Left, the "Trinity" test site set. Center, the first atomic bomb being hoisted into place on the test tower. Right, a recreation of the stormy night before the Trinity test. Notice the electrician on parallels in the upper left of the frame. He was operating a crude "scissors arc" made of two-by-four lumber and bundled welding rods!

The Matthews Tulip Crane, a Hot Head and Moviecam served the production well in an area where uneven terrain was the rule and versatility and reliability were essential.

Paul Newman and Dwight Schultz in one of many tense scenes between them. The tension between their characters, Groves and Oppenheimer, was central to the film.   Right: Laura Dern intently reviewing lines with script supervisor prior to a scene.

Director Roland Joffe and Director of Photography Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, discussing a setup and lining-up a shot.

Left, another view of the Oppenheimer house. Center and right, two views of the "Lodge". This set also had a completely finished interior.  At the real Los Alamos, the lodge, which still stands today, served as a sort of community center for the close knit town.
Exterior and interior sets for the Oppenheimer living quarters. As with most of the "sets" this was a complete structure with fully finished--and furnished--interiors.

A few of the 60 some period cars and military vehicles used in the film. It was interesting that so many late 1930's and '40's vehicles, in such good shape, were available in Mexico.

Robert Oppenheimer (white shirt, left), played by Dwight Schultz, argues with Enrico Fermi who was played by computer expert Frank Cutiet, a non-professional actor who actually worked for Digital Corporation. Frank was one of a number of non-actors with scientific, computer or engineering backgrouds who were recruited by Roland Joffe to portray scientists in minor supporting rolls in the film. Right, some of the hundreds of extras in period military costumes needed to populate the town in the larger scenes.

Above left, an original 1940's photograph of part of the real Los Alamos laboratory. Center, the portion of the set duplicating that photo; a very close match. Right, one of the consultants to the movie company who actually worked at Los Alamos. Unfortunately his name escapes me!

More views of the sets under construction. In the picture at right is a good view of the finished main square with its flagpole. The building at the base of the water tower became the camera department.

Various views of the replica Los Alamos. The guard towers and barbed wire, combined with authentic signs from the period contributed to the feel of realism. The slogan on the sign above, center, was a common one during the war years. Especially wherever civilians mixed with the military.

Early morning fog sometimes filled the canyon where the Los Alamos sets were constructed. This part of Mexico, near Durango, strongly resembles the geography of parts of the southwestern U.S. With the fog cleared, center, the expanse of the sets is clearly revealed.

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Last Update: January 31, 2014                      Web Author: Chuck Barbee

© 1998 Charles L. Barbee - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Behind The Scenes


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