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Dying to Get into the Movies

 

During the making of the 1926 version of Ben-Hur, several scenes were filmed in Italy. The movie's famous sea battle between Roman soldiers and pirates was shot at the seaport of Livorno. The director needed hundreds of extras, so he hired local residents to play these parts. The only requirement was that they had to be able to swim. The scene would be magnificent. Several Roman galleys had been built for the battle and were anchored offshore. The extras were outfitted in replicas of Roman armor, including heavy metal breastplates and helmets. The cameramen and the director were on modern boats anchored on the perimeter of the Roman ships.

The director shouted, "Action!" and the battle began.

Everything was going perfectly. The costumed residents of Livorno put their hearts into the fight. The special effects people had arranged for a few fires to break out on the Roman galleys to create even more excitement. But on one of the galleys, the fire got out of control and began to spread through the entire ship.

Frightened extras jumped into the sea to escape the flames.

"This is great!" the director said.

"No it's not!" said his assistant. "Look out there! Some of the extras are having trouble swimming. Stop the filming so we can pull them out of the water!"

One of the cameramen looked at the director.

"Keep the cameras rolling!" the director commanded.

"But they're drowning!" the assistant said.

"I can get more extras for ten dollars a head. But this scene is costing me a hundred grand!" As several of the extras sank beneath the waves, the director yelled to the cameramen, "Keep the damn cameras rolling!"

 

Ben Hur 1926 Movie Poster

Ben-Hur-1926-movie-urban-myth-poster

 

 

Story by Eric Dylan    Copyright Weird-Websites.info Do not copy for use on blogs, websites etc

 

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