Super sparkly

Did anyone notice this when they watched it, that the entire set was very glittery? I think it was intentional, whether or not I liked it! You don't see too many films so overdone anymore! James Cagney rocked in this, too.

This is heavy, Doc.


That's what I've always thought - that it was overdone, but in the right ways. And I LOVE Jimmy Cagney.

The glitter was deliberate -- in many scenes they put something over the camera. Usually I believe they used bridal veiling, or very thin silk, with tiny sequins. Some other films have this -- as late as "Picnic at Hanging Rock" they were putting veiling on the camera for an otherworldly effect.


I read somewhere that the entire set was covered in cellophane, which explains the sparkles and why everything looks like it's made of plastic.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." ~Adam Savage


I haven't seen this film yet but I recently read an interview with Hal Mohr in Leonard Maltin's book Behind The Camera. Apparently, the production was on the verge of being shut down, and he took over as DP at the last minute on the condition that he was allowed to do whatever he wanted while still aiming to achieve the "ephemeral" look the directors wanted.

Here are some excerpts:

I had George Hilliard light all the lights down one side of the stage, and the light would filter down through the trees in places, and leave shadows in places...

I told the painters, "Where the light is hitting, spray everything with aluminum paint...where the light is not hitting, use orange and brown shellac."

Then I had the special effects men go in with their spray guns and cover the trees, bushes, and everything with this cobwebby material. I sent out and had them bring in several hundred pounds of what you call casket flitters-they are little particles of round, shiny material. They used to scatter this stuff on greeting cards so they would sparkle. I had follow-up men going around after the men with the spray guns and while the rubber cement was still wet, they'd blow these casket flitters onto the cobwebs, so they would stick to them.

And I even went so far as to take in front of the camera, to carry on this sparkle effect in the fairy-type stuff, I had frames made, and I had this cobweb material sprayed on that, and blew some flitters on. If I kept all the light off of this, it was invisible. You never saw it. But I'd put around the camera little tiny light bulbs that I could control individually, and as they would come on, these flitters would pick up and sparkle, very close to the camera. And on top of that, I photographed through a disk, a piece of glass with an interlaced pattern, which gave an overall diffusion, which I wanted, but these sparklers would hit the lens, bounce back to the surface of the disk, and then come through and photograph, taking on star-like quality.

Where the actors were going to be I'd just clear out the cobwebs in that little area.


Thanks for posting this - it is fascinating. I think the patterned glass must have made the little "sun star" effects, because they were patterned like little snowflakes, not just random glitter sparkles. I just thought the set design, costumes, and ballet choreography, along with Mendelssohn's music, was completely otherworldly and magical. Several scenes are just breathtaking - the first one where the fairies look like they are running across the sky, and the scene where Oberon rides through the woods on his horse, and his dark cape keeps billowing and floating behind him. Fantastic! Oberon's stately antler/twig crown was a favorite among the costumes. He's like the mythic Greenman come to life. Olivia de Havilland is heart-breakingly beautiful - her performance in this film is very good, probably the best out of the bunch. Rooney's performance I find very annoying, as apparantly many agree, but he looks great and his facial expressions are wonderful. What a visual treat this movie is - sure hope you've seen it by now!

Ssssshh! You'll wake up the monkey!


I agree. It's a unique movie and should be seen, if for no other reason, for the production design.


This movie is, by far, the most visually arresting film that I have ever seen. (And color would have simply ruined it.)

That's all I have to say.


I am very fond of glittery, sparkly things, so I was completely enchanted with this film. I saw it last night, on a perfect night for viewing someone else's dream and it was perfect.

Why ain't you at the garden party you heathen?