"PRODUCTION 101" ON LOCATION
Pirate Film In Colour Will Have
"Long John Silver," a colour film now being made at Pagewood Studios, in Sydney, will be released through- out the world (all being well) shortly before Christmas. This will be the culmination of a year's work by the producer, and of several months9 work by director, writer,
technicians and cast.
By A STAFF
'T'HE actual shooting of the film at Pagewood,
on location at Garie Beach and Waterfall, near Sydney, will have occupied only part - about 10 weeks-of the production
"Long John Silver" will con-
form to all the standard re- quirements of a major produc- tion: it will be photographed for both Cinemascope (wide screen and direction sound) and conventional screens; it will run for the customary 90 minutes; and its cost, if the producer keeps to his budget, will be about 1,000,000 dollars.
Work on "Long John Silver" was already under way last Sep- tember when an American pro- ducer. Joseph Kaufman, decided to film it in Australia rather than in Egypt.
Kaufman is the dominant shareholder in Treasure Island Pictures Pty. Ltd., a company he has formed with a director, Byron Haskin; a writer, Martin Rackin; and an actor, Robert
At the time of Kaufman's first visit to Sydney, Rackin was in California working on the screen- play of "Long John Silver," his own sequel, as it were, to Steven- son's "Treasure Island." New- ton was acting in "The High and the Mighty," and Haskin was directing "Isle of Spain."
Kaufman returned to Sydney in December and began prepar- ing for the film. Haskin and his production supervisor, Mark Evans, arrived from America in February; Rackin arrived in March; and Newton, who had played the role of Long John in Wait Disney's production of "Treasure Island," arrived in April.
From December until early May, when shooting began, the executive members of the film unit set about the many tasks of preparation.
At the Pagewood studios, which Kaufman had leased from Associated T.V. Pty. Ltd., they planned every scene and shot of the film. They surveyed loca- tions and finally chose an area of bush near Waterfall for Treasure Island, and Garie Beach, south of National Park, for the coast of Puerto Bello.
They built an inn and a cobbled street at Pagewood, a bush stock- ade at Waterfall, and a galleon on a barge at Botany Bay. They spent days holding auditions to select their cast.
The art department prepared detailed paintings of 102 cos- tumes and 28 different sets; the properties department assembled muskets, lanterns, cutlasses, casks, blocks of gold (wood covered with gold leaf), and even rubber belaying pins; the wardrobe de- partment made costumes and hats; and the carpenters made
By the time shooting began early last mouth, Treasure Island Pictures was employing 170 people: 84 production workers (electricians, carpenters, etc.), 32 artists and cast, 40 extras, and 14 executives.
During the nine weeks of shooting, the company planned to expose 100,000ft of film, of which no more than 9,000ft would eventually be used on the
The company's call-sheet, a daily schedule of shooting ar- rangements, refers to the film as "Production No. 101."
"Long John Silver" is the first, not the 101st, film to be made by Treasure Island Pictures; but as one of the company's assistant directors explained, 101
sounds better than 1.
Shooting began in cool, clear weather. Had there been rain, Production 101 would have begun with an alternative schedule at the studios. As it was, a convoy of 10 cars, three
buses, two trucks, two lorries and a trailer left Pagewood for Garie Beach at 6.30 a.m.
The location unit consisted of 103 people 43 extras dressed as pirates, including 16 Bondi life savers, 20 actors and stand ins, seven electricians, nine camera and sound crew, seven execu- tives, and 17 production workers, including properties men, ward- robe, make up, drivers, carpen- ters, labourers, hairdressers, and
The electrical truck, carrying 4,900ft of cable, lamps and reflectors, towed a mobile
Artificial lighting is sometimes used outdoors, even in good natural light, to fill in unwanted shadows cast by trees or cliffs As it turned out the director did not call for lights on the first day of shooting.
Much of the oiganisition it Garie Beach was done by the two assistant directors. Hans Adlerstein and Maurie Power
When the unit reached the beach at 7.45 a.m. , Adlerstein began organising the dressing of 80 men in the Surf Life Saving Club house at the southern end of the beach. Each pirate was issued with his individual cos- tume and, if necessary, with a
By 9.30 a.m., the first party of pirates walked half a mile along the beach to a hillside where Power was preparing what was to become the set
A jolly boat, which had been brought down to Garie Beach on the previous night, had been rowed out through the breakers by the lifesavers and was stand- ing offshore at the northern end of the beach The boat was light enough to have been carried along the beach, but the carriers would have left tell-tale foot-
prints in the wet sand upon which the pirates were to come
From 10.15 a.m. until midday, the camera crew filmed scenes in which the jolly boat, manned by costumed lifesavers, came through the surf and ran up on to the sand. Each scene was filmed twice once for Cinema Scope, which requires a special camera, and once for the con- ventional screen.
