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Were They Or Weren't They?

As you watch great actresses such as Natalie Wood or Lucille Ball perform in a scene when their character is supposed to be intoxicated, it is inevitable to question did they themselves take a nip of something in order to film the scene or did it take a few takes to get the final cut?

Amassing the other difficulties Natalie Wood had to face while filming “This Property Is Condemned” (1966), early one morning, Wood also had to film a “drunk” scene. After a few takes, it was not going well. Director Sydney Pollack invited Wood to lunch. At lunch, Wood drank a few glasses of wine and returned to the set. They shot half of the scene. But the following morning, Wood was “as sick as a dog”as Pollack described but she arrived and drank some white wine in order to continue what they did not finish the previous day.

However, unlike Wood, when Lucille Ball filmed possibly one of the greatest “intoxicated” scene ever filmed in “Yours, Mine & Ours” (1968), she did not require the extra help. Although there were minor elements that disrupted the shoot – the lighting needed to be adjusted and other sounds being recorded on set, Ball was able to alternatively laugh and cry from the beginning of each reshoot. Robert F. Blomofe recalled the scene as “. . .A brillant tour de force.”

Sometimes, actors were reportedly a little hung over before they arrived on set. While filming “Giant” (1956), Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor went for drinks one night and stayed out until the early hours of the following morning. Although Taylor and Hudson were hung over the following day, they shot the wedding scene. Fortunately, there wasn’t any dialogue that needed to be recorded.

On the last day of production for “Operation Mad Ball” (1957), the party scene featured at the end of the film was the last shot to be filmed. The cast was surprised when Director Richard Quine decided to reward everyone’s hard work and serve real champagne. What you see in the final cut is truly a party atmosphere.

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