Talk:The Fountain of Youth (film)
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I had originally incorporated this text from Rick Jason's fascinating memoir then decided that it was too lengthy for that and might violate Wikipedia's policy:
Inventive is a word that doesn’t come close to what this genius could do. He used a technique I’d never heard of, and one that I don’t believe has ever been used since. Rather than shooting scenes on Hollywood sets, he photographed still pictures of the exteriors and interiors he needed. What he couldn’t find for interiors, he had built, photographed, then tore down.
To shoot a scene, there was a slide projector sixty feet or so away from the camera that projected the still onto a huge opaque screen (which more than filled the camera lens) in front of which we worked. A few pieces of furniture, or whatever were required in the foreground to dress the set, completed the arrangement. Most scenes were in either medium or close shots and, rather than cut from one scene to the other, Welles had the actor stand in place while the opaque screen behind him dissolved to the new scene. If the actor was going from an exterior to an interior, the lights on him would go dark, leaving him in silhouette during the backscreen dissolve. As the background changed to the interior, the lights came up on his face and he removed his hat and coat as the camera pulled back revealing the new interior set.
Everything had to work with exactness, which was extremely time consuming. Welles was doing a lot of the cutting in the camera. The effect was astounding, though subtle, and Welles settled for nothing less than perfection.