This Australian film has a sequence near the end of the film where a character dies in a ferry collision with an ocean liner. The incident in the story is based on a real event in Sydney in 1927 when the Greycliffe ferry collided with the Union Steamship Company’s liner Tahiti.
The Tahiti is represented in the film by a model built by Lewis Morley. The filmakers requested a compression of the horizontal dimensions of the ship thus making a shortened squeezed looking model.
|Lewis Morley and his completed distorted model Tahiti.
The film was a widescreen production, more than likely shot anamorphic. My guess is the reason for the horizontal shortening of the model is so that it could be shot using a spherical lens which generally has a greater depth of field than an anamorphic lens. Once the footage is stretched out by anamorphic projection it would look correct.
In a couple of shots the model appears as a background projection seen through the windows of the ferry. One other shot is of the model itself. Despite the attempts at maintaining the depth of field the shots generally suffer from a shallow depth of field softness, mainly as the model is quite a small scale for a movie ship miniature, however the whole sequence has a dreamy quality so this seems to fit.