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Dick Smith

Friday 15 August 2014, 10:03

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

The legendary Hollywood makeup artist Dick Smith died recently. His groundbreaking work changed the face of modern cinema.

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    Comment number 1.

    I watched The Fear God documentary a few years ago and remember how great it was to hear Dick Smith talk with so much passion and with so much detail about his craft. I had the same feeling whilst watching the behind the scenes documentary about Taxi Driver where he explained how he achieved all the different effects (bullets holes to the face, explosion of hand etc) during the famous final shoot-out scene.

    What I got from watching these two interviews was not just how dedicated he was to the cause but how much he enjoyed his work as well.

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    Comment number 2.

    What a genius of his profession Dick Smith is and what an amazing variety of mammoth films to have been associated with.
    True passion and creativity bringing us faces that evoke all modes of expression.Just hearing the man relay his thoughts surrounding his time on the set with Friedkind,tells us he can go blow for blow with anyone.
    Thank you for creating the imagery taking place in Georgetown,that still to this day sends shivers down my creaking spine.
    Self effacing,yet the architect of hundreds of them..Thank you Sir.

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    Comment number 3.

    "work changed the face of modern cinema." yep, we see what you've done there. But perfectly apt, and putting that aside, a very good tribute to a great artist.

    Tangible effects where practical still beat most CGI mo-cap hands down (barring Apes, obviously).

    Thanks for this tribute. Could you get someone to program a terrestrial showing of your documentary, if only off the back of its sad relevancy?

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    Comment number 4.

    A brilliant artist of an art that is, tragically, steadily in decline due to the dawn of CGI and mo-cap. The work he did on The Godfather and Taxi Driver is superb, and it just goes to show how challenging make-up artistry can be, on one hand the artist has to be creative and fantastical, and on the other hand, the artist has to create a portrayal of a certain realism and logic. That clip that was included is one such example; Smith had to be shocking, but also the idea that Friendkin instilled in him about gangrenous sores is a masterstroke.

    I find it heartbreaking how mo-cap and CGI is replacing practical make up effects. Not only because yet another cinematic field is slowly dying out, but because CGI still looks fake. I agree that mo-cap has come a long long way, and I for one am happy to see it succeed. But having said that, I still find practical hand made make up effects appreciative. Just look at the transformation scene in An American Werewolf in London, and then compare it to the transformation scene at the end of Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire. Both were hilarious (the latter was hilarious for the wrong reason) But only one was truly jaw dropping (the former obviously)

    Smith was a sensational artist, who not only gave Rick Baker a chance, but also introduced Stan Winston to James Cameron. There is a story that I've read that when Cameron was prepping The Terminator, he desperately wanted Dick Smith to do the cyborg creation and make up. Smith immediately refused by stating that he hates doing robots and that Cameron should ask for Stan Winston, and what a collaboration that turned out to be.

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    Comment number 5.

    The great Dick Smith. Thanks Mark, for releasing a blog around this great man's genius. The days of practical effects are becoming a distant memory - unfortunately. His work speaks for itself, along with those he inspired. I find CGI effects quite tiresome, and presents a lack of imagination. We need more like Mr. Smith. Oh, how I pine for the days of practical effects.


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