Author Topic: Pre-CGI epic scenes.  (Read 3424 times)

Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« on: June 14, 2020, 02:23:15 PM »
Watching the Godfather Part 2 again recently, I was struck by how much time and effort must have gone into the scenes set in the busy street market in the Vito parts of the film.

Nowadays, they'd just have CGId the whole thing, which is easier I suppose, but what are your favourite massive scenes from back then?

Mister Six

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 02:26:52 PM »
The minecart sequence in Temple of Doom still looks great, with only a few shots being blatantly bluescreened.

Pretty much all of the special effects scenes in A Matter of Life and Death look fantastic, and are jaw-dropping when you consider that they were made in 1946.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 02:35:46 PM »
That's the thing with the proliferation of CGI now, especially when the "best" of it it still very obviously CGI and green screen - even low-end mediocre pre-CGI films that feature anything like real and proper locations, stunts with real people, a crowd of even just a few hundred, or even just a ropey puppet or animatronic - it all looks really impressive in comparison.

I fucking hate CGI.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 02:36:51 PM »
It was 'Hello Dolly' being mentioned in the musical thread that reminded I meant to start this thread. The parade scene is ridiculous! Must have cost a bloody fortune.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2020, 02:52:58 PM »
You could pick loads of sequences from Khan Asparuh, but this sort of thing is just jaw dropping - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWXRiVNqlAk

Bridge crossing sequence in Friedkin's Sorcerer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsNH_6lx6Z8


Fuck CGI.  Fuck it right in the ass.  And not in a good way.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2020, 03:30:45 PM »
It was 'Hello Dolly' being mentioned in the musical thread that reminded I meant to start this thread. The parade scene is ridiculous! Must have cost a bloody fortune.

Yeah, it features a ridiculous amount of extras and must have been exhausting to shoot, which also applies to the big dance sequence in the restaurant towards the end, and the very final scene, it's one of those movies where you can see just where every penny was spent.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2020, 03:56:33 PM »
The funeral scene in Gandhi famously featured over 300,000 extras. These days they'd just CGI the whole thing in an afternoon.

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2020, 04:39:19 PM »
Do they even need/use a small group of people as reference to create massive (or even not massive) CGI crowds these days?

Genuine question.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2020, 05:38:20 PM »
Seeing that Bond thread - I'm no Bond fan at all, but I have been giving them another watch (for the first time in about 25 years for most of them) whilst ITV4 have been showing them in order.  Fuck me, some of those sets and stunts, particularly when you get to late Connery into Moore...

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2020, 06:59:32 PM »
My first thought was the scene with all the typewriters in Welles' film of The Trial.


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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2020, 07:03:41 PM »
The factory sequence in Metropolis.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2020, 05:38:49 AM »
Do they even need/use a small group of people as reference to create massive (or even not massive) CGI crowds these days?

Genuine question.

Even as far back as Gladiator they had filmed a handful of people and CGI spraypainted them into the crowds

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2020, 07:19:58 AM »
My first thought was the scene with all the typewriters in Welles' film of The Trial.



Similarly, the office in The Apartment, which I believe used a combination of dwarves and magic.



Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2020, 08:13:58 AM »
The funeral scene in Gandhi famously featured over 300,000 extras. These days they'd just CGI the whole thing in an afternoon.
Also, entire regiments of the Red Army in Waterloo.

notjosh

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2020, 08:52:07 AM »
Similarly, the office in The Apartment, which I believe used a combination of dwarves and magic.

Both inspired by King Vidor's The Crowd.




All of The General is epic, but particularly these bits:





Also, the chariot race in Ben Hur. The 1925 one too, but mainly 1959.

The Thief of Bagdad has some amazing sets.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2020, 08:52:11 AM »
This number from Dames is from fucking 1934 and astonishing how they did it without CGI or even more modern film techniques

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P76cUtCGRQs

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2020, 10:04:58 AM »
Even as far back as Gladiator they had filmed a handful of people and CGI spraypainted them into the crowds

Yeah, I know that, they had to use a group of real people as a base reference because the AI wasn't (at that point) clever enough to create its own autonomous "individuals".  My question is if they even use ANY real people at all these days, or if they just do it 100% CGI.

notjosh

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2020, 10:28:12 AM »
This number from Dames is from fucking 1934 and astonishing how they did it without CGI or even more modern film techniques

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P76cUtCGRQs

Beautiful sequence, and one of the best songs ever. I also love the opening part before the choreography kicks in.

