Friday, August 10, 2012

Carlo Rambaldi (1925 - 2012)

The media is now reporting the death of Oscar winner Carlo Rambaldi (1925 – 2012), the so-called “father of E.T.”  Mr. Rambaldi was eighty-six years old when he passed, and during his long career he earned visual effects Academy Awards (and special achievements…) for King Kong (1976), Alien (1979) and E.T. (1982).

Mr. Rambaldi also contributed to the “realization” of the aliens in Spielberg’s Close Encounters (1977), and worked on significant films such as David Lynch’s Dune (1984), the Stephen King adaptation, Silver Bullet (1985), and Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975).

Gazing across this impressive list of films, it is plain that Carlo Rambaldi boasted an incredible imagination, and more than that, the rare capacity to bring his imagination to life in a way that resonated meaningfully with mass audiences.  I recently re-watched and reviewed E.T. (1982), and the special effects very much held up, even after thirty years.  The same is undeniably true of Close Encounters and Alien.

This great behind-the-scenes talent will be sorely missed going forward, but as I often mention in such tributes, we live in a truly remarkable time for artists such as Mr. Rambaldi.  His work will not disappear or be forgotten with the passage of time.  Rather, film preserves his talent for the ages, and therefore, generations from now viewers will yet marvel at the humanity of his E.T., or his other remarkable accomplishments.

1 comment:

  1. He also created the mask for the title character in Bava's "Baron Blood," many a giant monster for the Peplum genre, and probably worked on more movies than he is actually credited for. He worked with the big 3 of Italian Horror (M. Bava, Argento, Fulci). In fact he had to provide the prop dogs from the vivisection scene in "Lizard in a Woman's Skin" to a magistrate in order to prove that Fulci did not in fact use real dogs in the sequence.