Friday, April 3, 2015

A. Arnold Gillespie

I'll admit I wouldn't have recognized the name of A. Arnold Gillespie. He handled photographic effects at MGM for decades, producing things like the tornado in the 1939 Judy Garland version of The Wizard of Oz. TCM is putting the spotlight on Gillespie this month as the Friday Night Spotlight includes a bunch of the films on which he handled the effects.

Presenting the spotlight will be a few more people I've never heard of, visual effects man Craig Baron and sound designer Ben Burtt, although according to the TCM press release both of them have a fairly impressive list of credits. The press release says they will be "Along with Ben Mankiewicz", which I presume means they're sitting on one of the sets in Atlanta to do the interviews. (Does Ben's hacienda-style set even have chairs or couches? I know he's done sit-downs before, though.)

This first Friday night in the spotlight includes four of Gillespie's movies from the 1930s:

First, at 8:00 PM, you can see the aforementioned tornado, and a lot more, in The Wizard of Oz.
Then, at 10:00 PM, Gillespie recreates the 1906 earthquake that hit San Francisco;
Johnny Weissmuller swings on vines in Tarzan and His Mate at 12:15 AM; and
Ther are all sorts of ocean effects in the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty at 2:15 AM.

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