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If I Could Time Travel to Any Film Set, It Would Be . . .


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Not an original question but one that still fires the imagination of a lot of movie fans, I'm sure.

 

Just which film set would you like to visit the most? The massive Babylonian set of Intolerance to watch D. W. Griffith orchestrate his cast of thousands?

 

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Would it be to watch the Gone With the Wind fireworks taking place between producer David Selznick and his cast and crew?

 

How about the RKO set of Citizen Kane, with Orson Welles trying to work in mystery without the prying eyes of studio executives? Or would you rather watch Chaplin at work directing a film of his, or Laurel and Hardy in one of their little shorts at the Hal Roach studio?

 

How about going on location, with David Lean to the deserts for Lawrence of Arabia, or to Jackson Hole, Wyoming with George Stevens as he filmed Shane? How about joining John Huston and his film crew as they shot Treasure of Sierra Madre in Durango, Mexico?

 

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Maybe you just simply want to get close to a particular star in their prime. So there you are in the Aegean Sea watching Sophia Loren emerge from the waters in Boy on a Dolphin, or you're on the set of Creature of the Black Lagoon looking for Julia Adams in that immortal one piece white bathing suit. For the ladies perhaps you want to see Gable tangle with Harlow on the Red Dust set, or watch Ty Power or Robert Mitchum or Errol Flynn, or one of countless others.

 

Or maybe you want to go down to Mexico for that Viva Villa shoot, the one that got Lee Tracy fired for his less than gentlemanly behaviour. As vague as those Tracy stories are about what got him discharged from that production, now you'd know for sure exactly what happened.

 

Perhaps you'd rather be on the Some Like It Hot set, watching Lemmon and Curtis in drag (actually hearing what Curtis' real voice sounded like, too,  when in female attire), while Billy Wilder is tearing out whatever hair he has over Monroe's delays on the set.

 

Or perhaps your appeal would be more for a broken down factory setting of an Edward D. Wood production, with the bizarre experience watching the eccentric Wood (in drag?) direct a fragile, addicted Bela Lugosi with whom no one else would work at the time.

 

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The choice is your's. Just which film set would you like to visit if you could transport yourself back in time?

 

 

 

 

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ME?! Well, I think I'd like to travel back to the year 1951 and to a particular movie studio's sound stage in Culver City California, and so I could maybe get a MUCH closer inspection of Cyd's gams here, and just like our boy Gene here is gettin'...the lucky b*astard!!!

 

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;)

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Sure am glad you don't ask tough questions.  There are a thousand different sets any one of which I would be in 7th heaven to time travel to.  This is like looking at a table with a thousand different sizzling filet mignon steaks to choose from.  Guess I'd go to the splendor of the desert with David Lean and watch the incredible filming of Lawrence of Arabia for #1.  #2 would  be to watch the filming of Top Hat with Rogers and Astaire. 

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If I had to pick just one film set, I would probably go back to the Warners studio in December, 1937, to view a perfectionistic Michael Curtiz and fencing master Fred Cavens overseeing the choreography of the duel between Robin (Errol Flynn) and Sir Guy (Basil Rathbone) in The Adventures of Robin Hood.

 

Rathbone was a great fencer and Flynn got himself into top shape for this contest, with neither man being doubled in the duel (with the possible exception of that long shot with their shadows appearing on the castle columns). It would have been great to see these professionals pull together this classic action sequence.

 

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If I had to pick just one film set, I would probably go back to the Warners studio in December, 1937, to view a perfectionistic Michael Curtiz and fencing master Fred Cavens overseeing the choreography of the duel between Robin (Errol Flynn) and Sir Guy (Basil Rathbone) in The Adventures of Robin Hood.

 

Rathbone was a great fencer and Flynn got himself into top shape for this contest, with neither man being doubled in the duel (with the possible exception of that long shot with their shadows appearing on the castle columns). It would have been great to see these professionals pull together this classic action sequence.

 

 

 

I'm surprised you would chose the Robin Hood set over the Mark of Zorro set.   Both actual sets would be in color.  ;)

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The year, 1936. The set of MY MAN GODFREY.  I would be William Powell's stand in. I would sling Carole Lombard over my shoulder and carry her up the stairs to her room.  And I would gladly be his substitute for any other  scenes if needed. ;)

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Not an original question? It's a wonderful question, Tom.

 

Me, a floor sweeper. The year, 1930. The place, Radio Pictures. I would quietly sweep floors, very well, on all the sets of all the movies, until 1949.

 

Then I would retire. And smile until I died. :D

 

Oh yeah, and I'd take time out to go watch the Chrysler and Empire State buildings being built.

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The year, 1936. The set of MY MAN GODFREY.  I would be William Powell's stand in. I would sling Carole Lombard over my shoulder and carry her up the stairs to her room.  And I would gladly be his substitute for any other  scenes if needed. ;)

I just hope that when you're a Powell stand in on the Godfrey set, that it's not a Lombard stand in that you're slinging over your shoulder, mrroberts. :D

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ME?! Well, I think I'd like to travel back to the year 1951 and to a particular movie studio's sound stage in Culver City California, and so I could maybe get a MUCH closer inspection of Cyd's gams here, and just like our boy Gene here is gettin'...the lucky b*astard!!!

