Sunday, February 21, 2010

A face in the crowd of BARABBAS

by Richard Fleischer

Trying to use the huge crowd to its best advantage, I decided to jump out of continuity and shoot the end of the gladiatorial battle between Quinn and our chief villain, Jack Palace, where Tony is victorious and the crowd calls for Palance's death. Nine thousand people screaming, with their thumbs down! What a shot! The result was unexpected. When the crowd saw Tony, in response to their thumbs-down gesture, kill Palance, they cheered, got up, and started to leave the arena. All nine thousand of them. They thought the show was over! It took an hour to get them stopped and headed back to their seats.
On the second day of shooting we were working closer to the crowd and I could scrutinize it. I was looking for good character faces I could feature in various reaction shots. There were some excellent types, but one face truly stood out, that of an eighteen-year-old girl of stunning beauty. She was gorgeous. A knockout. I pointed her out to my assistant and told him I wanted her in every close shot I could possibly use her in. And I asked him to find out who she was and where she came from. It turned out she was the daughter of an officer at the U.S. military base in Vincenza.
It wasn't too long before Jack Palance also spotted her. And it wasn't too much longer that she moved in with him. Her name was Sharon Tate.

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