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Creature Suit Analysis - Part 1 - Fur


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Guest Skeptical Greg

Bill:

And reading these discussions, I frankly most rate almost every bit of it as the forth and least reliable evidence group, which is why I've personally tried to stay clear of it.

Except when the forth kind supports your conclusions ?

So while I don't know if John actually said such, I believe he did because it's true.
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Greg wrote:

"Bill:

QUOTE (mine)

And reading these discussions, I frankly most rate almost every bit of it as the forth and least reliable evidence group, which is why I've personally tried to stay clear of it.

(quote Greg):Except when the forth kind supports your conclusions ?

QUOTE (Mine)

So while I don't know if John actually said such, I believe he did because it's true. "

Hi Greg:

Actually it's not the forth kind. It's first hand professional experience of my own which afirms that John Chamber's appraisal is reasonable and correct. So it's first hand varified, not forth hand rumor.

:oops:

Bill

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest JohnWS
I even took a fresh look at the 1976 King Kong movie, because the suit has relatively shorter hair, and frankly saw things about the Kong suit which made me admire "Patty" all the more. It isn't anything so conclusive as to settle the debate once and for all, but what I saw, specifically with the fur around the head, neck and shoulders, if "Patty" is a suit, she's better than the 1976 Kong, despite it's big studio budget and the talents of top Hollywood fabricators crossing over six union skill categories.

Yet you seem to acknowledge the problems with Kong at least in these two extracts:

Carlo tried to overrule alomst everything he wanted to do, or take credit for it if it was good and he couldn't overrule Rick. So what you see isn't Rick's best work, so much as the best Rick could do against a system so stacked against he that could hardly do anything.

So if you ask what went wrong, actually almost everything did. It was a nightmare job, and Rick struggled to endure it, rather than a job where he had control and let his true talent bloom.

To add - as far as I am aware the Kong suit was made of stiff black bear hides against Baker's suggestions (his earlier two choices - hand tied, [overridden] - special order, high quality artificial fur from a textile manufacturer [overridden]). When the bear hide fur stood up (as predicted) it was decided, by Rambaldi to cut it short making it look even worse according to Baker.

Is it really objective to compare this to 'Patty'?

Edit: Words & things

Edited by JohnWS
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Bill

JohnWS:

"To add - as far as I am aware the Kong suit was made of stiff black bear hides against Baker's suggestions (his earlier two choices - hand tied, [overridden] - special order, high quality artificial fur from a textile manufacturer [overridden]). When the bear hide fur stood up (as predicted) it was decided, by Rambaldi to cut it short making it look even worse according to Baker."

Yes, bear hides were used.

"Is it really objective to compare this to 'Patty'?"

as far as general fur suits go, yes, it's comparative. It represents proceses and materials that would have been available in 1967, and represents an approximation of what would be considered a "quality" professional suit.

Bill

Edited by Bill
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Guest JohnWS
"Is it really objective to compare this to 'Patty'?"

as far as general fur suits go, yes, it's comparative. It represents proceses and materials that would have been available in 1967, and represents an approximation of what would be considered a "quality" professional suit.

Seriously, I think it reads like proponent 'cherry picking':

if "Patty" is a suit, she's better than the 1976 Kong, despite it's big studio budget and the talents of top Hollywood fabricators crossing over six union skill categories.

The above statement looks very impressive as a stand alone. But it totally ignores all the artistic & technical constraints that we both know, and you have acknowledged existed.

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Bill

JohnWS:

"Seriously, I think it reads like proponent 'cherry picking':"

I take offense at your "cherry picking" remark, because it implies a person who ignores relevent facts and has an agenda to win or advance instead of achieving a true understanding of an issue.

My intent is achieving a true understanding of the issue. Your intent appears to be simply discrediting mine.

I expected more of you, John.

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Guest JohnWS
I take offense at your "cherry picking" remark, because it implies a person who ignores relevent facts and has an agenda to win or advance instead of achieving a true understanding of an issue.

My intent is achieving a true understanding of the issue.

Ouch! Sorry if it offended you. Perhaps I could have worded it better, I don't know. But to be frank - that's how it comes across to me (of course that's only my opinion). I've said all I intend to on the matter in the above posts. I don't intend to elaborate further.

Your intent appears to be simply discrediting mine.

Really? As far as I'm aware I've only ever posted facts, or questions relating to facts. If I don't completely agree with something you say based on what I believe is fact, I'll say so.

I expected more of you, John.

I've no idea why you would expect anything of me.

