The Underappreciated Art of the Hollywood Backdrop.
It’s difficult now to imagine a Hollywood blockbuster without CGI and high-quality photography, but back in the day, scenic painters were essential to a movie’s success, transporting audiences to landscapes of faraway lands or a fictional realm. Sadly, their genius was barely credited and most of the artists remain relatively unknown for their work.
‘The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop’ by Karen L. Maness and Richard M. Isackes in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild, is a comprehensive visual treat of over 300 images highlighting the scenic artists who made significant contributions to the “golden age” of Hollywood. The book brings to light the long guarded cinematic secret and rich undiscovered history of the craft of old-school movie special effects.
Many of the featured artist’s names are unfamiliar, perhaps with the exception of Salvador Dalí whose dream sequence backdrop for the Alfred Hitchcock film Spellbound. Others include George Gibson’s scenic art for The Wizard of Oz and Ben Carré’s art for classics like The Phantom of the Opera. Scenic artists were vital for the audience’s immersion, creating what the brain would perceive as a real three-dimensional space.
‘The Art of Hollywood Backdrop’ is available