The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop

December 24, 2019 - Comment

The definitive behind-the-scenes history of one of Hollywood’s most closely guarded cinematic secrets finally revealed—painted backdrops and the scenic artists who brought them to the big screen.In almost every feature film of Hollywood’s golden age, from The Wizard of Oz to North by Northwest to Cleopatra to The Sound of Music, painted backings have convinced

The definitive behind-the-scenes history of one of Hollywood’s most closely guarded cinematic secrets finally revealed—painted backdrops and the scenic artists who brought them to the big screen.

In almost every feature film of Hollywood’s golden age, from The Wizard of Oz to North by Northwest to Cleopatra to The Sound of Music, painted backings have convinced moviegoers that what they are seeing—whether the fantastic roads of Oz, the presidents of Mount Rushmore, or ancient Egyptian kingdoms—is absolutely real. These backings are at once intended to transport the audience and yet remain unseen for what they really are. The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop reveals the hidden world and creators of these masterpieces, long-guarded as a special effects secret by the major studios such as MGM, Warner Brothers, Universal, Columbia, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount.

Despite the continued use of hand-painted backings in today’s films, including the big-budget Interstellar and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events among many others, digital technology is beginning to supplant the art form. In an effort to preserve the irreplaceable knowledge of scenic masters, Karen Maness and Richard Isackes, in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild, have compiled a definitive history of the craft, complete with interviews of the surviving artists. This is a rich undiscovered history—a history replete with competing art departments, dynastic scenic families, and origins stretching back to the films of Méliès, Edison, Sennett, Chaplin, and Fairbanks.

Filled cover to cover with over 300 images,The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop is beautifully packaged as a hardcover book with slipcase.
 

Product Features

  • REGAN ARTS

Comments

Anonymous says:

An Incredible Book for the Unsung Heros of the Early Movie Field Just got this beautiful book yesterday, and loved paging through the pictures and seeing not only my father but his friends and cronies. I would like the authors to know that Duncan was color blind, and that is why he was so good with black and white, and he used values, he memorized the values of the colors to know where they went and how he used them. In later years he would call in mom or me to evaluate the color for the “right value”, I learned so much from him and miss him…

Anonymous says:

Beautiful reproductions of backdrops used in Hollywood films and background on the artists that painted them. Terrific coffee table book that covers the art of the Hollywood backdrop, this book gives us large photos of the backdrops, blown up frames from the films that some of the best are featured in (from the 50’s through today). The book also provides info on some of the artists that created these backdrops.Hollywood back in the day would often use backdrops for close up shots, cut always or to create n the studio a duplicate of the environment that we might see on location. Much of that…

Anonymous says:

Beautiful Book- BUT be sure to make page layout is correct. Working as an art director and having recently layout a large backdrop that is currently being painted at Steiner Studios in NYC I was very excited for this book to arrive. The book is beautifully printed in a beautiful slip cover and full of amazing information. At first I was disappointed because the page layout was all messed up. After page 140 it jumps back and repeats pages 137-140…it then jumps to page 149 (missing pages 141-148) goes to page 152… and once again jumps back and…

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