 

singin-in-the-rain-4.jpg

 

;)

Surprised you didn't want to visit an Ava Gardner set, Dargo. Mind you, with Cyd Charisse, you are picking someone who could pass as Gardner's sister.

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Surprised you didn't want to visit an Ava Gardner set, Dargo. Mind you, with Cyd Charisse, you are picking someone who could pass as Gardner's sister.

 

Soooo, YOU'VE noticed that TOO, have ya Tom?!!! ;)

 

'Cept Cyd kept herself in MUCH better trim in her later years.

 

(...I'll bet it was all that dancin', EH?!) 

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Time travel really needs to become a real thing.  Lol.  I have so many people to meet, people to charm and have rendezvouses with (never mind all the time travel "rules"); things to learn; events to see-- it would just be amazing.  For now though, I'll just have to settle for my imagination and fantasies.

 

Anyway...

 

I would also love to visit The Adventures of Robin Hood set like TomJH; just to see the duels and everything, although as jamesjazzguitar pointed out, the set would be in color already like in the film; so I wouldn't learn much there.  It'd be more about seeing the practicing and directing in action.

 

However, to pick something that hasn't already been chosen, I'd love to go to the set of The Sea Hawk with my boyfriend Errol Flynn and the amazing Claude Rains.  I don't know why this film wasn't in color-- it certainly should have been. The costumes in this film are gorgeous as is the scenery.  I'd love to see the shooting of this film; plus seeing Errol as a slave in the galley wasn't bad either ;-)

 

I also love Dargo's desire to go to the Singin' in the Rain set.  I'd love to watch Gene, Cyd, Donald and Debbie practice those dance routines.  The scene that Dargo posted of Gene and Cyd in the "Broadway Melody" number is my favorite routine in the whole film.  I love Cyd's costume.  She looks gorgeous and Gene doesn't look too bad himself.  I also really love the music in this scene. 

 

If time travel were a reality, I'd be pretty much satisfied going to almost any set.  I just love to learn and am fascinated by old Hollywood.  I would have been in heaven if I could have seen these people in action back in the day.

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I would also love to visit The Adventures of Robin Hood set like TomJH; just to see the duels and everything, although as jamesjazzguitar pointed out, the set would be in color already like in the film; so I wouldn't learn much there.  It'd be more about seeing the practicing and directing in action.

 

Speedracer, I suspect that if the word got around the Robin Hood set that there were TWO people there watching them who said they were from the future, it could prove to be a bit of a distraction for them.

 

Mike Curtiz would be yelling, "OUT! Get those crazy future kook bums out of here!"

 

Flynn might say, "Well, you might at least let the young lady stay for a while" only to cringe with the scream of "Fleen!" if wife Lili Damita, also visting the set that day, overheard him.

 

As for the fact that the RH set was obviously in colour, it would be interesting to see the more subdued real life colour in which the cast and crew worked, as opposed to the vibrant Technicolor version captured on film and DVD. You might also have a chance to see the technicians spray the leaves green in the Chico Park scenes that substituted for Sherwood Forest.

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Speedracer, I suspect that if the word got around the Robin Hood set that there were TWO people there watching them who said they were from the future, it could prove to be a bit of a distraction for them.

 

Mike Curtiz would be yelling, "OUT! Get those crazy future kook bums out of here!"

 

Flynn might say, "Well, you might at least let the young lady stay for a while" only to cringe with the scream of "Fleen!" if wife Lili Damita, also visting the set that day, overheard him.

 

As for the fact that the RH set was obviously in colour, it would be interesting to see the more subdued real life colour in which the cast and crew worked, as opposed to the vibrant Technicolor version captured on film and DVD. You might also have a chance to see the technicians spray the leaves green in the Chico Park scenes that substituted for Sherwood Forest.

 

Tom I wasn't only half-joking when I made that Mark of Zorro comment.   It was my understanding you felt that the Power \ Rathbone swordfight was just a little better than the Flynn \ Rathbone one.    Of course since the topic is the set, maybe you favor the old style English setting over the old style Mexican one.  

 

RH does have some great indoor and outdoor settings.    

 

My choice for indoors would be RH.    My choice for outdoors would be Out of the Past.

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Tom I wasn't only half-joking when I made that Mark of Zorro comment.   It was my understanding you felt that the Power \ Rathbone swordfight was just a little better than the Flynn \ Rathbone one.    Of course since the topic is the set, maybe you favor the old style English setting over the old style Mexican one.  

 

RH does have some great indoor and outdoor settings.    

 

My choice for indoors would be RH.    My choice for outdoors would be Out of the Past.

