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gary card's ultimate film sets

Set designer Gary Card is known for weaving many a magical dream. When he's not crafting curious creatures, creating headdresses for Gaga and homes for the work of our favourite designers, Gary can be found shaping shoot backdrops for yours truly. Here, the St. Martin's graduate looks to the movies as he recollects his all-time favourite sets.

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  • 1. City of Lost Children

    "This film had a huge influence on production design in the late nineties - so many movies borrowed the 'make everything shades of green' trick! It probably had the most significant influence on me when I was in my early teens. I copied its style ruthlessly. It also sparked my first interest in fashion as Jean Paul Gaultier designed the costumes."

    City of Lost Children

  • 2. Songs from the Second Floor

    "Using a similar design philosophy as City of Lost Children where the whole production has a greenish tone, this one is far less garish with its use of muted colours. Everything has a sickly off-white/murky green tone to it to emphasise that everyone's trapped in purgatory." 

    Songs From The Second Floor

  • 3. Blade Runner

    "This is the film equivalent of recommending the Beatles as a great pop band. Everyone knows this film is brilliant so it's hardly worth mentioning here but this list wouldn't be complete without it. It's quite possibly the most startling production design in film history, even now, very little goes near it."


  • 4. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

    "A childhood favourite. I loved all Terry Gilliam did as a kid but this one had the greatest impact on me. There's this amazing scene with Robin Williams as a gigantantic floating head, chasing after his sex crazed body through an incredibly detailed paper theatre world. Poor old Terry, his projects always seem to be cursed - either his entire production collapses or his lead actor dies. If I remember correctly, this one was the biggest flop of all time when it came out."

  • 5. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover.

    "Peter Greenaway always has wonderful production design. The whole film pans through the set like a piece of theatre, giving the movie a wonderful still life quality. Great use of colour and lighting."

    The Cook

  • 6. Prometheus

    "Ridley Scott is great for production design. This is Ridley Scott reclaiming his original movie Alien after years of everyone doing horrible things with the franchise (apart from Alien Resurrection, that's still awesome!). The tricky thing here was how to re-imagine all the amazing design that H R Giger did in the first film. They did an amazing job reinterpreting the original framework."


  • 7. Enter the Void

    "Another amazing ordeal movie. like all of this guy's work, it's hard to watch. It's so intense that you feel like crying and running out of the cinema most of the way through it but it's so mesmerising and beautiful you can't look away. I haven't seen it since and I don't really want to see it again but it's left an indelible mark in my memory."


    Enter the Void

  • 8. Beyond The Black Rainbow

    "This movie is great. Apparently the director is the child of art director parents; you can see that all over the film. It is fantastically over-stylised, probably made with a shoe string budget and all the better for it. A good reminder that you don't need a huge amount of money to make something look massive."

    Over The Black Rainbow

  • 9. Beetlejuice

    "Have you ever drawn a door on a wall and fantasised about it opening to another dimension? I did. My favourite film when I was little, I still know every word to this movie. Don't watch it with me, I get incredibly annoying. Quite possibly the most influential movie for me of all time, anyone who knows my work will know why. 

    Great use of Memphis-inspired interiors and furniture to illustrate the plastic LA creeps vs the sweet small town folk they were replacing. This film is so engrossingly weird and has so many wonderful ideas it's hard to sum up in a paragraph. I've personally ripped it off about a thousand times, conscious or unconscious. There are these amazing sculptures in it that are supposed to emphasise how tasteless a sculptor one of the characters is but I swear they are some of my favourite sculptures ever. It's like nothing before or since. i'm dreading the sequel."



  • 10. Cafe Flesh

    "This is a new one for me. I discovered it when I was working on a job with Nick Knight and Dinos Chapman (shameless name dropping); it will be no surprise to anyone that this fantastically creepy porn/body horror movie is one of Dinos's favourite films. The set design is amazing, all smokey and neon and weird. It's almost impossible to find these days but you can see some of the bits on youtube."

  • 11. Batman Forever

    "Okay, I KNOW! Everyone hates what Joel Schumacher did with Batman (remember nipples on the bat costume? hot.) I don't care what anyone says, it's the best looking bat movie ever. It's colourful, camp and utterly ludicrous, just how Batman should be. Pow!"


  • 12. Holy Mountain

    "What can I say about Holy Mountain? It's horrible actually, a vomit inducing fever dream of a movie, you don't so much enjoy this movie but injure it. Loads of great ideas in it though. Well worth the ordeal."