Horror History: Bernard Robinson

Bernard RobinsonBernard Robinson
Born July 28th, 1912 – Died Mar. 2nd, 1970

If you are a fan of Hammer Films, then you are a fan of Robinson’s work, even if you don’t realize it. Robinson was the art director and later production designer that worked on good number of their films, from Quatermass 2 (1957) to Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969). The first actual film that he worked on was as an art director on The Case of the Frightened Lady (1938). Over those early years, he became good friends with Tony Keys, who would later invite Robinson to come work for Hammer.

Robinson could not only create unbelievable sets out of very little money, he also designed sets that could be used over and over again but moving things around and a little re-dressing. In fact, he was a master of his. Director Terence Fisher had stated that with one of Robinson’s sets, he could point the camera anywhere and he knew it would look fantastic.

I think one of the best examples of Robinson’s work was in Horror of Dracula (1958). The main room of Dracula’s castle is used over and over again throughout the film. When Harker first arrives and enters, he moves through a door and goes right back into the same room. This is the same room where Harker is almost bitten and the Count comes bursting in attacking the woman, throwing her to the ground. And even more impressive, this is the same set used for the cemetery when Van Helsing is looking for Lucy. Here are some screen shots below, which are all of the same room, just redressed. These are signs of just how good Robinson was at his work.

horror of dracula set 1

horror of dracula set 2

horror of dracula set 3

 

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