Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Movie poster art by Reynold Brown.
The photographs shown here today offer a rare and unique look behind the scenes of a 50s "giant bug" movie. The model-making and special effects of Universal's THE DEADLY MANTIS (1957) were shared between Cleo E. Baker (1895-1984), who had built miniatures for earlier monster movies including FRANKENSTEIN (1931), BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) and THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936), and Fred Knoth (1907-1976), who worked on films that included ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948) and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957).

The first photo shows the miniature mantis model supported by a stand. The subsequent photos show how the model was incorporated into the staging of film shots for the movie that turned it from a miniature to a giant monster!

The Deadly Mantis (Universal International, 1957). Reference Photos (5) (8" X 10").
Vintage gelatin silver, single weight, glossy photos. "Ready for My Closeup, Mr. Juran." This unique lot of "reference photos" displays some very interesting insights as to how small models were used in the creation of this fun big-bug classic sci-fi from the late 1950s. Note the small model of the mantis affixed to a platform for close-ups, and in the next shot, how the close-up shot would actually be framed to exclude the platform. The next three shots show a progression of pre-production planning with toy models through to the integrated shot using actual wrecked cars and a background overlay of the mantis. Great group of rare photos, which would have been produced in only a few copies. Only one has a slight discoloration and a small crease in the lower left border. Very Fine+.

BONUS: See the Crestwood House adaptation of THE DEADLY MANTIS in an earlier MMW post HERE.

EXTRA: THE DEADLY MANTIS lobby card set.

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