Miscellaneous Movie Notes

Just some randomly sorted observations which didn't fit in anywhere else.

The Fountain

The fountain in the town square was made mostly of foam rubber. It cost $5,000 to have fabricated. The last I saw it (in 1997) it was still being shoved out of the way in the same town (set) in rather poor shape. It had been abandoned.

Sgt. Cantrell Being Shot Through the Head

Herod finishes off Sgt. Cantrell with typical Raimi-esque cartoonishness. He blows a hole in his head you can see through. Here's how it was done:

They used a torso-up dummy with a hollowed-out head. A piece was cut out of the back of the head, then attached to fishing line and replaced. A small charge was set inside the head along with some "debris". Gene Hackman's gun was rigged like a remote control to detonate the charge when he fired. A technician with good reflexes handled an actual fishing rod attached to the above-mentioned line. When Hackman fired his gun, the charge went off and the technician yanked the piece out of the back of the head.

Cantrell's fall, face-down, onto the ground was done by a stuntman. It was strange to see him voluntarily fall flat on his face without reacting. It must have hurt.

The Clock Tower

A technician stood behind the clock face. He/she had a radio with an earpiece in order to hear cues. The technician would move the hand of the clock on cue.

The Townspeople vs. the Outlaws

This is something that remains a mystery to me to this day. From what I was told prior to the start of filming (by the casting people and others), the Townspeople and the Outlaws were supposed to be opposing forces. It made sense in the storyline. The Townspeople just want to be peaceful, law-abiding citizens but are faced with a town full of Outlaws led by a Tyrant. The Outlaws would support Herod because he's granted them refuge from the law.

Sam Raimi, however, never separated us. He treated us all as townspeople. We all tormented Cort. We all cheered, booed or were silent together. Instead, there was a handful of older townspeople (known as the "Mexican Elders") who were opposed to Herod and hired Sgt. Cantrell to do him in. I guess the other Townspeople (as such, as they were known on call sheets and other paperwork) were corrupted by us Outlaws and were just as bad.

Each extra was wardrobed, made up and equipped with props (and/or firearms) as either a Townsperson or an Outlaw. It seemed to me that the Outlaws would always cheer Herod and the Townspeople would cheer for anyone/everyone else. Apparently, Sam saw it differently.

For example, there's a scene in which I'm seen clearly with Horace the Bartender, his daughter and Blind Boy, with looks of disapproval after Herod did in Ace Hanlon, even though I was an Outlaw. HERE'S THE SCENE IN QUESTION.

Another Effect We Didn't See

While shooting scenes in the street during the Day of the Dead festival, I witnessed a cool effect being shot. A propane heater was rigged, with the heating element facing upwards, in front of a camera lens. The effect would have been something seen through the ripples in the air from the heat rising. I've always wondered what the camera did see, but I'll probably never know.

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