Well, James, the Robin Hood set would have been something to have been on. But I suspect that it would have been a largely different atmosphere, depending upon whether it was the early RH scenes shot in Chico Park, with a fairly easy going William Keighley as director, or those done in December, 1937 when the hot headed Mike Curtiz took over. I chose the latter because it might have been a wilder time, especially since the climactic duel was done under Curtiz.

 

What a set it would have been under either director, though, with all those personalities mingled together, the ebulliant Flynn, along with Rathbone, Olivia, Lili Damita visting the set (during the Chico Park days) keeping an eye on Olivia; not to mention the likes of Claude Rains, Alan Hale and Eugene Pallette.

 

As far as the duels are concerned, James, I never stated a preference between those in Robin Hood and Zorro. Because of the speed of the duel with foils in Zorro, I suspect it may have been the more technically challenging of the two to perform. Having said that, though, I also love the theatricality of the staging of the Robin Hood duel, as well, as it seems to take place through half of Nottingham Castle, as opposed to the confined quarters of Zorro's.

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Well, if I'm going back in time, I'm gonna try to change a.few career and life trajectories lol. One where this would not be the case:

 

I don't remember offhand which movie was being filmed, but it was starring W.C. Fields, and it was the late afternoon of March 10, 1933. I wish I was on the set, when it was rocked by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, heretofore known as the Long Beach earthquake of 1933, despite originating further south along the Newport-Inglewood Fault. Must've been pretty scary, with all the overhead lights, etc on the soundstage (there is extant footage of this), but at least much safer than being in a public school; many schools in the LA area sustained significant damage....it would have been a horrendous calamity had it happened during school hours. Thankfulky, much needed revisions to building codes resulted fron the death and destruction caused by this moderate quake.

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Candy (1968)!

 

Richard Burton, Ringo Starr, Marlon Brando, John Astin, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, John Huston, Anita Pallenberg - and the nubile Ewa Aulin herself!

 

All partying their a$$es off!

 

As Tina Fey used to say, "I want to go to there".

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Candy (1968)!

 

Richard Burton, Ringo Starr, Marlon Brando, John Astin, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, John Huston, Anita Pallenberg - and the nubile Ewa Aulin herself!

 

All partying their a$$es off!

 

As Tina Fey used to say, "I want to go to there".

 

Great choice and I now see that mine was kind of lame.  

 

I'm changing it to All Night Long the 1962 movie about jazz musicians.   To be on that set with all those jazz cats would be great.  Maybe I could even sit in for a few songs!  

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I don't remember offhand which movie was being filmed, but it was starring W.C. Fields, and it was the late afternoon of March 10, 1933. I wish I was on the set, when it was rocked by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, heretofore known as the Long Beach earthquake of 1933, despite originating further south along the Newport-Inglewood Fault. Must've been pretty scary, with all the overhead lights, etc on the soundstage (there is extant footage of this).

 

I believe that footage has been exposed as a hoax shot after the earthquake

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Well, if I'm going back in time, I'm gonna try to change a.few career and life trajectories lol. One where this would not be the case:

 

I don't remember offhand which movie was being filmed, but it was starring W.C. Fields, and it was the late afternoon of March 10, 1933. I wish I was on the set, when it was rocked by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, heretofore known as the Long Beach earthquake of 1933, despite originating further south along the Newport-Inglewood Fault. Must've been pretty scary, with all the overhead lights, etc on the soundstage (there is extant footage of this), but at least much safer than being in a public school; many schools in the LA area sustained significant damage....it would have been a horrendous calamity had it happened during school hours. Thankfulky, much needed revisions to building codes resulted fron the death and destruction caused by this moderate quake.

That earthquake was apparently when Fields and Franklin Pangborn were sharing a scene while making International House, Arturo. It would have been great for a time machine trip if only to report back to the present to let us know whether that existing footage of Fields during the quake is a hoax or not.

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Well, let's see. How about in late 1946/early 1947, on the set.of FOREVER AMBER. I would somehow tell star Linda.Darnell to.stand up to the bullying.Otto Preminger,.as.well.as.insist on more takes if she is not happy. I would advise her not to go back to her estranged husband, cameraman J.Peverell Marley, as.he would extract a.large.financial price to free her eventually. I would also warn her about Howard Hughes, and to try to not fall in love with future director of what would be two of her best films. I would warn her that her business manager was embezzling from her. Lastly, after.the filming of the Great London fire, in which she would get singed, I would warn her about staying with friends, even when times were tough, and stay at hotels always.

 

Of.course I would be present for take.after take of the scene where she is bathing in a barrel. And another bonus, I would.see.all of the other.scenes that would be deleted.from the final film.

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Speedracer, I suspect that if the word got around the Robin Hood set that there were TWO people there watching them who said they were from the future, it could prove to be a bit of a distraction for them.

 

Mike Curtiz would be yelling, "OUT! Get those crazy future kook bums out of here!"

 

 

I dunno, Tom. That sounds much too like standard English phraseology for Curtiz to have said something like that.

 

(...nope, I'm thinkin' he PROBABLY would have said somethin' more like: "Bring those future kook bums out of here! And keep them away from those empty horses over there too!") ;)

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