Top SFX shots No. 49: Just Imagine

News Martin Anderson
29 Dec 2008 - 09:44

David Butler's 'answer' to Germany's Metropolis (see below) apes Fritz Lang's astounding imagery whilst jettisoning its social message with utter abandon. This Buck Rogers-like tale finds briefly-popular US comedian El Brendel catapulted into New York, 1980, where the numbered citizenry get around in flying cars and where marriage is arranged by the state. Though the movie's early visuals are spectacular, they are strictly there to establish period, and Just Imagine soon descends into a poorly-written (and notoriously anti-Semitic) musical. One advancement on Metropolis is in evidence in this shot, however, as the camera actually begins to move around the city. Unfortunately the remarkable model-work and good camera-movement is unwisely used as a projection backdrop for a full-sized flying-car prop obviously too heavy to be suspended on wires. Nonetheless, the amount of motion in this shot, combined with excellent and mobile miniature-work, makes it perhaps the earliest predecessor to the 'Spinner' sequences in Blade Runner.

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