Saturday, December 8, 2012

On the set of Oliver W Scott's Yellow Brick (1986).

So I just got my copy of the Yellow Brick collector's edition bluray, and I thought I would share some of the behind the scenes-material! I just love this film, I think it’s one of the best depictions ever of the Oz-American war in cinema, and Oliver W Scott’s best film, period (Yellow Brick is the second film in his "Oz-trilogy"). Much of this is quoted from the booklet.

Scott based much of the film on his own experiences in Oz 1968-70, but the tale of a band of soldiers fighting their way towards an Emerald City under siege, slowly slipping into paranoia and conflict, is larger than the story of one person.

(Sidenote: I guess the aluminium cover on the bluray makes it more “exclusive”, but I’m a fan of the original poster (above) and I kinda hoped they would have used it more in the design...)

Michael Walker in the makeup chair. “Staff Sergeant Bradley was a very interesting character to play”, says Walker. “For one, the war has taken his head and he’s had to replace it. I actually talked quite a bit with Oz vets who'd had similar experiences, and they were very helpful when I was trying to figure this man out.” “He’s a hero, really. Maybe the only real hero in a war without heroes.”

Set designer Tony Scarpa and members of the construction crew working on the Emerald City miniatures. The movie people recruited some workers from Yg Country, a small kingdom in the “allegory belt” along the Pantomimic River. These guys seem to be the perfect size for working with miniatures, but Ygs also have an unusual social structure; thousands of kings and queens govern a single worker called the People. The People is considered unwashed and uneducated, and things are often his fault entirely. He doesn’t know what’s best for him and should be kept in his place.

The People of Yg rebelled in 1993, giving the People the right to vote, and creating the People’s Republic of Yg. Its constitution says that it’s a nation ruled “not by kings and queens, but by the People”. Pretty standard allegory belt politics, apparently.

Star John Crush getting familiar with the paper dogs from the escape attempt scene, supervised by animal wrangler Rachel Gold. The dogs were folded by a specialist kennel in the Emerald City metropolitan area. Apparently, the Free Munchkinland Army only folded their dogs from “coarse, angry paper”, so the movie dogs had to be roughed up a bit (e.g. by spilling coffee on them) before they appeared in the film.

Even though these particular dogs couldn’t speak, Yellow Brick was the first film ever to include the disclaimer
No Animals, Talking Animals, Sentient Objects or Objects with Animal-Like Intelligence Were Harmed in the Making of This Motion Picture”.

John Crush running through a scene with director Oliver W Scott on the Tired Tiger set. The Tired Tiger skirmish is a key sequence, and the production team made several photography trips to the actual Tired Tiger National Park in southeastern Gillikin Country. The original plan was to shoot the scenes at the real Tiger, but all the jungle locations eventually ended up being filmed along the Munchkin River.

Now go rewatch Yellow Brick!

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