It shocks people to know that The Wizard of Oz is actually a remake of hundreds of other “wizards of oz.” It was adapted from a theater production, starring Fred Stone. Ray Bolger was set to play the Tin man, but decided he wanted to play the Scarecrow after his idol Stone, so he switched the role with Buddy Ebsen. The Tin man costume was made out of aluminum, which Ebsen was allergic to and ended up almost suffocating him, so he was rushed to the hospital while his role now became Jack Haley’s. Haley wasn’t told why Ebsen had to leave but the costume was changed to aluminum paste. And after all this humility (since Ebsen had said it was the most humiliating moment of his life), Ebsen’s vocal are still in the movie- he sings most of the songs, while Haley sings “If only I had a Heart.” Also, known as one of the early color movies (not the first), the producers had a tough time switching from sepia to color, so the producers had a double for Judy Garland, who would wear the same dress Garland was wearing, only painted over in sepia. In other words, the camera was always filming in color; it’s just that the sepia scenes were actually the sets painted sepia. Also, both the double (who was painted over in sepia) and Garland had to wear a corset so they would look younger and flat-chested. Many of the winged monkey actors fell several feet to the ground, suffering injuries due to the piano wires holding them up snapping. Toto also received more pay and benefits than the munchkins on set- when the dog was stepped on, it had a two week vacation and a double was brought in, while the munchkins were almost set on fire due to the fireworks in the celebration scene. Jerry Maren was the led munchkin, and he told the press that the munchkins were paid $50 for a 6 day week while Toto was paid $125 per week. Each day was 16 hours long and there were many lights around on set, causing the set to go upwards of 100 degrees at times. There is even a rumor that a munchkin hanged himself while the “We’re off to see the Wizard” scene played on, but people say it was just a bird stretching. .. .
4. The Birds
One of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous films, The Birds features the taking over of a town by birds, and the injuring of actress Tippi Hedren. Remember, the movie was made in the 60s, so there weren’t any seemingly real CGI effects we know today- there were real birds used in the film. In fact, during many scenes, the actors were basically told to fend for themselves when fighting off the birds, and Hedren was actually tied to real birds. Hedren was cut in the face by a bird while filming the bedroom scene (in the movie, there is no music), which took a week to film. Hedren was even quoted saying it was, “the worst week of my life.” For fear of her emotion and physical safety, filming was delayed a full week, much to Hitchcock’s dismay. Rod Taylor (the guy who played Mitch) even said that in order to get the seagulls to stand and get cranky, they were fed wheat and whiskey. The scene where the school children run away from the crows was shot with the school children running on a treadmill with a projection behind them. They were attacked by actual birds and hand puppets. Apparently, when kids are running away from birds on a treadmill, they fall, causing the children to fall behind them as well. The scene itself took a few days to film, and when you know how it was made, it’s fun looking at the “prehistoric CGI effects.” But it cannot be mistaken that Hitchcock did have a sense of humor. Once Hedren asked, “Hitch, why would I do this?” Hitchcock responded, “Because I tell you to.” Avoiding spoilers, a certain character dies, and the actor thought it would look gruesome if the ear were dangling. After hours of makeup, Hitchcock had the actor stand the other way, making the ear makeup useless, since the audience couldn’t see it. The actor later said this, “was part of his delicious sense of humor.”
Just like Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick had to get every detail straight. But it was to an extreme, and most of the time, Kubrick would just end out being annoying. For starters, Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut received a Guinness World Record Award for The Longest Constant Movie shoot, lasting 400 days. Two of those days were used to film Sydney Pollack opening a door. Kubrick’s notorious reputation to take long film shoots was well known to Pollack, who asked Kubrick how he should open the door. Kubrick responded, “I don’t know, you decide.” It took two days for Pollack to say that he was satisfied with the door opening, in which Kubrick then responded, “I wondered how much longer it would take you.” While filming The Shining, Kubrick would call Stephan King at 3 in the morning and ask him odd questions like if he believed in God and such. The first time Kubrick called King about the making of the adaptation, King believed it to be a prank, and then Kubrick rambled on about how ghost stories were actually optimistic because they implied humans lived after death. King asked if Kubrick believed the same about afterlife in Hell and Kubrick paused to reply, “I don’t believe in Hell.” Shelley Duvall stated that for each scene, there would between 30-50 rehearsals before the final product was filmed. Kubrick received another Guinness World Record for the most takes of a single scene- although the number of times is debated. It took a year just for blood to spill correctly from the elevator doors, since Kubrick would always state the blood looked fake.
2. The Abyss.
Yes, James Cameron’s first water film before the Titanic, the film revolves around actual actors (not stuntmen) holding their breath underwater for loooonnnng periods of time. All the cast members had to take diving lessons and become certified divers before filming and would usually be forced to decompress before resurfacing. The set itself was filled with 7 million gallons filling a 40 foot deep tank at a nuclear reactor plant in South Carolina, and although it was 40 feet deep, it was still too bright enough to be actually deep underwater that tiny black beads were spread across the surface to make it seem darker. This worked for a while until a storm came that blew away the beads, resulting in the scenes being filmed at night. Cameron’s brother, Mike, played that dead crewman in the sub, and was told to hold his breath and let a crab crawl out of his mouth at the same time. Ed Harris randomly started crying in his car and had to pullover, while Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio suffered physical and emotional abuse. Real ammo was used in the film, and there was a lot of chlorine in the water, causing the actors hair to turn green and sometimes white. Many scenes with Mastrantonio caused her to rush off set due to the emotional toll it had on her, and she even had to redo the resuscitation scene since the camera ran out of tape. Harris almost drowned- since he had to hold his breath at the deep bottom of the set, he signaled for air, but the safety diver got caught on a wire. Another safety diver came and gave him an upside down regulator, causing Harris to suck in more water. The camera man later placed the regulator right side up, and at the end of filming that scene, Harris broke down and cried. The good thing- that rat that was put into that breathable liquid (which is real) survived, as did 4 other test rats. The rats later died of natural causes.
If you haven’t seen this movie, drop all things right now and watch it. Everyone admits that anyone associated with the movie had temporarily gone insane. (Just one minute in the interview and they talk about how insanity was expected). First off, everyone was to defend for themselves. George Lucas was originally supposed to co-direct with Francis Ford Coppola, but had to drop out due to Star Wars IV: A New Hope. (Although Lucas wanted to make it a fake documentary on Vietnam). Francis Ford Coppola decided that Marlon Brando was great in The Godfather so he might be just as great in Apocalypse Now. He was shocked to find out that Brando had put on over 100 pounds since the last time they saw each other, and that Brando had not read the script nor the book it’s based on (Heart of Darkness). Coppola decided to ask other actors, but they all turned the movie down, and so Coppola made an agreement with Brando to pay him $1 million in advance and to film Brando in the shadows so people would not notice his. . .gut. Brando would show up drunk to set and throw coconuts at Coppola- who threatened suicide numerous times. During filming, Martin Sheen (yes, Charlie Sheen’s dad) even had a heart attack, and Coppola told the producers it was heat exhaustion, fearing that the movie might be shut down. Sam Bottoms (the actor who played Lance Johnson, the soldier who was supposed to be taking acid and LSD in the movie) actually was taking LSD and acid in real life. In all, this is the “most insanest” movie ever made- taking 16 months to film, 3 years to produce, and all during an actual war, since the movie was shot on location, in the Philippines and Vietnam. In fact, a typhoon destroyed most of the set and some helicopters, causing 2 month delays.