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 Posted:   Nov 29, 2013 - 9:23 AM   
 By:   Castile   (Member)

Interesting thread and informative answers :-)
I haven't seen SILK STOCKINGS in years, but I'm wondering if the layout of the room is established for the audience earlier in the film (or prior to the musical number, if this is the first time the set is seen). If so, then people watching the film in sequence would be less likely to be confused.

 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2013 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Interesting. Musicals are fantasy in general. Could the jump or change of set be intentional? A lot of times in musicals one jumps from one location to another within the dance sequence as a dramatic effect.

 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2013 - 1:53 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I get what you are saying, manderley. The thing is, the impression I have from a viewer's pov is that the camera is always pointing, say north, for the sake of argument. We've established that there's a slight pan to the right during the interplay between the close-in shots. I don't see how the camera has at any time given any suggestion other than it is nominally always pointed in that northerly direction.

When the trio breaks the initially rigid, frontally held side-by-side lined aspect to the camera, and form a rotating formation with arms joined, Lorre is in the leftmost position from the trio's vantage point. From a plan position view (ie. directly above) the trio's motion is clockwise. When the angle switches from close-in to mid-field, the edited shot has very carefully impressed a notion of the same northern facing direction in pacing with the trio's circular trek across the floorspace with Lorre still leftmost in the group. This same shot continues to track Lorre who then adopts the most right-justified position in the frame after he has separated from his compatriots. Now, this is the first instance of the stairway obliterating the dais with the throne upon it. Indeed the camera awkwardly pans slightly right to keep him in frame. He tracked so far to the right, that, upon close inspection, all sorts of stage paraphernalia, such as a ladder and the lights previously mentioned, are revealed at the far right of frame. You can't mistake the fact that stage rigging has crept into the shot, probably unintentionally. But it establishes that only part of that particular wall was completed with dressed scenery. Morricone deduces that if the stage lights seen at the start of the sequence to the left of the dais are the same ones seen at the right of the mid-field shot, then the dais with it's throne would be just a little further to the right of that. But, we can see at that point the stage rigging dominated the rightmost portion of the frame and not the dais with the throne. The shot is in any case inherently flawed, yet stayed in the movie, more than likely for the reasons you've stated above. No one would notice, at least until decades later, that the apparent symmetry of the geometry of the stage space was broken. I still overwhelmingly have that impression. So what I think happened is that the stage was progressively dressed while the sequence developed between takes. Not that any of this really matters. Anything goes!

And I wasn't really knocking Lorre's dancing skills. They all did a pretty good job given that performance is not as easy to do as sitting down to watch.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2013 - 2:42 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

This has been an interesting discussion. I've seen this number many many times and I never noticed anything wrong. When I watched the youtube clip it was evident to me that the big stairway was 180° opposite the throne.

If you want to see continuity errors, here's a couple glaring examples.

1. Vertigo: during Scotty's conversation with Madeleine's husband at the club, his scotch and water suddenly loses its ice.

2. North by Northwest: during the conversation between Eve and Thornhill in the dining car, the height of the flowers in the table vase fluctuates wildly.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2013 - 5:15 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

..... Now, this is the first instance of the stairway obliterating the dais with the throne upon it. Indeed the camera awkwardly pans slightly right to keep him in frame. He tracked so far to the right, that, upon close inspection, all sorts of stage paraphernalia, such as a ladder and the lights previously mentioned, are revealed at the far right of frame. You can't mistake the fact that stage rigging has crept into the shot, probably unintentionally. But it establishes that only part of that particular wall was completed with dressed scenery. Morricone deduces that if the stage lights seen at the start of the sequence to the left of the dais are the same ones seen at the right of the mid-field shot, then the dais with it's throne would be just a little further to the right of that. But, we can see at that point the stage rigging dominated the rightmost portion of the frame and not the dais with the throne. The shot is in any case inherently flawed, yet stayed in the movie, more than likely for the reasons you've stated above. No one would notice, at least until decades later, that the apparent symmetry of the geometry of the stage space was broken. I still overwhelmingly have that impression. So what I think happened is that the stage was progressively dressed while the sequence developed between takes.....


Aha!

Now I'm starting to get it!

Many of you are under the impression that the soundstage accoutrements---lights, scaffoldings, etc---have crept into the sequence accidentally!!!

In fact, this sequence takes place ON a Hollywood soundstage. The soundstage represents a "set" too. The completed palatial set on the soundstage floor is a set which has been built for the movie being filmed WITHIN the actual SILK STOCKINGS film.

As for the layout of the set, please understand, again, how this set has been built, from a top view:

Imagine a horizontal rectangle.

Imagine that each end of the rectangle is 50 feet wide.

Imagine that the left side of the rectangle has the throne dais.

Imagine that the right side of the rectangle has the alcove and exit stairs dais.

Now imagine that the rectangle has two long walls, perhaps 80 feet each, connecting the two ends.

One of the long walls, the one on camera, which connects the throne wall with the exit stairs wall, has the settees, sconces, boiserie decor, torchieres and panelling as part of its design.
The off-camera other wall is non-existent and unbuilt except for a short section which I will describe in a moment.

