Lost and Found Dept.


Lots of interesting feedback on yesterday’s post, which was about the not-particularly-interesting Kay Kyser movie YOU’LL FIND OUT.

Via Facebook, Jason Hyde points out, “That gorilla got around. It also pops up in the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes film The Woman in Green. It was still getting work as late as 1971’s Escape from the Planet of the Apes. Somebody should write a biography.”

I replied, “In 1972 they opened it up and found Charles Gemora, full of buckshot.”

But Randall William Cook had more information. The spooky mansion in this movie turns out to be a real treasure trove — as recounted in this DVD extra from the Peter Jackson KING KONG, video essay, several models from the 1933 original KONG can be seen as props in the villains’ lair, including various sizes of triceratops and some spiders from the famous deleted “spider pit sequence.”

We even see the odd, two-legged lizard that climbed a vine to get at Bruce Cabot.

And elsewhere in the movie, some very recognizable gargoyles (bottom of frame), last seen posing beside Charles Laughton in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.


I imagine there’s stuff there from SHE and maybe THE HOUNDS OF ZAROFF, and all the Egyptian doodads are probably recycled from the Wheeler & Woolsey dud MUMMY’S BOYS — though it’s doubtful they were originally created for it.

The beauty of the studio system was that all this material was on call at all times, either in the (rubber) flesh or via stock footage. I previously investigated the bizarre rubber octopus (Steve) in CITIZEN KANE, dismissed reports of pterodactyls from KONG invading KANE, but found the ship from KONG reappearing in Val Lewton’s THE GHOST SHIP, heading in the opposite direction thanks to an optical flip that rechristens it from the Venture to the erutneV. Rechristening ships is said to be bad luck, and so it proves for the unhappy crew of the erutneV.

Much has been written about the reuse of the grand staircase from THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS in various Lewton horrors.

One day, when I am bored, I will track down the ludicrous gargoyle that decorates the background of Hammer’s TWINS OF EVIL but can also be seen, with a fresh lick of paint, in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.

Goodnight, and good luck.

16 Responses to “Lost and Found Dept.”

  1. There’s fountain that gets knocked over in the opening sequence of Touch of Evil that Welles used a year later as The Fountain of Youth

  2. Oh and by “opening sequence” I’m referring to the action that takes place after the bomb goes off and blows up the car with Joi Lansing in it.

  3. Welles was a great recycler — he even spoke of requiring footage of a large explosion he could use to finish both The Deep and Don Quixote — undoubtedly one of his tall tales.

  4. Recycling of props and costumes is fun to observe (or is it a sign I have seen too many movies?). Two examples are in MGM’s DEEP IN MY HEART which has a 20’s number which essentially uses all the women’s costumes from SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. And in Warner’s BLAZING SADDLES the sets recycle the wall paper on the sets from MY FAIR LADY.

  5. Reminds me of the fact that, for budgetary reasons, everyone in High Noon has the same wallpaper.

    The costumes — and the music! — from Forbidden Planet were recycled in every cheapjack sci-fi pic that followed. The costumes at least were hired, but the music was stolen outright.

  6. Marguerite Duras recycled India Song with Son Nom du Venise dans Calcutta desert It was the same soundtrack but the images were of the camera tracking through the old mansion where India Song was shot, completely deserted. There are no actors (or in Duras’ case “figures”) on screen whatsoever.

  7. British silent The Wrecker reused a newspaper-printing sequence from Hitch’s The Lodger…..the Hitch cameo, thus Hitch managed to cameo in a film he had nothing to do with.
    Favourite prop (and I bet i’ts in a cupboard in Pinewood or somewhere still) is the oil painting of Jack Hawkins’ wife in The League of Gentleman, which Nigel Patrick comments on….bringing the response “No, I’m afraid the bitch is still with us…” ??? In a previous existence it was the portrait of Deborah Kerr, as Barbara Wynne-Candy, that hung in Clive W-C’s den, failing to convey to Anton Walbrook the resemblance to his own dear wife, in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. I wonder if Roger Livesey recognised it ???

  8. Delightful! I should have put out a formal call for recurring props and footage because these are all fantastic.

    The Wrecker also bosts its production values considerable by using the same train wreck, shot from different angles, to represent all the various wrecks in the story.

  9. La Faustin Says:

    I once watched a home doublebill of CABIN IN THE SKY and BELLS ARE RINGING –before my astonished eyes, the same nightclub front appeared in both of them!

  10. Surprising economy for MGM.

    I had a double bill of The Secret Bride and From Headquarters, two Warners pre-codes, which feature identical footage of some kind of forensic bullet-testing apparatus where shells are fired into wadding. A strange thing to recycle, but there it was.

  11. The one that always blew my mind was the portrait of the cross eyed grandfather that appears in Remember the Night and Ball of Fire. The studio, director and set designer are all different, so perhaps Stanwyck just enjoyed the painting so much she brought it with her.

  12. Wow! I can sort of imagine Leisen (former art director himself) gifting it to her on Remember The Night. I never spotted the connection!

  13. My favorite example of borrowed footage in a movie is Jess Franco’s spectacularly lazy movie “The Castle of Fu Manchu”, whose entire “cold open” scene consists of footage from a different Fu Manchu movie, “The Brides of Fu Manchu”–footage consistingly mostly of an overacting Burt Kwouk screaming variations on “No no NO!!” at Christopher Lee–intercut hilariously with bits of “A Night to Remember”, whose Titanic shipwreck is meant by Franco to stand in for a ship foundering in the Caribbean. Later in his terrible movie, Franco steals from yet another movie, an adventure film I’ve never seen called “Campbell’s Kingdom”. The footage shows a dam bursting and I’ve read that if you keep your eyes open at the right moment you can spot Dirk Bogarde in the stolen scene, playing a fellow named Bruce Campbell (!)

  14. Unknowing cameos by actors — another area of interest. In NATAN, Lenny Borger points out that Howard Hawks uses so much war footage from WOODEN CROSSES in his THE ROAD TO GLORY that you can see Pierre Blanchar throwing a hand grenade. American audiences would recognize him, so fine.

    Also, actors cast with other actors’ names, like Kent Smith as Oliver Reed in CAT PEOPLE…

  15. That is NOT a DVD extra from Jackson’s “King Kong”! I made the clip myself to show how much Jackson got wrong in his version!

  16. Thanks for the correction — I have ammended the description.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: