Gregory Peck's massive claw!


When he's backstage in the dress in room, watching Debbie Reynolds undress, i had the pause the scene to figure out what strange elongated flesh colored device he was holding in his right hand. Then i realize , good god, that is his HAND! I never noticed before that he was part lobster. Handsome, handsome man, but I wouldn’t let those get a hold of me. :-)

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Greg Peck may very well have had large hands, but the phenomenon on which you comment was chiefly due to the fixed 27mm lenses of the Cinerama camera.

Over a period of ten years from Cinerama's 1952 introduction, five features were made in the process, all of them plotless, "travelogue" type exhibitions. Those lenses were great for putting theater audiences in the front car of a roller coaster, touring through a cathedral or for other scenic views, but when plot-driven films like The Wonderful World Of the Brothers Grimm (1962) or How the West Was Won (1963) were undertaken, they caused great headaches for both actors and directors, especially in shots where the actors were as close to the camera as they could get.

If more than one actor was in the shot, and they weren't both equidistant from those wide-angle lenses, one might appear twice the size of another; an actor carelessly leaning his head too far toward one could cause it to balloon to ridiculous size; a limb outstretched in its direction would result in an elephantine foot or the "massive claw" you observed.

It wasn't until the 1963 production of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, using Ultra Panavision cameras that could accommodate single, interchangeable lenses of varying focal lengths, photographing on one 65mm negative and then printing to 70mm positives specially rectified for projection onto the deeply-curved screens (which wasn't true Cinerama), that directors and actors could be freed from the restrictive constraints - and pitfalls - of the original three-lens system.



Poe! You are...avenged!

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Thank you for explaining that! Thats a very interesting film fact I never knew.

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Oh, you're quite welcome.

Here's another: players like Debbie Reynolds who were in that film have told how, when playing a scene with another actor, they couldn't look directly at each other, because the camera's three lenses were aimed in different directions to cover the wide field of vision, and the curved screens on which the film was projected would have made it appear that they were looking past each other.

In order for it to look right on the screen, they had to look several feet downstage of each other so it would line up correctly when projected on those curved screens.

Like I said, lotsa headaches.


Poe! You are...avenged!

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Peck's massive nipples have also been commented on - they look extra prominent on the Cinerama screen.

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That effect is also noticeable at the table before Peck goes into the dressing room.

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The film employed four cinematographers who were the best of their era, including one of the finest in U.S. cinema, William H. Daniels ASC. I am guessing that Mr. Daniels was in charge during some of the film shot in the studio, including this scene, and don't think he did any exterior filming.

Mr. Daniels did participate in interviews about his career, but I do not remember his mentioning his work in this film. I would have liked to have heard his reflections on his career, which was exceptional. He passed away in 1970.

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