Friday, 29 April 2011

ROYALLY DIVERTING

As a momentary escape from today's regal junketings, here's a scene from another Royal Wedding: the 1951 MGM musical comedy of that name starring Fred Astaire and Jane Powell as brother-and-sister dance act, Tom and Ellen Bowen.

The film is set in London in 1947 at the time of the wedding of Prince William's grandmother (then Princess Elizabeth) to Prince Philip.

Astaire's character falls in love with English dancer, Ann Ashmond (Sarah Churchill), and he is so swept off his feet that he can dance up the walls and across the ceiling to Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner's song, 'You're All the World to Me'...



The choreography was the work of Nick Castle in collaboration with Astaire and the number was filmed by building the room set inside a revolving steel barrel and mounting the camera and operator to the floor so they would rotate along with the room.

Here, courtesy of Galen Fott of BigFott Studios is his is how this wondrous piece of screen magic was created...



The same technique would later be used to create the zero gravity environment in 2001: A Space Odyssey and, more recently, the rotating hotel corridor and room in Christopher Nolan's 2010 picture, Inception.

When you've viewed this remarkable sequence, take a peek at the way it was done...



Now, back to today's big event...

HAPPY NUPTIALS, WILL AND KATE!

3 comments:

Galen Fott said...

I'm honored, Mr. Sibley!

And great to see that behind the scenes stuff from Inception. Oh, for even a STILL from the shooting of Astaire's dance! I asked Leonard Maltin if he'd ever seen any behind the scenes documentation from that number, and he said no. I'm guessing there was a desire to not spoil the secret, and so it was "no cameras allowed" on the set. (Other than the rotating one, of course!)

The Inception stuff confirmed what I've imagined, which is how HUGE the barrel must have been that contained Astaire's rotating room. I recently found an interview where Astaire says it was controlled electronically, by a guy pushing buttons.

Delighted you felt my clip helped provide a glimpse "behind the scenes"!

Brian Sibley said...

Galen! I didn't realise it was your handiwork! But I do now, and have added a link! Thanks for additional tid-bit of information. Fascinating to think what it must have been like to watch it being filmed. It remains, for me, a piece of pure screen magic!

By the way, I loved your animation reels and hope lots of people follow that link and share my enjoyment.

Galen Fott said...

Thanks Brian, and thanks for the links too!