• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Wednesday, January 09, 2013

    Books by Film Designers

    I've had a query from a reader and as my own answer is a little long, but also not entirely adequate I thought I'd post it here in case anyone has anything to add, or in case it was of interest to other people.
    Matt, I know that many of the better films through the years have hired great designers who did their research and created outstanding and accurate fashions, props and sets for their films. What I need are photos that will provide me with some details. It’s my hope you may have the names of some books from both American and foreign publishers. An added hope is maybe some of the designers actually wrote some of these books. Thanks.
    My immediate thought was of Henry S. Noerdlinger's book "Moses and Egypt" (pictured above) which describes itself as "The Documentation to the Motion Picture The Ten Commandments". It was published in 1956 by University of Southern California Press as an accompaniment to Cecil B. DeMille's second pass at The Ten Commandments. Noerdlinger was the official researcher for the film and goes to great depth in his research although sadly DeMille then left most of it out in the final work.

    Whilst I'm sure there are other such books from the period, I personally don't know them. I have various books released as movie tie ins from Bible films, but most of these are more glossy books of publicity stills rather than works related to the design. It's certainly possible that some of these are still around, but I suspect it's something that wasn't popular at the time.

    The other book in the above photo is more in line with what is desired, and it, too, is from a Moses film, 1998's The Prince of Egypt. It styles itself as a "Movie Scrapbook" and the front cover explains that it is "An in-depth look behind the scenes". Inside it takes various looks behind the scenes, including one called "Creating the Design". From memory similar books have been released for other more recent Bible films, though if they have I don't think I have any.

    Actually though these things are far more likely to pop up as extra features on the DVD/Blu-ray discs. Special editions of most of the major Bible films have been made, and are often full of this sort of information - The Passion of the Christ for example is packed with this extra features of this sort, as also is The Miracle Maker. These obviously aren't quite still photos but if someone is just trying to get a general impression then film is as good as a book, and still pictures can be achieved from screen grabs on your PC/laptop. If you don't have any software that does this, then I'd recommend VLC which is open source (and therefore free), widely used, and well thought of.

    If anyone has anything to add, please do chip in in the comments below. I know I've been a bit slow recently in moderating comments, but I'll keep a special watch out over the next few weeks.

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    • At 1:36 am, January 15, 2013, Anonymous DavidMorgan said…

      I like your web site and blog posts a lot, they are very inspiring and informative. Thank you for providing such quality post.

      Just wanted to say that reading the Bible is so very important for me. Finding time to spend in the Word of God is probable the best use of my time. I also like the Audio Bible and listen to that when I am driving. Found that to be a great time saver.

      Problem is that people really don't seem to have enough time to read or listen to the Bible as much as they would like to in today's hectic pace.

      However, I try to put time aside everyday to read my Bible, If I don’t then I just feel that my day is not complete and I'm not fulfilled. Some people are dedicated to working out, playing golf, and many other things they do all the time.

      For me it’s reading my Bible and I would advise the same for everyone. It’s a source of joy and inspiration as well as comfort and encouragement.

      God Bless you in your ministry

      David Morgan

    • At 10:46 am, January 16, 2013, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks David.



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