ADG Perspective

November-December 2023

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Page 49 of 163

4 8 P E R S P E C T I V E | N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 3 B e n C a r r é : P a r i s i a n i n H o l l y w o o d M O T I O N P I C T U R E ' S P R E M I E R A R T D I R E C T O R B Y T H O M A S A . WA L S H , P R O D U C T I O N A N D S C E N I C D E S I G N E R A A. SKETCH FOR PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. 1925 PENCIL, CRAYON, CHARCOAL ON CARD (17"X 11"). B. BEN CARRÉ (1970'S) MARK MORRIS PHOTOGRAPHER. Part Three: The Hollywood Years It was during the twenties that the Hollywood studios became fully self- contained campuses and placed their creative workforce under exclusive contracts. These practices further diminished the work opportunities for freelance Art Directors such as Ben Carré. Many of the pictures that Ben made between 1919 and 1930 have been lost, but a few of the best and most challenging productions have been preserved and restored. Phantom of the Opera 1925 Phantom of the Opera was a Universal picture for which Ben was asked to consult. Director Rupert Julian was struggling with his adaptation of Gaston Leroux's novel. Ben had worked at the Paris Opéra Garnier and knew the novel very well. Though the real theater had no subterranean caverns and waterways, Ben was only too happy to create them from his imagination. Ben painted twenty-four concept sketches for the subterranean sequences which were faithfully realized. In addition, he provided a detailed backstory to assist Julian in his staging for the Phantom's world. Don Juan 1926 Don Juan was directed by Alan Crosland, a veteran of Fort Lee, and a frequent collaborator. A romantic adventure set in the 1600s in Rome, John Barrymore starred as the legendary Spanish libertine. Having only six weeks to prep, Ben said, "I should not of attempted this picture if I had not had experience in this period already." His deep knowledge of classical architecture, ornamentation and the necessary lavish decors B

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