A book store where books are wrapped in paper with short descriptions so no one will ‘judge a book by it’s cover’ pic.twitter.com/EfOErVemom
“It was the possibility of doing a purely cinematic film. You have an immobilized man looking out. That’s one part of the film. The second part shows what he sees and the third part shows how he reacts. This is actually the purest expression of a cinematic idea.” —Alfred Hitchcock
Revisiting one of my regular lectures when I’m teaching: HITCHCOCK AND THE PATTERNS OF VERTIGO:
“Hitchcock said, “You can do anything you want with montage. Cinema is simply pieces of film put together in a manner that creates ideas and emotions.” VERTIGO is an amazing piece of work in terms of how little the dialogue matters to one’s experience of the film. Actually much of the dialogue feels dated, and more than a little ham-fisted (on the most superficial level, the plot is ridiculous), but the impact of the film’s visuals doesn’t feel dated at all. The power of seeing Kim Novak as Madeleine, moving across a room towards James Stewart, three different times in the film, on exactly the same axis, in exactly the same framing, creates an enormously potent motif that reinforces its themes. She’s presented over and over to the viewer in a manner that reinforces the character Scottie’s first and enduring experience of her, and the moment is always treated as dream-like. ”
Dick Smith, the renowned “Godfather of Makeup,” has died aged 92. As Rick Baker said so well, “there’s never going to be another Dick Smith. Dick is, without a doubt, the greatest makeup artist who’s ever going to live.”
Within the embedded player below, you will find a rare documentary about legendary makeup artist Dick Smith featuring an interesting tour in his underground basement at his home that was turned into secret makeup lab. In this early interview, Mr. Smith talks about the achievements, techniques and procedures that he practiced to reach his notable old age makeup on Dustin Hoffman for Little Big Man (1970).
Without Dick Smith, I would not be making movies. He was my mentor. The first time I came into contact with him was as a child. When The Exorcist came out, I bought his makeup kit in a toy store. It came with gelatin and molds and colors, and I did my own makeup effects at a very young age. It wasn’t until later that I actually wrote to Dick, explaining to him how much I needed to take his makeup-effects course because no one in Mexico was going to help me do effects for my first feature, Cronos. I said, “I cannot afford an American makeup effects artist. I have to sculpt, paint, design — I have to do everything myself!”
I finally met him in about 1987. I applied for the course and we met in New York. And he greeted me like he had known me for decades, he was so incredibly open and nice. He had dinner with my father and my mother and me and my wife, who was then my girlfriend. Dick came to be like part of my family. He was a guy that changed the way I see the art of making movies. He wanted to spread the gospel, the knowledge, amongst colleagues and amongst anyone who was interested in learning. Dick had a way of welcoming anyone new without prejudice or snobbery.
To this day, many of the principles that he taught me, I still apply to my own creations. Dick always said, “strive for realism.” So don’t strive to make a monster a monster. Don’t do an old-age makeup that is an old-age makeup. Try to actually create the face of an old man, a real old man, which is what he did with Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man and F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus. Don’t go for the effect; go for the reality. And that’s as true for a monster as it is for a piece of delicate prosthetic makeup. He also told me never to sculpt an expression into a piece of prosthetic. Many artists sculpt something that is already angry or screaming, and they exaggerate the facial lines of expression. He said not to do that, but rather to always sculpt the face in repose. That way you could let the actor imbue the prosthetic with his own character.
Sometimes I would go to New York and I would take a commuter train to Larchmont and spend the day with him. We’d be together the entire day, from morning, through lunch, until dinner, and then I would take the train back to Manhattan. We talked so much. And we wrote each other often. I have dozen and dozens of letters, from over the years, in which he would respond to every one of my photographs and drawings telling me what was wrong and what was right, so that I could continue learning. And that was a gift. He was willing to talk to anyone who wanted to know more about his craft. He changed not only my life, but the lives of hundreds of artists. —Guillermo del Toro on Movie Makeup Artist Dick Smith, His Friend and Mentor by Gilbert Cruz
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It seems that we are losing so many artisan giants.