As is usual outdoors, where the noise of wind or surf may irtcrfeie with dialogue, all scenes were shot without sound. Sound effects and dialogue are dubbed in later at the studio.
Very much by accident, the scenes shot before lunch were some of the first scenes in the film. More often than not, though, the order in which a film is shot bears no relation to the older in which it is eventually
Immediately after lunch the director, Byron Haskin, began shooting Scene 5.
The scene begins as the jolly boat comes to rest on the sand. The pirate Bowlegs (played by Henry Gilbeit) is sitting in the stern and two other pirates sit beside the mast Bowlegs pulls out the tiller, steps from the boat, looks both ways up the beach, and beckons his com- panions He draws his pistols, his companions draw their cut-
lasses, and the trio walk slowly and warily up the beach. The whole scene . takes only 27 seconds.
For various' reasons, the first four takes of Scene 5 with the CinemaScope camera were unac- ceptable to the director. On one occasion, a wave upset the jolly boat; on another, someone's shadow appeared in camera
The director of photography, an American named Carl Guth- rie, was standing beside his camera operator, an Australian named Ross Wood. The super- visor, Mark Evans, was just out of camera range directing the lifesavers who had been holding the jolly boat steady.
The sound mixer. Alan Allen, was recording surf noise for dub- bing, a later process, in which he co-operates with the cutter, Mike del Campo. The writer, Martin Rackin, was standing be- side Haskin's chair. He wore blue jeans, an old leather U.S. Air Force jacket, and yellow suede shoes.
John Sailed Away . .
"This scene is about 20 pages into the picture," explained .Rackin. "Stevenson ended'" Trea- sure Island' with Long John sail- ing away to no one knows where. Long John mentioned once that he wanted to get back to the Caribbean, so I've presumed he
"He often dreamed of finding himself a woman, so I dreamed up a character called Purity Pinker who runs the Cask and Anchor Inn on the island of Puerto Bello. She wants to marry
Long John, but he'd rather go to
"Silver meets up again with Jim Hawkins, and together they go back to Treasure Island. Sil- ver's great enemy is Mendoza El Toro, the Spanish pirate who kidnaps Jim and the little daugh- ter of the Governor of Puerto Bello.
"This scene now shows the landing of three pirates sent ashore at Broken Finger Point, Puerto Bello, from Mcndoza's ship. They've come to collect the ransom of 1,000 sovereigns for the Governor's daughter.
"They're landing at sundown, so we filter the light down a bit. All technicolor shots-either day or night-arc done in daylight, except for shots showing big fires burning at night. Fires are done at night."
Pirates In Pastels
At a signal from Haskin, the three pirates took their places in the jolly boat. A camera assistant held a board marked "Scene 5, Take 5-Production 101" in front of the camera, and Bowlegs lifted out the tiller.
"We've tried to keep these pirates from -becoming too Gil- bert and Sullivan," said Rackin as soon as it became obvious that Take 5 had been no more successful than those preceding it. "You'll notice that none of them is dressed in bright col- ours; only pastels.
"It's the characters and what
they say that make them pirates.
That's the difference between a
good picture and a cheap one."
"Let's try again, boys," said Haskin. ''Watch those waves."
Joseph Kaufman, who had just joined the group around the umbrella, pointed to some curious sightseers standing near the water about 30 yards along the beach and asked: "Who are those people, Mart? Are they in the shot?"
"They're not in' it," replied
Take 6 proceeded satisfactorily
until the ramrod accidentally fell from Bowlegs' pistol as he leapt
out of the boat.
"It's costing us an extra half million dollars to shoot this pic- ture for CinemaScope," remarked Kaufman. "The picture would cost about two million dollars normally, but the director, the writer and the star are working for themselves, so they're not being paid yet."
A make-up man repainted the sear on Bowlegs' forehead which had been partly removed by the salt water. Evans motioned the pirates back to the jolly boat and Take 7 began.
Once again a sudden wave moved the boat before the pirates
"A scene like this is very diffi- cult," said Kaufman. "The direc- tor has to time the ocean. Mr. Haskin is a very competent director: he's directed 'His Majesty O'Keefe,' 'The Naked Jungle,', and 'War of the Worlds.' Usually he can do a scene in two or three takes; but this is very difficult."
Light Too Yellow
Scene 5 was filmed successfully on the eighth take. Haskin spent
another hour and a half shoot- ing a scene with the extras, and stopped work at 4.15 p.m.. as directors of colour films usually do in Australia, because the light was becoming too yellow.
The shooting schedule pro- vided-weather permitting-for two more days on location at Garie Beach and four days at Waterfall before the unit began production in the studio. Alter- native schedules were arranged for shooting in the studio each day in case of rain. Bad weather forced the unit indoors for only half a day out of the seven days
listed for location.
At the end of the week, having shot about 9,000 feet of film, the unit returned to the studio.
The first day of shooting in the studio will be described in a