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The Door in the Wall (1956)

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  • The Door in the Wall (1956)

    A strange coincidence - yesterday I was looking up the career of Howard (Malcolm) Knight and found this strange little experimental film,'The Door in the Wall'.

    http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b6a920f4b

    The same evening I was browsing through YouTube for something else and up pops 'The Door in the Wall' in two parts posted up by British Pathe.

    Far be it from me to ignore coincidences.

    It's well worth a look - put it on full screen and sit close for the full effect.

    Warning - it takes a while to get going.

    https://youtu.be/yU993U_rWj4?t=6s

    Texan Unveils Novel Process in London

    London. June 19. 1956

    A new production process, Dynamic Frame, devised by a 33-year- old Texan, Glenn Alvey, which allows a variation of the screen according to the dramatic needs of the film, was unveiled to trade audience here. Object of Dynamic Frame is to concentrate audience attention on a particular part of the action, the remaining "irrelevant" portion being blacked out by masking. Screen resembles Cinemascope standing on end.

    Alvey admits that the idea is not new: Elsenstein and other "greats" have used a technique to the same end. For the demonstration, Alvey screened "Door in the Wall," in Vista Vision and Technicolor. Lensed in 10 days with a running time of 30 minutes, the film was deliberately emphatic on the new technique. Howard Thomas produced the film for AB-Pathe and the British Film Institute's Experimental Production Committee.
    Last edited by Anthony McKay; 23rd November 2017, 08:09 AM.

  • #2
    Very interesting, Anthony. I’ve never seen that before. I didn’t see the ending coming, either. I wonder where the garden scenes were filmed. Regarding Malcolm Knight, the boy who played the six years old Wallace, IMDb have got it wrong again. They say he was born in 1935, which would make him 21 in 1956, so that can’t have been the same Malcolm Knight, as the boy in the film was definitely around six years old.
    Last edited by darrenburnfan; 23rd November 2017, 08:33 AM.

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    • #3
      Howard (Malcolm) Knight is the boy in the film - born on April 15, 1950

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      • #4
        I thought it might be him. It appears that he played two parts in the film. One the six years old Wallace as Malcolm Knight and the other the young friend of the older Wallace as Howard Knight.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by darrenburnfan View Post
          I thought it might be him. It appears that he played two parts in the film. One the six years old Wallace as Malcolm Knight and the other the young friend of the older Wallace as Howard Knight.
          I think that's another mistake - Malcolm Knight as Sir Frank Wallace as a child/Howard Knight as 'Frankie' - the BFI seem to have credited the stage name and the real name to the same character twice.

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          • #6
            Yes, it's all a bit mixed up.

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            • #7
              Is that iguanodon the one in Crystal Palace Park that's been refurbished?:

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              • #8
                It certainly looks like it. If so, they've simply lengthened the mouth and added more teeth.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by darrenburnfan View Post
                  It certainly looks like it. If so, they've simply lengthened the mouth and added more teeth.
                  Yes, the iguanodon underwent restoration about two years ago which is shown in the picture in my earlier post. The images below are from a Pathe film made in 1967 which indicate that he had also been refurbished some time after 1956, the year of The Door In The Wall. But whether the entirety of the garden sequence was filmed at Crystal Palace Park I can't yet determine.



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                  • #10
                    I have a dim memory of seeing this film as a child but the memory conflated with 'The Secret Garden', 'The Selfish Giant, and this American pop song which appeared the very same year as this strange film. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Door

                    There seem to be many interpretations as to whether the garden behind the door represents danger, happiness, sexual release or non-rational imagination.

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                    • #11
                      I hope this Canadian didn't imagine that "Dynamic Screen" would be a money-maker like Smell-O-Vision.

                      It would drive people like me and William Wyler insane.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jamal.nazreddin View Post
                        I hope this Canadian didn't imagine that "Dynamic Screen" would be a money-maker like Smell-O-Vision.

                        It would drive people like it and William Wyler insane.
                        This is my hope also.
                        Last edited by Connor; 14th December 2017, 06:55 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Euryale View Post

                          Yes, the iguanodon underwent restoration about two years ago which is shown in the picture in my earlier post. The images below are from a Pathe film made in 1967 which indicate that he had also been refurbished some time after 1956, the year of The Door In The Wall. But whether the entirety of the garden sequence was filmed at Crystal Palace Park I can't yet determine.



                          Here is Carole Ann Ford posing with them in 1973 for that year's Radio Times Doctor Who Special:

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                          • #14
                            There is also this well-known 'Timeslip' publicity shoot.

                            Click image for larger version

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