RIP David Saxon – ‘Willy Wonka’ editor (1927-2016)

David Saxon, a WWII army photographer whose journey led him to edit the 1971 classic film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has died aged 89.
Mr Saxon passed away on July 5 2016. His death was announced by the Editors Guild in December.

Born insaxon_moviola-1 Brooklyn, Mr Saxon’s army posting in 1944 took him to Belgium and Germany, where his passion for photography convinced the Army newspaper office to employee him.   With his Speed Graphic camera,  he became the Ninth Division News photographer.

By 1955, Saxon had acquired a bachelor in Mathematics,  enrolled in a Theatre Arts Department at UCLA , and shot 16mm Chamber of Commerce films.
It was whilst editing TV commercials that he received a call from a colleague at David Wolper Productions.
“It was a very creative time and place, I remember the long hours but nobody minded them. There was always something different going on.” he told the Editors Guild in 2000.

For twelve years, Mr Saxon edited National Geographic documentaries, including ‘Monkeys, Apes and Man‘ (for which he received an Emmy nomination), and ‘Search For The Great Apes‘ (for which he won an American Cinema Editors award).

He then branched out into his first feature film,  a romantic comedy filmed throughout Europe, called  If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium in 1969.   It was directed by Mel Stuart.

Saxon, Stuart, Wolper along with producer Stan Margulies, began work on their next film, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel Charlie and Chocolate Factory.

“Stan Margulies was the producer, and he said, ‘we’re going to go on location and take the department heads with us, but we’re going on a wonderful location. And we’re not going to work six days, we’re going to work five.”
The primary shooting location was in Germany, where Saxon had served in war 26 years earlier.  Despite being on location, Saxon was able to begin the first cut of the film.
The film became a classic, loved by children and adults. In 2014 the Library of Congress added it to their National Film Registry.

Saxon also edited Victory at Entebbe (1976), the  tv movie of an Air France plane hijacking, that starred a who’s who of film; episode 6 of David Wolper’s landmark miniseries Roots (1977),  twelve episodes of Hill Street Blues (1983-1985), and six episodes of North and South , Book II (1986).

He was coaxed out of retirement in early 1990 to assemble footage shot by Jacques Cousteau about Great White Sharks.  “I walked into a room full of film – five hundred boxes!” he recalled.

– by Rhett Bartlett.  (@dialmformovies)

Lupita Tovar: 1910 – 2016

Lupita Tovar, the Mexican actress who almost succumbs to Dracula’s hypnotic spell in the 1931 Spanish version of the horror classic, has died aged 106.  Her death was announced by her niece Lucy Tovar on Facebook.

The Spanish-language version of Dracula was shot on the same sets as Tod Browning’s English-language version, which starred Bela Lugosi, but from 7pm – 7am each day, after Browning had finished shooting.  Carlos Villarias portrayed Dracula in the Spanish version.

However two years earlier Lupita’s path did cross with that of Lugosi, when both appeared in Emmett J. Flynn’s now lost silent film The Veiled Woman.

Lupita also starred in Mexico’s first film to feature sound, the 1931 Santa.
In 1935 she starred opposite Buster Keaton in The Invader , the story of a millionaire who tries to woo a Mexican woman.

Her surviving family includes daughter Susan Kohner, Oscar nominated for her performance in Imitation of Life, and her grandsons Chris and Paul Weitz who directed the 1999 comedy blockbuster American Pie .


Slap Slap

Men slapping women in film


  1. R.G Armstrong’s slap to Mariette Hartley (her film debut!) in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY.
  2. Professor Plum’s slap to Mrs Peacock to stop her screaming in CLUE.
  3. Tim Curry’s slap to Mrs Peacock, as he recreates the events of Professor Plum’s slap to Mrs Peacock, in CLUE
  4. George Lazenby, as James Bond no less,  slapping Dame Diana Rigg in ON HER MAJESTY’S SERCRET SERVICE
  5. In THE PASSAGE, Malcolm McDowell doesn’t hold back and slaps Kay Lenz right in the face
  6. James Cagney’s slap, with a grapefruit, to the face of  Mae Clarke, at the breakfast table in PUBLIC ENEMY
  7. In the mere opening moments of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY,  Katharine Hepburn  breaks Cary Grant’s golf club, and receives a face shove to the floor
  8. Lee Bryant, having a panic attack on the flight in AIRPLANE, receives a slap from Howard Honig, Leslie Nielsen (twice), and David Leisure (off camera).  That doesn’t take into account she is also slapped by a Nun, punched by a Boxer (off camera), and slapped one final time (off camera, by unknown)
  9. A short sharp slap by Chester Morris to Jean Harlow in RED-HEADED WOMAN
  10. Kirk Douglas’ short backhand to Jean Sterling followed by a fronthand slap in ACE IN THE HOLE
  11. Fay Dunaway slapped five times !, in the one scene,  by Jack Nicholson in CHINATOWN

