(frames from original comic/graphic novel by J. O’Barr)
Alex McDowell is one of my favorite, current production designers.
He also inadvertently shaped my tastes / aesthetic/ geekdom by production designing the first two movies in THE CROW franchise. Yes, I’m an uber-geek. It’s cool. I can live with it.
By the way – Alex McDowell started his career designing album covers for The Cure and Siouxie and the Banshees. Then he moved onto art directing music videos and commercials, and then directed some too. You know. No big deal. Later, he designed a few movies you might have heard of. I’ve been a fan of his work since THE CROW. He’ll get an special blog post from me soon, no doubt – he’s amazing!
Gothic-romantic-vengeance-cheesiness-possibly-bad-acting aside, the first two films in THE CROW franchise are gorgeous. Iconic. Visually incredible.
THE CROW, Dir.: Alex Proyas, 1994
“I think that the starting point for the design was, obviously, the comic book,” McDowell said. “The imagery of that is great, and it is also very simple… We tried to take the simplicity of the comic book to the film. The setting is a decayed inner city; a place that has gone so far down the tubes, it’s beyond redemption. We really wanted to get across that the city is like a war zone.”
“McDowell made the cathedral his central design point.”
You can see the cathedral elements in the loft that belongs to Eric and Shelley. The set is heavily influenced by the apartment drawn in the comics too.
Gideon’s Pawn Shop
Top Dollar’s Loft & Nightclub
“The nightclub is important because we could use it to really hammer home the idea that the music has a lot to do with the characters,” said McDowell. “We drew upon the kind of the end of the world sensibility that punk had about it. Club Trash is based on a combination of clubs that I have been to in the last ten years. We had all been to that special kind of illegal underground night-club…We had been in luck that at this location there is a great, deserted concrete factory…it is what every nightclub owner would be looking for. The idea is that Top Dollar lives above the nightclub and we were actually able to do that with this space. We literally set his office four floors up and he can look down.”
All Illustrations for THE CROW by Darren Gilford
Happy Devil’s Night, everyone!
More on McDowell and THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS tomorrow!
Ernie Hudson in his shorts, dude! You know you wanted to see that. Great Set Dec in this scene.
“You still have your hat on.”
…tons of DVD torrent sites in Germany for more screencaps…
And scans by me, from The Crow: The Movie book by Jeff Conner & Robert Zuckerman