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THE QUEEN'S PINE TREE

A DESIGN4FILM STORY 

FROM THE FILM

ON A CLEAR DAY

 

When we were in England shooting On a Clear Day with Barbara Streisand and scouting the Brighton Pavilion. Vincent Minnelli selected the wide shot of the pavilion he wanted. 

However, he kept stumbling over a small pine tree, recently planted. He was asked politely if he could move a little further away from the tree to give the crew room to set up? . No, He liked where he was and how difficult was it to move one small pine tree? With that he left and the shovels came out. It would have been a simple task to move it. However, the head botanist turned pale, stopped the crew and explained that this was a very rare specimen given to the Queen and it was impossible to uproot it without great precaution. After consultation with the experts it was insanely decided that if we came no closer than 8 feet from the tree base we could move it and replace it later avoiding any possibility of root damage . That called for a huge 16 foot root box, earth moving equipment, cranes and a giant hole in the ground that had to be re-filled and sodded over. This was all done overnight under working lights and triple overtime. All to move a three foot high sapling. When the job was done we placed a small stake in ground to indicate the camera position, where the tree once was. On the day of the shoot Vincent got out of his limo. As he was led to the spot he had selected. He took out his view finder, mused a bit, took a step or two this way and that way and after about 3 minute of scurrying around said to the DP "this is it, lets set up here. Sadly for us he was standing 10' away of the original tree position, as such there would have been no reason to move it. . And we wonder why feature films cost so much ;-))

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