Special Effects Supervisor Chris Reynolds on Cinema Paradiso
“Life isn't like in the movies. Life... is much harder.”
Talking About Cinema Paradiso with our guest, Special Effects Supervisor Chris Reynolds
In this magical episode, we chat with veteran special effects artist and supervisor Chris Reynolds about his storied career bringing movies to life through innovative engineering and technology. Our focus is the classic Cinema Paradiso, a nostalgic ode to the glory days of cinema that inspired Chris from an early age.
Chris has built an impressive 40-year career in special effects, rising from technician to supervisor. He regales us with tales of his early days at the BBC, where he cut his teeth on classics like Blackadder. From blowing up haggis to sculpting giant lips, Chris learned to create imaginative practical effects on the fly across every genre. His passion for storytelling shines through as he discusses favorite projects, including some he worked on like Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, and others he didn’t, like Battle of Britain.
Turning to Cinema Paradiso, we unpack the magic of this film that celebrates the power of cinema to transport us. We all agree the performances are fantastic, especially Salvatore Cascio as the young Toto. And Ennio Morricone’s iconic score ties it all together. The ending montage of kisses cut by the priest is pure movie magic. Chris gives the inside scoop on the fire sequence, rating its mixed effectiveness from a special effects supervisor’s perspective. He also shares which version he prefers between the Director’s Cut and the international release.
Overall, Cinema Paradiso captures a sense of childlike wonder and nostalgia for the romanticism of old Hollywood. Chris gives us an insider’s view into the art and craft of moviemaking. For any cinema lover, this is a must-listen episode.