Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Interiors of HORROR EXPRESS

From: HOLLYWOOD EXILE Or How I Learned To Love the Blacklist
by Bernard Gordon

Because our budget was stringent, we had to resort to many tricks and shortcuts in filming. I found my Spanish crew resourceful and willing. We had no proper full-size train interiors. Instead, we had acquired a set of flats that could be erected to represent the interior of a railway carriage. One was reserved for the interior of the freight car that carried the crate where the creature was stored and where much of the action occured; the other was constantly redressed to represent the interior of either the dining car (sumptuous), a sleeping compartment (convincingly period), of the fine private car of the wealthy and important Russian count who was aboard with his young and delicious wife. We mounted the two sets on springs so they could be rocked during shooting to simulate the motion of a train.
That was only the beginning of our effects. We had to see the passing countryside through a car window when we occasionally played the action during daylight. The Spanish art director, ingenious and effective, prepared a large roll of heavy paper on which he had painted his version of the Siberian countryside. Set up outside the car window, this arrangement was slowly unrolled, suggesting the passage of the train across the tundra. It looked quite Mickey Mouse to me, but I was surprised to see how well it filmed. Much of this was new to me, and I was amazed by (and I appreciated) the cunning.

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