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The Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day ain’t so tough!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s Behind the Scenes pic! When you hear stories about old Hollywood you usually think to yourself “How did more people not die making movies back then?” Sometimes it’s watching crazy horse stunts in the silent and just post-silent westerns, sometimes it’s hearing they hired real archers to shoot real arrows at real people in The Adventures of Robin Hood, hitting a square (and small) piece of wood under their clothes. Sometimes it’s hearing about how they didn’t use squibs in the early gangster pictures. Why would they when they could hire sharpshooters using real guns? In case you doubt this piece of Hollywood legend, let’s have a look at a scene from the iconic James Cagney flick THE PUBLIC ENEMY. You should know the scene, Cagney rounding a corner only to be met with the bricks next to him exploding with bullet hits. This is how they did it. Notice Cagney on the right and the sharp shooter (with a real gun) lining up where he’s going to shoot once the cameras are rolling and the crew is out of the way. They didn’t fuck around back then, did they?

If you have a pic you think should be included email me. I’m looking for the iconic, the rare or the just plain cool behind the scenes shots to feature here. Tomorrow’s pic returns to Ceti Alpha Five. -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Previous Behind the Scenes pics: - Alien
- Big Trouble In Little China
- Clash of the Titans
- Dr. Strangelove
- Sesame Street
- The Birds
- The Dark Knight
- Batman (1989)
- Batman: The TV Series
- Stephen King’s IT
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- Superman
- The French Connection
- Tron
- The Road Warrior
- Ghostbusters
- King Kong (’33)
- The Empire Strikes Back (Luke with Slate)
- Rebel Without A Cause
- Taxi Driver
- Metropolis
- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- Tommy Chong Meets The Blues Brothers
- The Empire Strikes Back (Filming the Crawl)
- John Carpenter’s The Thing
- Jaws
- Die Hard
- Aliens
- Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man
- The Howling
- Revenge of the Creature
- The Empire Strikes Back (Vader & Luke Duel)
- The Godfather
- Rambo III
- Vertigo
- Planet of the Apes
- Pan’s Labyrinth
- Labyrinth
- RoboCop
- The Adventures of Robin Hood
- Marathon Man
- Young Frankenstein
- Viva Las Vegas
- The Empire Strikes Back (Han driving a snow cat)
- Rio Bravo
- Giant
- Back to the Future
- The Time Machine
- War of the Worlds (1953)
- Alien (Chestburster)
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
- Dr. No
- The Twilight Zone
- Once Upon A Time In The West
- Lawrence of Arabia
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- The Empire Strikes Back (Luke in Wampa Cave)
- Edward Scissorhands
- The Warriors
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Requiem for a Dream
- The Princess Bride
- Hard Boiled
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- They Live
- The Empire Strikes Back (Tippet with Wampa)
- Dirty Harry
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Blade Runner
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (Periscope Ride)
- 1941
- The Godfather (Coppola & Brando)
- The Lady Eve
- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
- Godzilla
- The Empire Strikes Back (Bald Vader)
- Mary Poppins
- Alien 3
- Total Recall
- The Pink Panther
- Fawlty Towers
- The Trouble With Harry
- Beetlejuice
- The Shining
- Thriller
- An American Werewolf In London
- The Gate
- The Fly (1958)
- Halloween
- Army of Darkness
- Frankenstein
- Seed of Chucky
- Psycho
- John Carpenter’s The Thing (Bottin)
- Creature From the Black Lagoon
- Friday the 13th (1980)
- A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
- Creepshow
- Night of the Living Dead (’68)
- Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man
- Silence of the Lambs- The Exorcist
- Alien (crouching alien)
- Alfred Hitchcock being awesome
- Son of Frankenstein
- The Mummy (1932)
- Re-Animator
- Nosferatu (1979)
- Nosferatu (1922)
- War of the Worlds
- Vincent (Tim Burton)
- Evil Dead II
- The Evil Dead
- The Shining (Kubrick Self Portrait)
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
- Casablanca
- Sahara (1943)
- Pumpkinhead
- Back to the Future
- Inception
- MacBeth (1948)
- Twilight Zone (Nightmare at 20,000 Feet)

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:25 p.m. CST

    How do you make a bad penny?

    by thepoohguy

    Dirty Coppa!