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Bill

JohnWS:

"I've no idea why you would expect anything of me. "

I expected more of you because, in the past 4 months, you have consistantly demonstrated knowledge, fairness, and civility, and in that context, the recent "cheery picking" accusation was certainly not what I had come to expect from your posts.

I respect that you have a right to judge me, as everyone in the forum and even on the internet does have such a right. And if your remarks of the prior post are an accurite reflection of your opinion of me and my work, I defend your right to express yourself. That said, I take the remark as an insult , because I strive constantly to be as impartial and balanced in my analysis as I can be, with no agenda, no intent to win an argument or debate with bad, poorly chosen or "cherry-picked" facts.

In keeping with the apparent spirit of your last remark, I will expect nothing of you in the future.

Bill

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wolftrax

Well, I think I can understand in that the statement that the Patterson "suit" is better than the Kong suit, as Kong would be put forward as a representative of the best at what could be accomplished at the time, from the best, as Rick Baker worked on it. The qualifier in that statement that needs to be emphasized is that Baker was only allowed to do the sculpts, he wasn't allowed to make the fur suit, and his ideas and protestations were rejected, therefore it really isn't representative of the best at that time, and Baker himself didn't like it.

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Bill

Wolftrax:

"Well, I think I can understand in that the statement that the Patterson "suit" is better than the Kong suit, as Kong would be put forward as a representative of the best at what could be accomplished at the time, from the best, as Rick Baker worked on it. The qualifier in that statement that needs to be emphasized is that Baker was only allowed to do the sculpts, he wasn't allowed to make the fur suit, and his ideas and protestations were rejected, therefore it really isn't representative of the best at that time, and Baker himself didn't like it."

I believe everything you said is correct, as much as I know of that film. In another sense, no job is "perfect", in that it usually isn't as good as it potentially could have been, becuase of some limitations, constraints or other mitigating factors. But this imposition of mitigating factors which make an actual result less than it's potential, this can (and should) be applied equally to any proposed hoaxed fabrication, so in that sense, the professional effort, despite it's problems, can generally still be presumed to have a better result that an amateurish or low budget pro/semipro effort (which are generally plagued with as many, if not more, problems that degrade the final quality).

So while the Kong work is well publicized as being plagued with problems, it is not alone. My Swamp Thing work was filled with problems beyond my control, and what I delivered was far below the potential it could have been.

The Kong comparison in my notes was simply one example, based on a film I had an opportunity to see again shortly before I put those review notes together, so I simply cited it as one example I had reviewed with the Patty comparison in mind. It was not selected for any other reason.

One of the problems of comparing known suits to Patty is that no one can possibly have seen every suit, and any number of selective criteria can be used to disqualify any specific suit if a person did not like the comparative result. This is why I try to focus more of fundamental material capabilities and general workmanship/fabrication issues that are common to the majority of suits.

And I try to be open to the thoughts of others, as much as one can, in my evaluation.

Bill

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wolftrax
And I try to be open to the thoughts of others, as much as one can, in my evaluation.

Bill

I agree Bill, and I don't think JohnWS was arguing otherwise.

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Guest JohnWS

Bill - something has gone off the rails here between us and I'm not quite sure what.

"I've no idea why you would expect anything of me. "

I expected more of you because, in the past 4 months, you have consistently demonstrated knowledge, fairness, and civility, and in that context, the recent "cheery picking" accusation was certainly not what I had come to expect from your posts.

Actually - thank you for the compliments. Sincerely. What I was alluding to (and I'm quite happy to concede again I may not have worded it in an ideal fashion) in the quote you copied above was a couple of things. I sort of read into 'not what I had come to expect from you' was that you had put yourself in a position to pronounce judgement on my character. Secondly I didn't think that I had really made that much of a contribution to your threads that you would have really have much expectation of me at all. I guess I was wrong.

In keeping with the apparent spirit of your last remark, I will expect nothing of you in the future.

As explained above - no spirit intended - if it came over that way I apologise for not being precise enough (I'll be honest I often heavily edit my posts prior to submitting as they seem overly long sometimes). If you've reset your 'Expectometer' so be it :thumbsup: .

wolftrax penultimate post in this thread is dead-on to what I was getting at. If I may elaborate (I know, I wasn't going to :scratchhead: ) my take on this. When you mentioned:

I even took a fresh look at the 1976 King Kong movie, because the suit has relatively shorter hair, and frankly saw things about the Kong suit which made me admire "Patty" all the more.
My bold.

