PAUSE IT: What do you see? George Sanders and Ella Raines embrace on a New England country hillside, a romantic scene perfect in a way that only a Hollywood film can be. But, look closer and you’ll see that all is not quite what it seems. The background: the trees, grass and hills, though lush as a summer’s day, are not real. These are but figments of our imagination — the suspension of disbelief. Director Robert Siodmak used the photographic technique known as rear projection to bring this scene to life. Though less common in today’s film and television, rear projection was an in-camera special effect that was a staple of early 20th century film, along with matte paintings and the aptly-named front projection. In recent years, the advent of CGI technology has replaced such effects, but look closely the next time you are watching a driving or outdoors scene in your favorite classic movie.

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945)
Director: Robert Siodmak
Director of Photography: Paul Ivano
Cast: Geraldine Fitzgerald, George Sanders, Ella Raines
Available From Olive Films on DVD and Blu-ray.

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