How tall was King Kong?
August 10, 2013 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Matte Shot - A Tribute to Golden Era Special FX ...the inventiveness and ingenuity of the craft of the matte painter during Hollywood's Golden Era. Some of the shots will amaze in their grandeur and epic quality while others will surprise in their 'invisibility' to even the sophisticated viewer. I hope this collection will serve as an appreciation of the artform and both casual visitors and those with a specialist interest may benefit, enjoy and be amazed at skills largely unknown today.
posted by cenoxo (13 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This is so fantastic. This is There Goes the Rest of My Saturday kind of fantastic.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:24 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Three foot six!
posted by RobotHero at 3:33 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

I really can never get over how perfect that jungle in King Kong is. I don't know if it's mentioned (too distracted by the stills) but the dark foreground/light midground/washed out background is intentionally Pure Gustav Dore
posted by Brainy at 3:43 PM on August 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Three foot six!

Guess again: [King Kong stop-motion animator Marcel] Delgado in his later years with his old KONG armature.
posted by cenoxo at 3:56 PM on August 10, 2013

You mean The Stunt Man wasn't a documentary?
posted by RobotHero at 3:58 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Damn, beaten to "The Stunt Man" gag. What a terrible film it is too.
posted by marienbad at 4:41 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wait. Are we talking film Kong or FX Kong?

Point of order!

I move this question be stricken due to a lack of clarity!
posted by Samizdata at 5:20 PM on August 10, 2013

Wait... that's just ONE post. Holy shit...
posted by Artw at 5:26 PM on August 10, 2013

The sheer volume of production images that blog author NZPete has accumulated is impressive. I lost the vertical screen count (on my 22" monitor) at >100 with matte painter's Harrison Ellenshaw reveals all....(almost!) interview. If you're acrophobic, avoid the multitude of extreme POVs in A Matter of Perspective.

Peter explains how his obsession with movie SFX — and his fondness for matte paintings in particular — began in the blog's first post Why a matte shot blog???.
posted by cenoxo at 6:49 PM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

A bit of trivia...The footage of animated birds seen flying around on the long shots of Skull Island was re-used a few years later in another RKO production...Citizen Kane...In a shot presenting a party at Xanadu.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:16 PM on August 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

cenoxo: It's a quote from The Stunt Man.

What a terrible film it is too.

92%. Although I will take one of those reviews to heart: A wild, bizarre "B" movie gone mainstream.
posted by dhartung at 12:23 AM on August 11, 2013

Matte paintings were my first dream job. I was thrilled by them, and loved watching the sfx featurettes about them. I miss them, like I miss good stop motion animation, and incredibly detailed models.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:21 AM on August 11, 2013

It's a quote from The Stunt Man.

Oh yes — saw it years ago and greatly enjoyed Peter OToole as Eli Cross, the trickster director. Poor Cameron (Steve Railsback) never knew what was coming for him.

In film (which always bends or breaks reality), and in real life (which frequently exceeds fiction), it's often difficult to see the true scale of things.
posted by cenoxo at 5:43 AM on August 11, 2013

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