Comics Creators

Spaced Out Movies - Past Present and Future


Watching ‘Man From UNCLE’ this weekend, I was reminded of a lot of the 60’s and 70’s movies that went in for very stylised design and presentation.

‘2001’ remains a benchmark, and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ is still one of my favourite films;

What other movies really pushed the envelope in this way, when faster film stocks, lenses and radical design made their presence known in movies?


Can you narrow down what you’re describing a bit more? Per box office mojo, not many of us saw Man from UNCLE!


You’re not missing much.

Well, I went looking for blogs or Instagram/Tumblr/whatever pages on what I’m thinking about, but there’s not a lot that’s specifically about that era.

Designers like Ken Adam and filmmakers like Nic Roeg and Mario Bava spring to mind.


Ah, I thought you meant Bava, which I saw a fair bit of in Kingsman as well. Early Michael Mann, Blade Runner, stuff like that? Or a little earlier?


Pre-Bladerunner in the original phase, but any period that references this sort of thing.

But yeah, Bava is a favourite;


Do the credit sequences by Pablo Ferro count? He had radical design, not much about space though…


They do, but there’s some great resources on titles out there. Graphics and art and design are well catered for.

I’m looking for more about the production design side, including sets, costumes, cinematography etc.

A bit of Ken Adam for example;


It came out in the Mid-80’s but Brazil blew my mind when I saw it as a teenager. That sort of strange, design aesthetic is really Terry Gilliam’s stock in trade, but I love the weird mix of industrial collapse with 1950’s austerity Britain.


Our Man Flint and In Like Flint starring James Coburn pretty well roasted all the spy tropes of the time, as well as Dean Martin’s Matt Helm movie (The Silencers, etc.)

Plus, lots of “sci-fi” like Japan’s Starman movies (Attack from Space, Invaders from Space and Evil Brain from Outer Space) apparently cornered the market on form-fitting silvery costumes. These were used from dresses with hundreds of jewels (Forbidden Planet) to radiation suits. The inside of a space ship might look like the back room of a bar with overflowing ashtrays and wooden furniture holding up panels of blinking lights, but it screamed SCIENCE FICTION because the crew was wearing shiny silver onesies.


Some of Ken Russell’s movies have a unique artificial and hallucinogenic quality to them, with a hefty dose of camp.
Tommy, The Devils, Salome’s Last Dance and Lair of the White Worm are particular favourites of mine.

Desperate Remedies was an odd little NZ movie that I came across in the 90’s, starring Hercules’ little mate from the TV series, Michael Hurst. That had a very similar vibe to Ken Russell, with abstract sets like a stage play instead of any location shooting.

For stylised presentation, Peter Greenaway’s well worth watching: Zed and Two Noughts and Drowning By Numbers were probably his high point


I didn’t even think of Tommy…Great album. Strange, strange movie (in my opinion).