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Fucking Amateurs

    by InActionMan

    Christian Bale would not be pleased. <P> How long did it take them to figure out to use squibs? Oops I just killed the lead.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:29 p.m. CST


    by korkie70

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:30 p.m. CST

    might be the best one yet

    by Timahh

    everyone else on that writes for this site should be more like you

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:36 p.m. CST

    Blanks: Multiple Deaths, Live Bullets: Zero

    by ROBRAM89

    They try to make harmless bullets look real, Brandon Lee dies. Somebody fires a real gun at Jimmy Cagney's head, he's fine. The hell?

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Gives a whole new meaning

    by Snookeroo

    to "shooting a scene", do'nit?

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:43 p.m. CST

    One of my favorite WTF movie making moments

    by skimn

    is on the extras of On Her Majestry's Secret Service. To get the arial photography of mountains and such, they literally hung a cameraman in a sling like device from a helicopter, and flew around while he filmed. The air temperature had to be God-knows-what, and one loose strap, and its goodbye cameraman. What an insane method to get some footage. And this is the late sixties. They couldn't come up with a rig to do the same? <p>And yes its amazing that a lot of actors weren't seriously injured while filming gunfioghts and the like.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:46 p.m. CST

    That is fucking awesome!!

    by SouthSide_2010

    James Cagney giving his craft a heightened sense of realism. Too awesome for words. They did not fuck around back then at all.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 5:47 p.m. CST

    I can't believe they used a real gun...

    by ufoclub1977

    holy shit. Really?

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:01 p.m. CST

    They may have used a real gun...

    by s0l

    ...But did they use real ammo? I remember an interview with an old time Stuntman, If they were doing a Western or Gangster movie, they had guys who handled all the weaponry to make half-load cartages that used a chalk/salt like material at the tip, that could hold it's shape and leave visible ricochet marks when it strikes a surface, It wouldn’t break the skin if fired at a person, but hurt like hell. Otherwise they had guys of screen with slingshots firing chalk balls at the actors... Cool pic none the less... ^_^

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:01 p.m. CST

    holy cow! that's crazy!

    by ltgalloway

    I thought Sean Connery ducking overpasses in The Great Train Robbery was nuts. Also - thanks for highlighting yet another classic film I haven't seen! This column is so badass.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Didn't they use real bullets

    by HapaPapa72

    In the Frontierland shooting gallery when Disneyland first opened? I guess even Walt didn't fuck around back then.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Holy crap!

    by banville

    That's brilliant. One of the best pictures yet.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:06 p.m. CST

    attn: tom cruise-

    by alice133

    cagney laughs at ur puny skyscraper stunt.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Not impressed..

    by KilliK

    JACKIE CHAN's 80s stunts are more dangerous than staying still while a gun experts shoots a few bullets on the wall next to you.<br />

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:22 p.m. CST

    s0l yeah i have seen that explanation in a documentary

    by KilliK

    about practical effects.i remember that was the reason that the guns in the old wester/gangster movies were throwing a lot of white smoke while shooting.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:36 p.m. CST


    by Rex Carsalot


  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:50 p.m. CST

    That's a great pic

    by palimpsest

    Cagney is awesome.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 6:57 p.m. CST

    No fucking way that Thomson was firing real bullets!

    by tritium

    No way in hell. Those baby's were full automatic, and the recoil would pull, rising to the right.<p>There is no way someone could fire accurately, close enough to Cagney to appear as near misses...without putting the actor in mortal danger

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 7:01 p.m. CST

    That Sharpshooter = Total Badass

    by cgh123

    What I wouldn't give to be a marksman with a tommy gun!

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 7:23 p.m. CST


    by 7Cal

    one of these BtSotD that I've commented on, although I've been reading just about every column the day it's published. This pic is AWESOME and definitely the best one of the series, especially if you read Quint's little explainer behind it first. Nice one.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 7:25 p.m. CST


    by misterk360

    Its true they used real weapons and real bullets in the early days and even had armories at the studios. there's even an old film on youtube showing Fox Studios back in the 30's and some footage of their gunroom.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 7:53 p.m. CST

    mister360...I then stand corrected.

    by tritium

    It is simply amazing that nobody (at least no actors I heard of) were ever killed.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 8:04 p.m. CST


    by BatMatt21


  • Nov. 10, 2010, 8:12 p.m. CST

    This is Ceti Alpha Five!!!

    by th3480

    Great fuckin' movie.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 8:31 p.m. CST

    real bullets

    by Bully Boy

    If you watch the film - Cagney is not in the scene or in the line of fire when the bullets strike - he and another actor run around that corner and then the bullets hit a moment later. And it sure as hell seems like real bullets. But no one is aiming at Cagney's head and he is not in the scene when the bullets hit.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 8:39 p.m. CST

    They had semi models as well.

    by Bully Boy

    "Although the Model 1927 was semi-automatic only, it was easily converted to fully automatic by installing a full-auto Model 1921 fire control group (internal parts)."

