With Ridley Scott’s Prometheus looming enticingly on the horizon many of us will be revisiting the director’s 1979 classic Alien in preparation of a return to the Alienverse. What we have below is something in that vein.
Dennis Lowe has worked in special and visual effects from the late seventies, through a golden age of the technical side of the British film industry with Pinewood and Shepperton playing host to the production of some of the best loved films of the era. Thanks to the wonders of Metafilter I came across his personal site in which Lowe paints a homely picture of an exciting time in the industry,
This period was a fantastic time in the film industry and I remember well the relaxed and thoughtful ways we all set about making the models under the guidance of Effects Supervisors Brian Johnson and Nick Allder. Ron Hone was the boss in the model shop, it was like a large family when we would plough into the canteen at Bray Studios for breakfast ( I can still taste it now! ) and exit contented knowing that the day was going to be creative. I didn’t know anyone who didn’t like their job and and for about 5 more years that spirit endured throughout various movies until the 80′s arrived……from then on the accountants took over!
Working on The Empire Strikes Back and Alien, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein all the way up to Tom Twyker’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Lowe has been present through an astonishing change in his industry with visual effects edging out the practical. One can only imagine walking out onto the sets constructed for the Cloud City duel or the assault on Hoth and then, two decades later, being faced with an entire set coloured green.
When I’ve visited various sets in Pinewood and beyond the technicians and craftsmen on hand have usually been in the industry all their working lives, always have fascinating stories to tell and I’m grateful to anyone who wants to reminisce about the golden age of Raiders and Star Wars, or rant about the shifting sands of their current existence. Lowe has collected some of the rare behind the scenes stories and photos for his site which, though I’ve focused here on Ridley Scott’s Alien, covers a wide range of topics.
What you’ll see on his blog are memories, photos and collected interviews with many of the people who worked on Alien, together they give a rarely seen dimension to a classic film. Here are a handful of pictures from the site, there are many more available, so do pay the site a visit.