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158419.  Wed Mar 21, 2007 1:23 pm Reply with quote

Eisenstein Sergei, Film Director (directed, among other, Battleship Potyomkin" voted best ever film)

“More extras were killed in the frenzied re-make of the storming of the Winter Palace in Sergei “Eisenstein's October, 1917 (film), than in the actual tame handover of power to Lenin's Communists.”

Mark Almond, Lecturer in Modern History at Oriel College, Oxford University (BBC website, 21 September 2005)

By some estimates, only 3 people died during the actual storming of the Winter Palace in October (now November) 1917 (vv)

158454.  Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:18 pm Reply with quote

This is the film that's called "Ten Days That Shook the World" in America. Do we know how many of these extras died? IMDb says that 11,000 were involved, but doesn't mention any casualties.

It would seem to be easier to get this one under Extras. There's a myth about extras dying during the making of Ben Hur which would fit in if we can come up with some good stuff.

I may change the thread header in due course.

158482.  Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:25 pm Reply with quote

According to Snopes,there was a fatality during the filming of an earlier, silent version of Ben Hur, also produced by MGM and released in 1926 (this date varies with sources).

The set in Rome proved to be unsuitable due to problems with shadows and the racetrack surface. Francis X. Bushman (Mesalla) relates the following: "During one take, we went around the curve and the wheel broke on the other fellow's chariot. The hub hit the ground and the guy shot up in the air about thirty feet. I turned and saw him up there - it was like a slow-motion film. He fell on a pile of lumber and died of internal injuries." [Brownlow, 1969]

It was decided to give up the Rome location. Another set was built in Culver City and filled with both extras and the Hollywood elite on a festive Saturday in October. To ensure a good race, Eason offered a bonus to the winning driver. One spectacular unplanned pile-up was left in the final cut. 42 cameras were used that day, and a total of 50,000 feet of film was shot. The final, choreographed pile-up, in which Mesalla meets his end, was shot later, at the cost of five horses. No human was seriously injured in the US filming. Most film histories concentrate on this fact, and neglect the death in Rome.

158484.  Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:26 pm Reply with quote

And, of course, the gold-painted woman who didn't die of suffocation in the James Bond film.

158499.  Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:05 pm Reply with quote

We did something on how the character wouldn't have died of that, but is there a story about the actress doing so as well?

158577.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:01 am Reply with quote

And on a not entirely unrelated note, one of my favourite 'extra' footnotes:

In December 1976, the television program The Six Million Dollar Man was shooting an episode at California's Long Beach Pike amusement park when a crew member discovered a wax dummy hanging in a funhouse gallows. When he tried to move it, its arm broke off — it wasn't a dummy, but in fact a mummified human body. Stranger still, its mouth contained a 1924 penny and a ticket from the Museum of Crime in Los Angeles.

After much investigation, it turned out to be the body of Elmer McCurdy, an inept outlaw who had been killed in an Oklahoma gunfight in 1911. When no one claimed his body, an unscrupulous undertaker had embalmed it and charged a nickel to see "The Bandit Who Wouldn't Give Up," and for 60 years thereafter McCurdy's corpse was traded among wax museums, carnivals, and haunted houses.

Elmer was finally buried, fittingly, in the Boot Hill section of Oklahoma's Summit View Cemetery under two cubic yards of concrete. Ironically, his last words had been "You'll never take me alive!"

Much as I love a good pun, I am not going to mention the word 'corpsing'.

158582.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:36 am Reply with quote

Eisenstein based his montage theories on haiku.

His idea was that by a simple sequence of unrelated images, stories would be created through the active participation of the audience.

In a random example from Basho, a reader does all the 'running', creating a mysterious narrative from apparently disparate ingredients.

Sleep on horseback,
The far moon in a continuing dream,
Steam of roasting tea.

In Eisenstein's terms, this could be:

1 EXT NIGHT: A horse trudges along a ridge in the medium distance, a sagging figure in the saddle.

2 INT NIGHT: The full moon visible through an open window

3 INT NIGHT: Steam rises from tea

You get a lovely sense of someone coming home after a journey and someone else waiting lovingly for them - but not a word of this scene-setter is actually articulated.

I don't know if there's actually a name for this psychological phenomenon but it has to be the most 'invisible' filmic technique in history.

To make a poem
With just seventeen syllables
Is very diff

- Stephen Fry.

158583.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:36 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
We did something on how the character wouldn't have died of that, but is there a story about the actress doing so as well?

Good heavens, yes - for many years it was a well-known fact that the actress (I can’t remember her name - but it used to form part of the story) had died because they forgot to leave the legendary unpainted inch. In fact, as far as I can remember, the actress had retired, rather than died, though I dare say most theatre folk can’t tell the difference between the two.

These days, I suspect this comes into that small category of stories of which the debunking has become better known than the legend.

158598.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:58 am Reply with quote

Her name was Shirley Eaton, and I think I've posted before about her autographed underwear being auctioned in a sale of Bond memorabilia, even though the notes in the catalogue made it clear that this particular pair of drawers was not the pair in the film, they just looked similar.

158611.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:04 am Reply with quote

I see snopes has the story:

158853.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:13 am Reply with quote

I think a separate "Extras" topic is an excellent idea!


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