On Sale: November 11, 2016
Hardcover / e-Book
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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.
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