I think we forget the amazing collections of historical artifacts we have on the internet. The limitations of Covid has left me doing a lot of traveling and bucket list visits to famous places via Youtube and online streamers.
I started looking up filming locations for a favorite movie of mine – The Grand Budapest Hotel. Pre-soviet eastern block countries had amazing architecture. In my searching, it turns out Wes Anderson tried to capture the feel for the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel from old Photochrom prints.
The Photochrom Print Collection is available for free from the Library of Congress and has thousands of early prints of European and North American images from the 1890’s to 1910’s.
It makes me wonder what amazing artistic creations people can make using just the free resources we have at our fingertips today – plus some imagination.
The 2006 movie The Fall is an under-rated movie that I really enjoyed for it’s unique story and beautiful, dream-like visuals. Set in 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman (Roy) begins to tell a fantastic story of five mythical heroes to a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances. Roy’s true motives and desperation start coming out as his story progresses.
The making of the movie by Tarsem Singh was a real labor of love. The film was shot in 28 countries over four years. No stages or sets were used, only existing absolutely fabulous and exotic locations were used. Filming locations included the Namibian desert, Cape Town Africa, Hagia Sophia, Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan India, Fiji, Rome, Bali, Egypt, China, Boliva, and countless others bucket list locations.
With as few people that know The Fall, even fewer know it was based on a 1981 Bulgarian movie called Yo Ho Ho (Bulgarian: Йо-хо-хо). In Yo Ho Ho, an actor crippled after a bad fall on stage befriends a 10 year old boy who is recovering from a broken arm in hospital. The actor starts telling a marvelous fairy tale, inventing stories about a good buccaneer fighting the evil ruler Alvarez that must be punished for his crimes. Little by little the real people in hospital are transformed into the imaginary heroes of the pirate stories that the Actor and the child vanquish by goodness, honesty and self-denial – all the while the actor intends to use the child to provide him with poison to end his life.
The Maillardet Automaton was a marvel of its time – and even amazing today. It was able to draw tremendously complex drawings. I can only imagine what people thought about it back in the 1800’s when it was created. It was so famous, exhibitions were held all over Europe.