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The End of Camelot

      Production on Camelot was winding to a close. Howard Kazanjian’s “neighbor,” Alfred Newman was spending more time outside his office. For Newman kept his piano there in the hallway across from Howard’s door.

Alfred Newman was the composer that Jack Warner had brought in for the film score. Of course Frederic Loewe was the composer for the musical itself, but more music was needed to fill in those scenes that were an expansion from the stage play – the in between stuff, when the music of the stage play wasn’t on; the music in a film that moves the story along.

Newman had started out at Fox. In fact he had been a big gun there. (Who hasn’t heard his Fox fanfare? A piece that he later lengthened for Fox’s new beginning when Cinemascope came out).  He had been on the Camelot project from the beginning. He was involved in putting the songs into tracks for the pre-recordings, then disappeared until the rough cut was ready.

Now that the film was in the “can” he was given his own B & W print with which he worked to compose the music connections.  Newman told the associate producer Joel Freeman that it was the hardest arrangement he had ever done.

Howard was busy with the ending. It was the end of production and they were really doing the ending.  The master shot for the last scene had already been captured at the time when Logan had been in Spain, but it only covered Richard Harris as King Arthur and Gary Marsh, as the boy Tom, no close ups.  Here months later they would fill in the blanks – and shoot the close ups. Some dressing of the set was necessary to match the original – Arthur’s armor was aged to match – his beard cut to match. And the boy who had played Tom, was brought back in.

The scene was reshot with dialogue elements that overlapped to facilitate the editing process. And a major plus – the sound was now better that they were doing it on a stage.

I looked at the ending taking note of the close ups and the longer shots. And nothing stood out to give away the fact that at least six months separated these clips. I asked Howard how this could be, especially how did they get the colors to match and not jar the viewers sensibilities. He explained that a request had been put into the editor to pull the footage from the foreign shoot so they could review it. They did not project the footage, just held the frames up to the light. They did what they physically could with the set and the actors (as noted above), but the rest of the corrections for color were done in the lab.

First to take a look was the cameraman, then the director and producer followed, all giving their notes to the lab. They would say, “Take out some green” or “add more blue,” the lab tech would take the notes and oblige.

Then it was on to the next project. Howard followed Joel Freeman across the WB lot to take up an AD position under Francis Ford Coppola on Finian’s Rainbow.

“Run, Boy, run.”


About rwoz2

Poet, historian, writer for stage and screen. Responder to Jesus (Romans 5:8)

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