Monday, 4 November 2019

Far and Away 1992

This Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman pairing has precisely one shot of a miniature ship in it. The ship is a model of a transatlantic steamer filmed out on location in Dublin Bay in Ireland. The model superstructure was built on the hull of a riverboat and outfitted with an engine.

The special effects supervisor was John Richardson.







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




Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Hamlet 1948

Along with some moody matte paintings there are a couple of model ship shots in The Lawrence Olivier Hamlet film from 1948.
One of the characters reads a letter from Hamlet where he describes being captured by pirates and the action in the letter is depicted in a blurry framed vignette.

There is a credit for three special effects men but according to IMDB the uncredited visual effects personnel included George Blackwell and Bill Warrington both well known for their miniature work along with James Snow who was well known for miniature pyrotechnics.

The models were shot in a tank at Denham Studios.












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