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Boy's Cinema (04/Mar/1933) - The News Reel: Strange "Extras" in Films



The News Reel

Strange "Extras" in Films

One of the amusing scenes in Harold Lloyd's "Movie Crazy," which many of you will be seeing now, is provided by a fly. By the use of a little honey the fly was induced to alight on the brow of Arthur Housman, where it crawls leisurely along, despite his efforts to drive it away. By the same simple means in another picture, Roland Young, the director, lured a fly to rest on the cheek of an actor. But before this could be done five flies had to be trapped for the purpose, and when the time arrived for filming, four of the pests evidently developed camera fright and flew away. It is not said whether stardom was offered to the brave one which remained!

Many are the strange extras that producers have used in films from time to time. When making "The Lost Squadron," a number of sea-gulls were photographed for the sake of "atmosphere,", and in "The Dove," an army of moths was filmed on the wing. They were lured into photographic range in the Los Angeles River bed. There, for two clays, they had been baited by a strong-scented sweet material sprayed over bushes. Then white cloths twenty feet square were erected at various spots over the baited area, after which powerful arc-lights were turned upon the white cloths. The required army of moths swarmed up at once and were filmed.

For the B.I.P. picture, "Mr. Bill the Conqueror," a dozen hens, a number of ducks, geese, ten pigs and two cows were filmed during a fire scene at the farm. Single cats have now and again appeared in films, but when it came to handling fifty of these animals at once, it is easy to imagine the job the director must have had. The fifty felines were the leading players in a dramatic scene in an empty house in Alfred Hitchcock's production, "Number 17." As the story was a thriller, the cats were expected to dash out in terror when shots were fired inside the house. But the cats were not going to be frightened so easily. The precious time of the studio was being wasted, and then at last Alfred Hitchcock had a brainwave. He ordered quantities of cats' meat and had it all placed outside the "empty house." That was enough. Those cats just gave one sniff and then the great rush began. The scene was filmed.