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Smoke and Mirrors: Special Visual Effects B.C. (Before Computers) Book


  • Catalog #: 14BS237
  • Theme #1: Attack Of The 50 Foot Drive-Ins
  • Theme #2: Ray Harryhausen
  • Theme #3: Hammer Films

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Smoke and Mirrors: Special Visual Effects B.C. (Before Computers) Book:

Visit The Twilight Zone, journey to The Outer Limits, experience 2001: A Space Odyssey, and boldly go on a Star Trek! See how motion picture special effects were created “B.C.”—Before Computers!

From Lon Chaney to Ray Harryhausen, from Georges Mèliés to George Lucas, meet the magicians— many of whom never received screen credit—who conjured up everything from ferocious dinosaurs battling a giant ape in King Kong to sinking the Titanic and shaking up Los Angeles in Earthquake. They brought Frankenstein to life, introduced generations to the beloved Wizard of Oz, and during World War II gave audiences a taste of warfare in films like The Flying Tigers. In the 1950s they helped us survive a War of the Worlds and took audiences along on Captain Ahab’s hunt for Moby Dick. Even the Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy needed their services to shoot wild “gags” safely.

Hundreds of rare, unpublished behind-the-scenes photos from classic, Oscar®-winners—and obscure productions—reveal the tricks of the trade: miniatures, matte paintings, makeup effects, special props, mechanicals, animatronics, stop-motion—and much more!

Mark Wolf wrote a series of ground-breaking articles on the art and history of special visual effects for Cinefantastique, American Cinematographer, Cinema Journal, and FXRH. He then moved to Los Angeles and worked on educational films for Triad FX. Wolf later founded Wizard Works, providing visual effects, custom props and stop-motion for Roger Corman (The Nest), Mel Brooks (Spaceballs), Francis Ford Coppola (Captain EO), William Friedkin (C.A.T. Squad), Ron Shusett (Total Recall), and others. Wolf earned his Producer’s stripes on the cult classic Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity. Soon, Roger Corman invited him to produce genre pictures for New Horizons/Concorde and Wolf contributed to Isaac Asimov’s Nightfall, Slumber Party Massacre, and many others. Later, Wolf was active with independents such as Cannon, Vestron, Trimark, 21st Century, and Ulysse Entertainment.

The book's chapters include images from Universal, Hammer, AIP, 007, George Pal, Willis O'Brien  Ray Harryhausen and many, many others.

Richard Klemensen, editor/publisher of the internationally-respected Little Shoppe of Horrors magazine wrote:

"Mark Wolf's Smoke and Mirrors: Special Visual Effects B.C. (Before Computers) is the finest book, ever, on the whole history of 'Real/Reel' FX. Over 270 pages filled with incredible behind-the-scenes info and images you could only imagine you'd ever be able to see. Doesn't get any better than this!"

John Walsh, acclaimed filmmaker, author and trustee of The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation, had this to say:

"I, for one, like to know how special effects artists achieved their magic. The complex and thought-provoking alchemy of these unsung heroes of cinema has created the landscapes of our dreams and nightmares for years. There have been special effects books before, but rarely has one been written by a participant in the magic. Mark Wolf's wonderful new book, SMOKE AND MIRRORS: SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS B.C. (Before Computers), is a fascinating read about the secrets of pre-CGI Hollywood and is full of never before seen images and illuminating facts about the hard work put into the worlds of make-believe. I hope there will be more from Mark and urge you to add this volume to your library."

  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.5 x 0.64 x 11 inches
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