-the 'Objectivity Alarm' went off (it's the green one next the 'Expectometer' :lol: ). Amongst all the other contraints placed on Baker the only reason Kong had short hair was because it was cut short because the longer hair looked bad (over the suit padding as Baker had predicted) and as a result looked even worse than the worst fake fur you could buy according to Baker.

As far as I'm aware and in my opinion, Kong was far from a standard picture where there were things that didn't work out.

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Bill

JohnWS:

I do regret we had a brief "falling out" (for want of a better phrase, and hope it does not offend). During the last 4 1/2 months of my participation, I have come to evaluate almost every person who posts to my threads, and to whom I reply, and some people impress me as more mature, responsible, and sincerely interested in getting to some truthful understanding. I considered you one of those, even though I perceive you as having some significant differences with me in the issues. And I don't just gravitate to people who agree with me, rather I do value the dissenting opinion of others if they simply present their dissenting ideas in a well reasoned and instructive way. So I have always appreciated your posts.

That said, I'll try to respond to the Kong suit issue you brought up. You said:

"the 'Objectivity Alarm' went off (it's the green one next the 'Expectometer' ). Amongst all the other contraints placed on Baker the only reason Kong had short hair was because it was cut short because the longer hair looked bad (over the suit padding as Baker had predicted) and as a result looked even worse than the worst fake fur you could buy according to Baker.

As far as I'm aware and in my opinion, Kong was far from a standard picture where there were things that didn't work out."

Yes, I agree many constraints were placed on Rick on that film. Remember, I was one of two people recommending the DeLaurentis people contact Rick (Jim Danforth being the other, and Rick knew about the project, but Jim was being interviewed as a prospect to do Kong and Rick, being a man of intregity, would not try to contact the DeLaurentis people and undercut Jim's prospects of getting the bid. After I talked to the Kong People, and recommended they call Rick, and after Jim apparently did the same, with our encouragement, Rick did contact then and ultimately did get the deal. And I kept in touch with Rick during the work on the suits (both his original prototype he did alone, and the actual picture suits with Carlo) so I am familiar with the problems.

As far as trimming real fur to shorten it, it generally makes real fur look worse, because real fur has varying lengths of the guard (long) hairs and the guard hairs also taper to a point, giving the outer fur of a real hide a nice "feathered" kind of blended unity (not meaning feathers like a bird, but in hairdressing, a feathered cut is varying cut lengths to look less like it was cut). Cutting hair on hides shorter almost always loses that feathered dynamic, and definitely loses the tapering diameter of real guard hairs. So almost invariably, trimming real hide fur shorter is a dumb move and results in a poorer quality for the final effect.

So, I will agree with you that trimming the fur was a stupid choice and resulted in a poorer quality suit. Now as far as the opinion that by cutting it, it looked worse than good fake fur, every person's appraisal of "looks good or bad" is a personal and very subjective issue, and a person's degree of familiarity with an issue also is a magnifier of that opinion (a person of greater expertise tends to see finer detail, and thus may pronounce as bad a smaller defect than a person with more casual familiarity would judge.) Might be a mitigating factor in his opinion, just a thought.

That said, now we get to a Patty comparison. Suffice to say, we still don't have a definitive conclusion if Patty is a suit. And if she is, we don't have a definitive description of how such suit was made, what materials used, skill level of suitmakers, and any problems encountered by such makers. All we really have is what we see in the film. And so any comparison to Patty really boils down to what we see in the film, as compared to what we see in other movies where we know suits are in fact used, and we can see them quite clearly, given the finer clarity of the filming.

Hair length aside, the issues of anatomical proportions, neck hump, shadow patterns, the ability of Patty to turn her head so far around and then back forward and not have any indication of a ruffled neck seam on the back of the neck, which shows very well in the PG Film, the flow of apparent skin tissue from the chest to the left upper arm (into the bicep area0 on the arm swings back of the look back sequence, all collectively struck me as more real than anything I saw in the Kong movie. So it goes beyond mere issues of hair/fur length or lack of feathered cutting of the Kong fur. It goes to more fundamental issues of suit design and capability of the time.

My comparison of the Kong suit to Patty was simply one example, not ment to be the definitive example or to exclude other suits as comparative examples. My original comment was simply an impression, my reaction and thought of seeing the 1976 Kong suit again for the first time in about 20 years, and seeing it for the first time with some specific and conscious comparasion to Patty.

So I simply presented my thoughts, in an abreviated form. And that's how the comment came about.

Bill

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