Two Weeks in Another Town (MGM 1962), interior of a hotel lobby in Rome, Italy, in the 1960s
30'-0” x 19'-10"
Urie McCleary, Production Designer
George W. Davis, Art Director
George Gibson, Scenic Art Supervisor
Scenic Art Attributed to: Ben Carré, Harry Tepker, Wayne Hill, Clark Provins, Bob Oberbeck, Jim Dobson, Fred Tuch, Bob Wolfe
Let's head to Rome! Selected for excellent drawing and linear perspective, this backdrop glows with detailed marble interiors, decorative furniture, illuminated chandeliers, and windows designed to fill the space with light. Here we offer a unique opportunity for our audience to walk behind the drop to discover the magic of translucent backdrop painting. Translucent backlighting effects were among the arsenal of tools used by scenic artists to create depth in their illusions. Notice the dark gray painted sections of the backsides of these backdrops. Some areas have little to no paint. This "back-painting" technique helps specific regions of the scene fall into shadow, creating time-of-day changes, architectural enhancements, or a complete transformation. With a shift in lighting, clouds can suddenly appear filled with rain, windows illuminated, and candles ablaze.
Clark Provins was one of MGM's most influential scenic artists, leading the execution of all of the Sistine Chapel Backdrops for MGM's 1968 papal drama, The Shoes of the Fisherman. He was so effective at painting light and skies that fellow artists said you could feel the heat coming from the desert scenes. Note here how the colors and light shifts throughout the room.