During this sequence, the camera first points toward the throne wall (and directly behind the camera, perhaps 50 feet away, is the exit stairs wall), then the camera follows the actors in front of the long wall (and directly behind the camera at this point is NO WALL AT ALL---it is the open soundstage of MGM studios), this is shot #1.....then the camera picks them up as they reach the exit stairs wall (and directly behind the camera at this point is the throne wall, or probably more precisely, the bottom left corner of our original rectangle where no set has been built). The section of wall on the right of the exit stairs wall which returns toward the camera is a short piece, perhaps 30 feet of the otherwise unbuilt 80 foot wall, the remainder of which does not actually exist. If it did, it would connect to the left corner of the throne wall.

See.....it's a rectangle, with 3 1/3 walls built and an open section which exposes the actual soundstage background for on-camera shots, but which also likely contains the crane arm or dolly tracks, on-floor supplementary lighting for the scene, and, probably, makeup tables and mirrors, portable dressing rooms and director and crew chairs, and staff watching the shooting of the scene, etc.

As for the set being progressively added to during the day's filming, sorry, wouldn't happen.
These dance sequences were rehearsed for quite a number of days before shooting, the set is laid out and dressed and everyone walks into a complete set on the morning of the shoot---a set which most certainly has been rigged and pre-lit and dressed during the previous several days. Try to remember, this is not casual filming. This is a major studio, with thousands of dollars being expended every day, and large support crews on staff to build, plaster, paint, rig, light, buff the lacquered floors, and drape, carpet and dress the sets during the week or two before any high-priced stars step into the frame.

There is also no leeway once the dance is rehearsed and set, because once it is finalized, the music is arranged and orchestrated, then it is pre-recorded with the performers and orchestra, and that performance playback becomes the roadmap that the entire sequence is locked to. There is no waffling or creative improvisation on the set during the shooting unless it is simple changes which don't affect the ultimate flow of the music or scene---a hand movement, a head gesture, etc.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2013 - 6:50 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Right on Manderley, when I mentioned the lights to the left of the throne matter-of-factly I assumed everyone knew the context of the set and lights. But apparently you hit upon the fact many thought those lights were actually behind-the-scenes ones. Talk about an outrageous error, that would have beat the BEN-HUR momentary camera! Your delineating the rectangular set showed me I almost got it right. But as one director I met once said, the worst continuity mistake you can do is make a bad film. If the audience isn't "with" the story or the characters they have nothing to do but look for such things. But if they are into the storytelling minor continuity flaws practically don't exist.

Anyway I still say the only jump occurs when they join hands and what looks like mock iceskating and they swing from a point that would be to the right of the throne to a point left of the throne. And I go back to the theory there might have been an extended version of this mock skating that took them back to where their current swing ends. Hence the jump cut.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2013 - 7:56 PM   
 By:   iain   (Member)

..

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 30, 2013 - 1:38 AM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)

If you're looking for an actual continuity error in that movie, take a look at the following sequence !












I was a Director of Photography for 40 years.

Thanks for eventually sharing this with us, mon cher Manderley ! wink







 
 
 Posted:   Nov 30, 2013 - 4:16 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

If you're looking for an actual continuity error in that movie, take a look at the following sequence !




Are we speaking here of the dance that starts in a soundstage park and goes through a doorway into the courtyard of Dean Martin's Roma hotel set for TEN THOUSAND BEDROOMS, also from 1957? smile

.....or are we speaking of Cyd's dance dress skirt which she wears throughout most of the number until it mysteriously turns into a pair of culottes for the end shot? smile


These kinds of production errors.....substitutions.....second guesses......censorship "fixes"......
or budgetary restrictions leading to different creative choices......are what once made movies fun to see.....and to realize that they were created by fallible beings who were all too human.
Though the filmmakers were famous and getting the big bucks to create this entertainment, in some ways the audience could feel superior when they caught these errors.

Today's films seem very cold and sterile and robotic to me.

Even once upon-a-time calling them "movies" and today calling them "films" is a reflection of the same calculating, analytical ethos we apply to the entertainment we see on the screen now.

 
 Posted:   Nov 30, 2013 - 4:58 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

Another one is the scene in Jurassic Park where the goat appears in the forestry at the side of the T Rex enclosure, then without the car moving any further the goat disappears along with the forestry as the car flips over the side and falls into the tree!

(Sorry, couldn't find a relevant Youtube link).

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 30, 2013 - 5:30 AM   
 By:   Angelillo   (Member)


.....or are we speaking of Cyd's dance dress skirt which she wears throughout most of the number until it mysteriously turns into a pair of culottes for the end shot?


Bravo, monsieur le chef-opérateur !

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 30, 2013 - 5:39 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)


Even once upon-a-time calling them "movies" and today calling them "films" is a reflection of the same calculating, analytical ethos we apply to the entertainment we see on the screen now.


In the UK movies were never called "movies" they were always films. We've imported many Americanisms into our langauge (this year we've also imported that horrible phrase and event called "Black Friday"), maybe the increasing use of the word "films" in the US, which I wasn't aware of, is an example of Americans importing the correct English word big grin

 
 Posted:   Nov 30, 2013 - 6:53 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Another one is the scene in Jurassic Park where the goat appears in the forestry at the side of the T Rex enclosure, then without the car moving any further the goat disappears along with the forestry as the car flips over the side and falls into the tree!

(Sorry, couldn't find a relevant Youtube link).


That's not a mistake as much as Spielberg didn't give a sh@t. He is famous for deliberate continuity errors for the sake of dramatics. Nowadays everyone does it.

 
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