Speaking of which, the musical number in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (and the entire film of course) has an amazing variety of puppets on screen at the same time. Anyone who thinks you could reboot this with CGI is fucking mad.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2020, 04:48:10 PM »
Similarly, the office in The Apartment, which I believe used a combination of dwarves and magic.


I meant mirrors not magic, and it was children not dwarves. After looking it up now that I’ve slept I don’t think they actually even used mirrors.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2020, 06:23:50 PM »
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, as a youngster I used to rewind the tape and watch the tanker chase scene back to back, four times in a row sometime. It's visceral, relentless and does such a a wonderful job of making the world and vehicles characters, you feel like you are in on the ride, unmatched as a chase scene, and stunt men got broken.  Whilst Miller tried again in Fury Road and the chases are thrilling, but the CGI still stands out like a saw thumb at times against the practical.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2020, 06:28:27 PM »
In Fury Road(which I think is fucking brilliant)'s defence it still has a shitload of practical effects and proper stuntwork than 99% of other action films that aren't Mission Impossible.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2020, 06:32:02 PM »
In Fury Road(which I think is fucking brilliant)'s defence it still has a shitload of practical effects and proper stuntwork than 99% of other action films that aren't Mission Impossible.

Oh I agree, just saying because there are so many excellent bits of practical when a dodgy bit of pixels come on you notice it, but it's not scene ruining.

Blinder Data

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2020, 11:36:36 AM »
Kurosawa's Ran is a good one for this. I remember one scene at the end in which it looks a a like whole army has gathered on a hill in the distance. Astonishing use of people and space.



Caught a bit of Waterloo on the telly a while ago. One sequence in particular stood out - a bird's eye view of the battlefield in action. It seemed to stretch for miles. No idea what the rest of the film is like tbh but that bit was amazing.

seepage

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2020, 12:00:10 PM »
You should watch the rest of Waterloo. Some of the dialogue is hilarious, especially Rod Steiger's Napoleon.

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2020, 12:00:31 PM »
I was really impressed by the see-through FX in The Invisible Man (1933).



EDIT: Ah, I've misinterpreted. If there were loads of Invisible Men, it'd fit the thread's remit. I'll leave him there, though.

On topic: King Kong (also 1933).


Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2020, 12:14:14 PM »
Caught a bit of Waterloo on the telly a while ago. One sequence in particular stood out - a bird's eye view of the battlefield in action. It seemed to stretch for miles. No idea what the rest of the film is like tbh but that bit was amazing.

You should watch the rest of Waterloo. Some of the dialogue is hilarious, especially Rod Steiger's Napoleon.

Yeah, it really should be a lot better than it is, and a large part of the problem is Steiger's performance.  But it's worth a look just for the production value.  Sumptuous.  It's also a less daunting prospect than either or the two best known War & Peace screen adaptations (the endless Russian one coincidentally starring the director of Waterloo).  But I think its IMDB rating is VERY generous.

Dex Sawash

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2020, 12:18:30 PM »

Did DH Griffith actually toss a lady off (steady) a cliff for Birth of a Nation?

BlodwynPig

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2020, 12:29:08 PM »
That's the thing with the proliferation of CGI now, especially when the "best" of it it still very obviously CGI and green screen - even low-end mediocre pre-CGI films that feature anything like real and proper locations, stunts with real people, a crowd of even just a few hundred, or even just a ropey puppet or animatronic - it all looks really impressive in comparison.

I fucking hate CGI.

Quick quiz: which long-running horror/fantasy movie franchise of the 2010s is famous for not using any CGI or animation over its entire filmography?

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2020, 12:40:44 PM »
Quick quiz: which long-running horror/fantasy movie franchise of the 2010s is famous for not using any CGI or animation over its entire filmography?

Leprechaun.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2020, 01:00:51 PM »

On topic: King Kong (also 1933).



This was on the other week. It's great, isn't it?

Waterloo - the battle scenes are epic. They used tens of thousands of actual Soviet soldiers, drilled and trained to fight according to 19th century tactics. The aerial shots are, iirc, deliberately posed to replicate the actual battle schematics.

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