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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 30 September 2019 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Coincidentally, two posts about changes in adaptations: one the movie JOHN CARTER, the other a TV version of The War of the Worlds (coincidentally, they're both about Mars, but I don't think I can get a topic out of that). The War of the Worlds problem is depicting the tripods, (which Pal had with his movie, so I'm putting this in the Movies topic,) CARTER's is that Martians only wear a few jewels, silks, or furs for ornament, and a "harness" for carrying more than they can hold in their hands. The nakedidity is not a technical problem, like John Carter being able to leap 1/8 of a mile, or the Thark portion of the cast being between twice and three times the height of the others. Rather, it's a problem with audience perception. I don't know about the BBC production, but I think I read that George Pal couldn't find a three-legged gate that would keep his War Machines impressive.

I suppose movies rely on quick impressions. The Discovery in 2001 lost its radiator "wings" because Kubrick couldn't count on the audience looking up on the internet, Abraham Lincoln is given a deeper voice than contemporary accounts describe.

One interesting "adaptation" is from a Gerry Anderson show to a Gerry Anderson show: an episode of "Captain Scarlet" set on the Moon featured a craft that traveled the surface in short hops. A rocket motor would launch it into the air -er, vacuum- and it would land on four legs that compress. I imagine these store the energy of the landing, and use it to help the next hop. It might work, but it looks kinda silly, but the show goes with it, even taking the trouble to add the rising and falling moonscape seen from the inside, although I don't remember if they pointed out that the downward leg is freefall. The miniature, or one very like it, was later used in "UFO," but the rocket motor is supposedly on continuous thrust, so that it hovers over the lunar surface until it lands at its destination. This looks more like what a contemporary audience expects "flight" to be, but I hate to think of the amount of fuel that would take!
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 01 October 2019 at 8:15am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

If I recall correctly, George Pal wanted his Martian war machines to "walk" on 3 "legs" of electrical energy...

There were tests of the war machine models where high voltage was run down 3 rods protruding from the bottom of them that looked impressive, but ran the risk of electrocuting everyone on the miniatures stage... So the models were essentially "flown" via wires and the "energy legs" were added later via optical effects.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 October 2019 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Your memory is very different from mine, Bill. One of my many disappointments with that film was what I considered the total cop out of the “invisible” legs.
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 01 October 2019 at 11:17am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Well, to honest JB, when first I saw the 1953 WotW film on TV in the late 70s, I was under the mistaken impression that those war machines were actually predecessors to the creepy alien spacecraft in ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (1964), which I had seen prior to it.

Given George Pal's expertise in stop motion animation, I am surprised he didn't go that route for the tripods.

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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 10:21am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

In my youth I read in some special effects book that they couldn't come up with a satisfactory gait for three physical legs, a one-legged man on crutches was an example of what they rejected. I wish I had paid more attention to reading it back then; I'm not even sure it wasn't referring to Ray Harryhausen, who did some studies for a War of the Worlds movie, I didn't even know that until some extras on the Pal DVD put out at the time of the Spielberg version. (The limit being Harryhausen's time, not money, I doubt he would have animated both the aliens and the ships, even with a bigger budget than EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS.)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 10:30am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I think Wells’ description would produce a terrifying effect. The giant footpads not only crashing down, but simultaneously slashing sideways. Talk about explosive!
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