Ties in Films

Ties in Films.
[dashing, dumb, or downright deadly]

  1. Informant Thelma Ritter’s legitimate men’s tie business in PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET,to finance her funeral.  “Tie, Mister ? Wanna buy a tie, Mister?”
  2. Mr Rusk and his disappearing tie at the climax of Hitchcock’s FRENZY.
  3. The awkwardly worn necktie by Ivan Mozzhukhin, as he stands trial in the silent film THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY (1923). (His lover, Helene Darly, sitting in the courtroom motions to him to fix  it)
  4. Marty McFly’s multiple ties in BACK TO THE FUTURE II, worn in the year 2015,during his video telephone conference with Ito T Fujitsu (who is also wearing multiple ties).  Yet to catch on.
  5. Doc’s transparent necktie in BACK TO THE FUTURE II  when he collects Marty and Jennifer in 1985.  Yet to catch on
  6. Alec Baldwin teaches his child how to tie a tie in OUTSIDE OF PROVIDENCE
  7. Peter Sellers’ tie that just won’t come off, during his love scene with Lesley Anne Down in PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN
  8. Lee Marvin’s tie in POINT BLANK, that verges on reptilian-like during the slow motion shooting scene
  9. Cindy Morgan’s  “Would you like to tie me up with some of your ties, Ty?” question to Chevy Chase in CADDYSHACK
  10. La-Di-Da.   Diane Keaton’s tie that hangs below her vest in ANNIE HALL
  11. The thread of the lavender tie placed under the victim’s fingernail in INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION
  12. In FIGHT CLUB, Edward Norton notices his boss is wearing a cornflour blue tie – ‘it must be Tuesday’
  13. The clip-on tie worn by Chris Farley in TOMMY BOY

– rhett bartlett

Douglas Slocombe

Douglas Slocombe, the cinematographer who shot Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981),  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989), has died aged 103.

His daughter announced to the Agence France-Presse that he died in hospital on Monday, Feb 22 2016. bfi-00n-0ca

At the 30th anniversary of the Raiders  film’s release,  Harrison Ford recalled that Slocombe never used a light meter.   ‘He used to read the density of the shadow by his thumb against his palm.”  Director Steven Spielberg said he never worked with a Director of Photography before or since who used that technique.

Slocombe received 3 Oscar nominations, all without success.   ‘Travels with my Aunt’ (1972),  ‘Julia’ (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).  But his legacy extends far beyond those nominations.  He shot what is regarded as one of the scariest British films of all time – the 1945 Dead of Night.

In 1949 he was Director of Photography on the outstanding black comedy ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’ (1949), where Alec Guiness portrayed no fewer than 7 characters – all from the same family. His most famous image in the film was a mutli-processed shot of Alec Guiness as all the characters, situated around a table.  To achieve the shot he reverted to an early film technique where the illusion was manufactured entirely within camera.
Slocombe’s association with Ealing comedies continued with ‘The Man in the White Suit’ (1951) , ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ (1951) and ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ (1953).

His cinematography in ”The L-Shaped Room” (1962) impressed the cast so much that Leslie Caron remarked to producer Richard Attenborough ”I hope to god no one ever photographs me again, other than Doug Slocombe. I’ve never looked better”

He found working with director Ken Russell difficult.  After shooting ‘The Music Lovers’  (1970), Slocombe refused to shoot Russell’s follow up film ‘The Devils’ (1971).   ‘Ken , I’d love to work with you again, but the cameraman has to look at the scene he is photographing and some of your stuff is so appalling I can’t bring myself to look at it’ Slocombe said.

His association with Steven Spielberg began several years before the Indiana Jones franchise, on the film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (1977).   Slocome was part of the second unit crew who shot sequences in India.  Spielberg was impressed with the rushes and promised the cinematographer they would work together again.   They did four years later.
Spielberg directed so quickly on the Indiana Jones set that Slocombe recalled ‘he would shout action! while I was still setting lights’.

Slocombe’s resume also included the films ‘The Italian Job’ (the 1969 Michael Caine version),  ‘Never Say Never Again’ (1983), ‘The Lion in Winter’ (1967) and ‘The Great Gatsby’  (the 1974 Robert Redford version).

He was born the son of bohemian parents.  At age 10, he met author James Joyce,who personally delivered a pre-publication copy of Ulysses to them.   Douglas  grew up to document the German invasion of Poland, a visual memory that influenced his style when filming ‘Guns at Batasi’ (1964).   ”There was a documentary aspect to that film which did take me back to my war days with the roving camera.   I probably instinctivly gave the film the feeling that I had felt in some of the documentary footage I shot. ”

It was director Richard Attenborough who said of Slocombe, ” he took away the theatricality of lighting of films and brought a reality.”

Slocombe’s career spanned five decades.