The undersea ‘Realm of Glass’ set from The Thief of Bagdad (1924, dir. Raoul Walsh) Art direction by William Cameron Menzies.
To prepare the set for the underwater world, a family of artisans spent three months hand-blowing the required glass pieces.
“Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be ‘some one,’ like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the entire empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must need pity the Opera ghost…”
-Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera (1911)
Above: Diagram of a glass painting setup (Artist: E.G.Lutz, from his 1927 book The Motion Picture Cameraman)
Below: A behind-the-scenes photo showing a glass-shot setup for Slander the Woman (1923). This shot establishes the ice skaters on a frozen lake with the glass painting finishing off the mountains and lodge above their heads (via)
“In her career as a screenwriter, depictions of alternative lifestyles became her trademark, and June Mathis was proud of this as well. She wrote a shot of two lesbians into a cafe scene for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and in a banquet scene at the French château, ‘I had the German officers coming down the stairs with women’s clothing on. To hundreds of people that meant no more than a masquerade party. To those who have lived and read, and who understand life, that scene stood out as one of the most terrific things in the picture.’” (via)