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Unsung Heroes: Gordon Willis, “Prince Of Darkness”

Gordon Willis (now retired) was one of the leading cinematographers to emerge from Hollywood’s new wave of the 1970’s and shake up the old system. Belatedly recognised with a lifetime achievement Academy award in 2009, it is a crime that, out of the 11 Oscar nominations for The Godfather (of which three were won) his […]

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Unsung Heroes: Margaret Sixel And 480 Hours of Mad Max: Fury Road Footage

Hats off to Margaret Sixel, the South African born editor of Mad Max: Fury Road. Up to that point, George Miller’s long-term editing partner (and also his wife) had never edited an action film before. And now she’s turned in the adrenalin main-lining film with surprising characterisation and depth, all told on the move in […]

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Unsung Heroes: The men Beneath The Alien Costume

Two images defined both the biomechanical and graceful look of the final stage in the life cycle of Ridley Scott’s Alien – HR Giger’s 1976 painting Necronom IV,and Leni Riefenstahl’s photograph of a two metre tall, rail thin, Nubian warrior. To achieve the look he wanted, Ridley reluctantly accepted he needed a man in a […]

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Unsung heroes: Drew Struzan, The Name On The Poster

Remember when a poster really sold the promise of a good time at the movies? When that one sheet of an iconic character, maybe even one you hadn’t got to know yet, but just knew looked intriguing, could get your heart racing? Chances are it was painted by the Don of movie poster artists, Drew […]

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Unsung Heroes: Pat Roach

The term “gentle giant” is often a cliche only because it is true. And it very much applied to 6ft 5in Pat “Bomber” Roach: Birmingham born gentleman of the wrestling ring, writer, and also actor / stunt performer, who played many heavies in genre films. This in contrast to his  cornerstone role as the sensible […]

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Unsung Heroes: Silent Running’s Drones

After the success of Easy Rider in 1972, Universal Studios gave five first time directors a shot to make their first full length feature on $1 million dollars, with complete creative control. Douglas Trumbull, after a fruitful collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey, chose to write and direct another science fiction film. Only rather than […]

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Unsung Heroes: Gerald Home, Return Of The Jedi’s Man Beneath the Masks

This month’s Unsung Hero played not one, but two alien background characters in Return Of The Jedi, yet is probably even more well known to the general public for an iconic advertising role, which we’ll get to later. I’m talking about Gerald Home. Belfast born Gerald Home moved to Australia at age 16, later attending […]

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Unsung Heroes: Karen Ballard, On-Set Photographer

Below we have reproduced a 2006 article from The Digital Journalist by Karen Ballard, a photojournalist who first got into on-set photography on Steven Spielberg’s Munich. It’s a fascinating insight into this underappreciated role. Photographing “Munich” by Karen Ballard My first trip to a movie set was in 1975. I was six years old and my […]

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Unsung Heroes: Stan Winston’s Jurassic Park Creature Effect Workshop

Even after nineteen years, many people think that the dinosaurs of the Jurassic Park films are solely CGI creations, ushering in a new dawn and signalling the death knell of old school movie effects magic.  They are wrong, of course. If anything, it is the outstanding animatronic creature performances of practical effects and make-up genius […]

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Unsung Heroes: Roger Deakins

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride – once again, and for an incredible tenth time, Roger Deakins has been nominated by The Academy  Of Motion Picture Arts for best Cinematography (for Skyfall) and failed to take home a little gold fella. Just who does he have to f**k in Tinseltown to be recognised for his incredible body of […]

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