Monday 15 July 2019

Mystery Photographs No:6 Russian film.

I recently acquired a spectacular series of 30 photographs documenting the shooting of miniature ship effects for an unknown Russian film.

I had been watching these on ebay for at least a year. The original starting price was way outside what I could afford and ironically the seller had cut and pasted a section of text from the about page of this website. Over time with apparently no takers the price did come down gradually but was still higher than my meager resources would allow. Just recently a "make an offer" button was added to the listing and I offered what I could afford, which to my surprise was accepted.

The photographs are small prints only about 125mm by 80mm (5" x 3 1/4") and are pasted in an old  photo album. The photos show a range of techniques in use from very detailed miniatures to paintings on glass and what looks like a full size set piece. The filming tank is built outdoors on the coast so that the overflow blends with the real ocean horizon. There is a shot showing the wave making equipment and one showing a wind machine made from the cut off front of a small aircraft.

I would love to know the title of the film and the year it was made. If any reader has any clues about the film please let me know using the comments system.

Update - mystery solved 

Reader of this site Wings_of_Wrath knew exactly which Russian film these photographs are from (see his comment in the comment section below), they are from a double set of films on the life of Admiral Fyador Ushakov made in colour in 1953.
The first is called "Admiral Ushakov" (Адмирал Ушаков) and the second "Attack from the Sea" (Корабли штурмуют бастионы). Wings_of_Wrath's comment also provided URLs to both films  on Youtube and they both have some terrific miniature ship sequences.

The small photo album

Inside, no text just small black and white photos.

Back cover

The Photographs

Here you can see where the tank horizon is extended by the real ocean horizon behind.

The distant ships are not much more than some simple sail shapes lined up.

Full size set piece.

Glass painting of distant ships.

Clouds painted on glass.

Wave making; the bit of wood probably makes the small ripples while the drum makes the larger swell.

Wind machine made from the front of an old aircraft.

Miniature castle being populated with miniature cannons.

Close up of the distant simplified sail models

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