Lengthy camera set-ups, time-consuming lighting preparations, actors with copious amounts of free time—all are hallmarks of the slow, precise process of making a movie. Here are some nifty glimpses of that process, 25 moments that reveal what lurks just beyond movie camera range.
Stanley Kubrick directs actor Keir Dullea in one of the concluding sequences of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall flank a rifle-wielding John Huston while on location in the Congo for The African Queen (1951).
Woody Allen chats with extra Brooke Shields prior to filming the classroom flashback scene in Annie Hall (1977). Shields, alas, did not appear in the final version of the film.
Director Roger Vadim puts Jane Fonda and John Phillip Law through their paces on the set of the futuristic Barbarella (1968).
Liza Minnelli rests herself on director Bob Fosse during a break from shooting Cabaret (1972) on location in Berlin.
Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Louis Jordan and cast play host to visiting Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on the set of Can-Can (1960). Shortly afterwards, Khrushchev condemned the Cole Porter musical as immoral, stating “We do not want that sort of thing for the Russians.”
Actor Slim Pickens gets ready to ride a nuclear missile to oblivion in the climax of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
Director William Friedkin seems pleased with a pre-possessed Linda Blair on the set of The Exorcist (1973).
It’s teatime for Boris Karloff as costar Colin Clive enjoys a smoke during a break from shooting Frankenstein (1931).
James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor monkey around during a break in filming Giant (1956).
Director and star Charlie Chaplin ponders his next move on the frigid set of The Gold Rush (1925) in Truckee, California.
Henry Fonda touches up his scruff on the set of The Grapes of Wrath (1940).
Director Billy Wilder vividly demontrates to Jack Lemmon how he wants the scene to progress on the set of Irma La Douce (1963).
Brigitte Helm gets a brief respite from the confines of her robot costume in director Fritz Lang’s landmark film Metropolis (1927). Helm experienced minor cuts and bruises while donning the uncomfortable contraption.
Slant boards keep Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn’s elegant attire wrinkle-free during a break on the Burbank set of My Fair Lady (1964).
Janet Leigh and John Gavin share an intimate moment with at least four other people and tons of equipment in Psycho (1960).
Director Clarence Brown directs Greta Garbo and Gavin Gordon in a scene from Romance (1930). On day one of shooting, Gordon dislocated his shoulder and fractured his collarbone in a car accident on the way to the studio. Afraid of being recast if he went to the hospital, Gordon fought through the pain, completed his first scene and promptly fainted. Afterwards, Garbo visited him in the hospital and assured him that production would wait until he recovered.
“I Gotta Hear That Beat,” Ann Miller declares while surrounded by an “orchestra” mostly hidden under the floorboards in Small Town Girl (1953).
From the black-and-white film Some Like It Hot (1959) comes a color behind-the-scenes photograph of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon that reveals the soft pastel tones of their dainty frocks.
An automobile interior is the setting for Burt Lancaster and Barbara Stanwyck in a scene from Sorry, Wrong Number (1948).
Julie Andrews is doused with water before her confrontational scene with Christopher Plummer during location shooting in Austria for The Sound of Music (1965).
Cinematographer James Wong Howe looks on as director W. S. Van Dyke chats with William Powell and Myrna Loy about a scene in The Thin Man (1934).
In a formation that would have pleased Busby Berkeley, Russ Tamblyn, Eliot Feld, Tucker Smith, Harvey Evans, David Bean, Tony Mordente and David Winters warm up and stretch prior to shooting the “Prologue” number in West Side Story (1961).
Aviator Amelia Earhart pays a visit to Cary Grant on the set of Wings in the Dark (1935), which features Grant as an aeronautical engineer working on a system that allows pilots to fly blind in bad weather. Myrna Loy plays Sheila Mason, a character patterned after Earhart.
A costume-less member of The Singer Midgets looks as if he’s about to start trouble while Judy Garland blithely enjoys an issue of Life on a break from The Wizard of Oz (1939).