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 8:46 p.m. CST

    This is my favorite so far

    by detectivesoap

    Big smile..great lead-in Quint, this is the shit!

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 8:57 p.m. CST

    A Tommy gun? Seriously, how big of ball did they have?

    by Ben_Richards_Bomb_Collar

    Maybe we should use a very accurate single shot weapon? Nahhh, let's just use something that's basically a bullet hose.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 9:53 p.m. CST


    by Yelsaeb

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 10:11 p.m. CST

    What?!?!?!?! Are you serious??!?!?!?!

    by moonlightdrive

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Tommy Guns...the coolest weapons EVER

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    [holds up gun "Empty."<BR><BR>"Emptier than yer thick skull, flatfoot!"

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 10:56 p.m. CST

    ADMIRAL Kirk?

    by bigpale

    Admiral? ...admiral...

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 11:27 p.m. CST


    by redkamel

    Fuck you, I dont to see behind the scenes picutures from some POS movie made in the last 20 years. Keep the old school real movie making coming.

  • Nov. 10, 2010, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Real Bullets

    by redkamel

    thats probably why old actors were so much m anlier than the shit we have now

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Ace of Wands

    by aversiontherapy2

    What makes you think he's dressed as a gangster?

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Any reason why the Superman pic...

    by Wapkaplet

    ... from two days ago has been excised from the list of previous photos?

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 1:34 a.m. CST

    Goddamn! I always wondered about that scene!

    by Grinning White Skull

    Now I know! Cagney in his prime could mop the floor with today's male stars. There's never been anyone with such blistering intensity and yet a huge heart underneath it like him in film history.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 1:46 a.m. CST

    You can't do stuff like that anymore

    by tomimt

    I applaud to the ballsyness of era long gone. These days that would be CGI.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 1:47 a.m. CST

    everybody loves tommy guns!

    by frank cotton

    it's true, and this is proof

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 2:03 a.m. CST

    Ace of Wands

    by Ben_Richards_Bomb_Collar

    I think he's just dressed the way dudes dressed back then. Fedora =/= gangster.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 6:26 a.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    We need to bring hats back before Mad Men's popularity peaks. Just some guy in a hat, shootin' a tommy gun for a living...

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 6:41 a.m. CST

    they earned their money back then...

    by just pillow talk

    I'm going to suggest at my next office meeting that we use a sharp shooter at work to "enhance" productivity.<p>Someone at the coffee machine too long? BAM-BAM-BAM! Tuck and roll your ass outta there and back to your workstation!<p>Great behind the scenes pic BTW...

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Great pic

    by proevad

    Back when movies were movies, and directors weren't Brett Ratner.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 7:41 a.m. CST


    by macheesmo3


  • Nov. 11, 2010, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Best BTS pic ever!

    by Royston Lodge

    So say we all.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 9:57 a.m. CST

    BIG FAN!

    by 2for2true

    Cagney, this just proves what we all know. YOU SIR, WERE THE SHIT. R.I.P., you wonderful badass mothafucker.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 11:54 a.m. CST


    by just pillow talk

    Cagney was definitely a shitheel pencil stabbing bastard!

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Actually Mr. Wands...

    by El Gooche

    You would want "the constriction of a jacket" if you are shooting a small target. The less movement the better. Accuracy depends on bone support NOT muscle tension. My marksman instructor in the Marine Corps was on the National Rifle Shooting team and he wore a constricting jacket (with adjustable straps) that helped him maintain shooting position.

  • Nov. 11, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CST

    while i appreciate that this is too cool for words...

    by ragingfluff

    the horse stunts in the Silent Era that you mention were not really stunts at all; very often they would deliberately trip up the galloping horses with invisible wire; hobbling/maiming/killing many an equine in the name of art.

  • Nov. 12, 2010, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Keep 'em coming

    by Arkhangelsk

    Great pic. Love it. but I can't watch old time westerns because of those horses being hurt for real.

  • Nov. 15, 2010, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Ace of Wands

    by El Gooche

    All your points are valid, but what I meant was that given the option of either wearing a jacket or just a shirt, I would pick wearing the jacket. It will help keep you stable in your shooting position (minimize movement) and provide some cushioning for elbow placement. Looking at the picture though, I agree that this guy was probably an actor and not the actual marksman. A real marksman would be in the prone which is the most stable shooting position.