervisor, took the proposition to Paramount, eventually settling the rights on the cinematic domestic of Ernst Lubitsch and the 4 Marx Brothers. on the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, Menzies, director Norman Z. McLeod, and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz learn printer George Dalziel’s reproduction of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. (ACADEMY OF movie ARTS AND SCIENCES) In June 1933, the studio introduced a global look for the woman to play Alice. in the meantime, employees author Joseph L. Mankiewicz was once given the duty of constructing a therapy. Mankiewicz, in his first convention with creation head Emanuel L. Cohen, requested Cohen which booklet he desired to make “because you can’t do them either in a single movie. ” Cohen spoke back, “We personal them either. We’re going to do them either. ” Mankiewicz used to be already at paintings on a conflation of the 2 books whilst Norman Z. McLeod used to be chosen as director of Alice in Wonderland. A former cartoonist and veteran of ten good points, McLeod appeared an encouraged selection for the absurdist international of Lewis Carroll. It was once, actually, McLeod who observed the necessity for Menzies on any such picture—and for greater than simply “trick sequences” (as one alternate paper erroneously reported). Menzies had staged the “Alice” section for Puttin’ at the Ritz utilizing papier-mâché mask to copy the unique personality designs of Sir John Tenniel. With the concurrence of affiliate manufacturer Louis D. “Bud” Lighton, it was once agreed that Tenniel’s illustrations will be used as a foundation all through. As Mankiewicz labored forward on his situation, Menzies all started illustrating the movie, cause upon constructing a hybrid kind of script that included discussion, technical instructions, and motion inside of a completely visualized continuity. “[The] suggestion has been urged a number of occasions by way of artists as a potential economic climate step,” kind suggested. “It by no means reached first base, although, with the studios not able to get the artists and administrators to determine each one other’s facet of the argument. ” operating with pencil on yellow scrap paper, Menzies could make a freehand border and tough within the shot, rigorously printing out the motion and any technical notations in his personal specific hand. In combining the 2 books, protecting to the Carroll textual content, and protecting the glance of the characters actual to the originals, the undertaking got here as regards to embracing the conventions of the Le Gallienne creation. in addition, the actress have been adamant that her Alice not only be for kids, as prior variations have been: “The tale as Carroll wrote it's loved as a lot, if no more, via adults than it really is through little ones, and that’s what we suggest the play to be. ” For the filmmakers, this translated into seeding the forged with as many huge names as attainable, developing for the adults a type of guessing video game of who precisely was once impersonating whom.