The Amazing Movie Show
Reviews, history, and background on Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy Films, and related media.

Tip of the Hat: Farciot Edouart (1894–1980)

Today marks the birth in 1894 of the one of the fathers of movie special effects, Farciot Edouart. Born in California, his father and grandfather were both photographers (something I can relate to) and he began his professional life in 1915 as a cameraman for Real Art Studios, which would eventually become part of Paramount Pictures.
After serving in the latter part of World War I as an Army photographer in the Signal Corps, he began his own photography business in 1921. The following year he joined Lasky Studios on the corner of Sunset and Vine, where he specialized in glass shots, by the mid 1920s they had been taken over by Paramount where he would eventually become Head of Special Effects.
Edouart pioneered the technique of rear projection (first used over at Fox on Just Imagine in 1931) which allowed more flexibility than glass shots and allowed actors to perform in front of a pre-photographed or artificial background. His main claim to fame is the creation of a triple head system, which overcame the faded look of most rear projection by using three projectors – one to the back and one at each side, their images reflected in mirrors – to intensify and deepen the background.
His use of this technique lead to an Oscar nomination for Doctor Cyclops (directed by King Kong producer Ernest B Schoedsack in 1940) in which Alfred Decker's Dr Thorkel reduces several fellow scientists and a servant to 14 inches tall - the film was shot in Technicolor, which required even more light density to achieve the effect than black and white photography.
Eventually winning 10 Oscars, he is best know for his process work with Cyclops collaborator Gordon Jennings on When Worlds Collide (1951) and The War of the Worlds (1953) and after Jennings untimely death in 1953, a run of science fiction movies including Conquest of Space (1955), The Space Children (1958), The Colossus of New York (1958), and Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964).
Hitchcock was a huge fan of the alternate reality afforded by process photography and engaged the special effects man on To Catch a Thief (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo (1958). Edouart also contributed to such effects landmarks as The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), The Ten Commandments (1956), and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), as well as classics like Sullivan's Travels (1941), The Lost Weekend (1945), and Sunset Boulevard (1950).
His final screen credit was for Rosemary's Baby (1968) and he retired in 1974. Farciot Edouart died in Kenwood, California on 17th March 1980.
Genre Credits
Alice in Wonderland (1933)
The Ghost Breakers (1940)
Doctor Cyclops (1940)
I Married a Witch (1942)
The Uninvited (1944)
When Worlds Collide (1951)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Scared Stiff (1953)
The Naked Jungle (1954)
Conquest of Space (1955)
The Space Children (1958)
The Colossus of New York (1958)
Visit to a Small Planet (1960)
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
Village of the Giants (1965)
Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad (1967)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)

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San Francisco, CA, United States
Born in the UK, a graphic designer and long-time film fanatic, Gareth has been working on his book: the Amazing Movie Show, for over 10 years.

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